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Guide | November 09, 2020

True Omnichannel Checklist for Ecommerce Enterprises

As the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak has been rising, customers are demanding shopping experiences beyond solely online or in-store. Therefore, it is high time that enterprises undertake all daunting challenges and then get back on track with a truly connected Omnichannel solution.

And if your business already has both an eCommerce platform and brick-and-mortar stores, you are now one step ahead of the process. All you need is to synchronize your e-stores and physical shops. Here we are providing you with the ultimate checklist to do so.

Tracking & Understanding Customer Behaviors Across Channels

The core of managing customer experience is understanding your buyers and realizing their value proposition. This demand requires that your system knows the most of their information like name, age, hobbies, contact address, etc. It might sound simple if your store serves a dozen customers per day but large-scale enterprises will encounter serious problems if they cannot track and control their billion-strong data pool. And here comes in use the data collection and monitoring platforms. Despite the vast data solutions available on the market, there are two main methodologies you need to know.

Deterministic Matching

Deterministic Matching is a data collection method that aims to identify the same customer by matching similar pieces of profile information across devices together. In order to do this, deterministic matching searches through data sets and links all user profiles that belong to the same physical person together with common identifiers like first and last name, address, mail, date of birth, phone numbers.

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[Photo source]

The advantage of using deterministic matching is that it provides quite a high level of accuracy. However, not all websites and applications require users to provide specific information. To tackle such problems, publishers are now executing specific solutions to gain more deterministic data from their users and visitors. And there are two very effective methods to this, which include (1) encouraging users to provide email addresses by giving them more exclusive access and functionality and (2) requiring sign-in information before accessing the websites/applications.

Probabilistic Matching

Meanwhile, Probabilistic Matching uses a range of different anonymous data sets (IP address, device ID, wifi network ID, location, browser type, browsing history, and language setting) to make a probable match across devices and channels.

One of the main advantages of using probabilistic matching over deterministic matching is scale, as you don’t need to gather email addresses or other pieces of personal data to be able to identify them across different devices. But how to identify a distinct individual if there are users who access the same IP address at the same location? The trick here is to link together user profiles that contain the same highly specific pieces of information such as age, gender, and interests. This raises an issue that probabilistic matching isn’t as accurate as deterministic matching, but it does use deterministic data sets to train the algorithms to improve accuracy. 

Create a Seamless Shopping Experience

Connected data across channels and devices are now distributed. However, there remain some final steps to allow the retailer to offer shoppers extended services and product ranges, far beyond the store.

1. On-point Local Information

According to Google, 74% of shoppers who searched online before going to the store said they searched for the closest store near to them, locations, in-stock near them, hours, directions, wait times, and contact information, etc. This means that providing related content by geometrics help increase the possibility of local customers choosing to shop at your store. To make this activity more effective, they can use geo-targeting to run advertisements to people from the local vicinity who have an intent to buy. This is not only about sales and revenue, but also implies to customers that you actually understand their needs starting from the very first touchpoint.

Moreover, you could take this practice to another level by providing specific notes for stores at each location. For example, notices on new arrivals at stores near you, information on operation hours, special promotions for local residents, etc. It could be easily carried out with a CDP empowered in your system with strong segmentation and distributed by an Omnichannel eCommerce that allows you to send email and notification directly to projected audiences.

2. True Personalization

Personalization empowers customer expansion and customer retention. There are two reasons that a personalized customer experience is so powerful: (1) the empirical value to the customer of having an experience tailored to who they are and what they’re looking for and (2) the warm feeling that flows over a customer when they are properly recognized and catered to as an individual, rather than as part of the teeming mass of consumers.

And to achieve such remarkable results on true personalization making customers feel that your services are tailored to their preferences and just for them, it requires the involvement of both human sales representatives and technical support. This means your system needs to hold the capability for a customer to, say, order on the phone, follow up on that order via email, pick up that order in one store, return a portion of that order. And at the same time, your store employees should be provided with tools to recognize customers’ needs right in stores to actually perform consult aligned with their needs. The more the associate knows about a particular customer, the more they can direct that customer to where they want to go, the more they can understand the way that particular customer likes to buy, the better the customer experience is going to be.

3. Synchronization with Fulfilment Process

BigCommerce’s “Shipping, Delivered: Best Practices & Expectations for 2019” report has found that 58% of global survey respondents have stopped shopping with particular retailers as a result of a negative shipping experience. Consumers today have high standards for online shopping and eCommerce satisfaction, influenced by eCommerce beasts. They require more than just quick product selection and ultra-fast or same-day delivery; they also want consistency during the parcel’s path in both delivery place and delivery time, and real-time notifications.

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Customers require more than just quick product selection and ultra-fast or same-day delivery

And there are 4 basic steps for your business to master the fulfillment practices and please shoppers to the highest of their expectations. This includes Receiving, Storage, Order processing, Shipping, and Returning.

  • Receiving: This very first step does not only involve your eCommerce system to transfer the right order information but also a selected method of fulfillment in advance: in-house or outsource. Consider your internal capabilities to the fullest extent to select the most controllable and profitable solution.
  • Storage: Or so-called warehousing. Proper inventory storage will keep your products safe and protected and help make your customers aware of what is available in their upcoming shipment. This could be synchronized with your Omnichannel system and presented to customers on the products page.
  • Order processing: Picking, or collecting products from where they are stored, and packing, or getting the order ready to ship, are what shall be executed in this process. 
  • Shipping: Notifications on shipping tracking information are often updated on a regular basis via SMS, emails, or on the Delivery section of your website or apps.
  • Returning: This is unavoidable when it comes to the eCommerce business. It is vital that you are ready to process it as fast as possible. The order shall be sent back to your fulfillment center where it can be evaluated. The item may either be restocked as available inventory or disposed of due to malfunction depending on the item quality, return cause, and return policy.

4. Fast & Safe Payment Solution

The payment solution enables your system to receive money from online customers. You will not be able to process the credit card information to complete the transaction without the proper setup of a payment solution. Nevertheless, eCommerce businesses should not use just any payment solution. It is vital that you take the process of choosing a reputable payment provider into serious consideration.

Choosing the right payment solution affects your security level, to which extent that customers can entrust your system to safeguard their personal payment information. You can land yourself in some serious trouble if you don’t take security seriously. Moreover, your payment solution also affects the customer’s experience when shopping with you. It can determine the speed, complexity, and reliability of your checkout process. When shoppers don’t have a good online checkout process with you, they often abandon their carts or opt to shop somewhere else next time.

There are 6 factors we recommend you to consider when selecting the most appropriate payment provider for your system:

  • Transaction fees: Compare the setup fees, monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees, and associated fees.
  • Types of goods: The choice of a suitable provider of payment gateways depends on the business in which you are involved. Coverage of all or a combination of digital, subscription, and physical goods or services is provided by the best payment solutions.
  • Types of payment methods accepted: Different online payment solutions companies have the ability to process various types of payment methods. This includes credit/debit, gift cards, bitcoins, ACH transfers/electronic checks, and other 3rd party online payment methods.
  • On or off-site transaction processing: Take into account the significance of whether the user is directed off-site for full payment. In order to complete the payment, PayPal, the main US-based e-commerce payment solution provider, requires the user to be transferred to an external website. Onsite processing is enabled for an additional monthly service charge of $30, and the consumer can then complete the entire transaction on your website.
  • Channels: Consider whether you are interested in enabling transactions via mobile and/or website applications, whether you are able to process active transaction links via the top three websites of social media, or whether you are enabling customers to complete their purchase via links sent via SMS.
  • Fraud protection and chargeback policy: Review the data on the website of the potential payment solutions company, publish to what extent the merchant is responsible, and all related fees and fines possible. There are many payment solution structures available to suit all levels of both customer and merchant transactions to decide which limits you are comfortable with.

5. Extra Advanced Technology

Modern customers are now Z-generations who are tech-savvy and open to discover the new possibilities of shopping. They are not only demanding fast but also fun and delightful shopping experiences. Therefore, eCommerce businesses need to think out of the box and bring to life more extraordinary solutions by adapting new technology capabilities to your customers. There are many predicted eCommerce trends of the future soon accelerated in the near future, which include AR/VR, Chatbots, and Voice Shopping.

Read more about Top Features for B2B E-Commerce Websites Now & Beyond

The most anticipated solution should be AR as various high-profile retailers have experimented with this technology, and the customer’s response is phenomenal. One of the most successful trials of AR comes from IKEA with their IKEA Place applications. It allows shoppers to see how the furniture will look in your house followed by an option to purchase.

“From sofas and lamps to rugs and tables, all of the products in IKEA Place are 3D and true to scale so you can make sure it’s just the right size, design, and functionality for your room.”
[IKEA]

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IKEA Place lets you virtually "place" IKEA products in your space.

For chatbots, as AI is still in the process of learning the complexity of human behavior, it might not be ready to be a personal assistant but can be leverage into your system as a tool to respond to queries, send shipping information, upsell & cross-sell, send mass messages and perform continuous A/B testing. Chatbot plays more in the role of marketing tools and customer service assistant now and shall be fully ready with AI integrated successfully in the future.

Voice Shopping is no longer unfamiliar with Alexa or Google Home users as ordering and shopping using natural speech is faster and allows people to do other things instead of focusing on texting. According to Google, 62% of those who regularly use a voice-activated speaker say they are likely to buy something through their voice-activated speaker in the next month. Despite some limitations like difficulty browning, cognitive load, strategy consultants OC&C predicts that voice shopping will grow to $40 billion-plus in 2022, up from about $2 billion today across the United States and the United Kingdom. Some predict even faster growth: Juniper anticipates that number to be $80 billion by 2023.

Organization Practices That Support Omnichannel

Despite the technological procedure invested, it shall be an obvious fail if your enterprises are not architected to meet the requirements of Omnichannel commerce. Sales issues surely will surely rise if the department is operated in silos causing the organization to get caught in conflicts. Therefore, it is necessary for all departments to understand the core value of Omnichannel vision and work together in synchronization. And here are the steps suggested by experts for you to achieve this most important of goals.

The need for a team specialized in Omnichannel: Omnichannel is new and extremely complex. That is why your organization needs a team to head-start and lead the process. The department should (1) be specialized in practices that deliver the best Omnichannel results and (2) hold the ability to work together with other teams to set up procedures and training sessions to synchronize all Omnichannel experience across channels. For example, Macy’s has completely restructured its merchandising and marketing functions. They have also created chief Omnichannel officer positions in their organization.

And it is not only any selected departments that hold the responsibility to deliver Omnichannel successfully. It requires the whole organization to prioritize Omnichannel as one of the most important goals in their performance. And all businesses should be accountable in the process, including customer services, financial, inventory teams.

Moreover, it is normal for conflicts to arise at the beginning of any transformation procedure. However, clear OKRs shall be able to avoid such internal disputes. For example, which team would receive the sale fulfilled online or collected in-store? How are inventory and labor costs allocated?

True Omnichannel eCommerce can only be delivered with on-point consultants and long-standing experience in the sector. SmartOSC has successfully rolled out over 1000 sophisticated eCommerce projects across the globe. We are beyond ready to take on the challenge to reimagine the Omnichannel shopping experience with your enterprise.

Contact us now to see how your business can take wing with best-in-class strategies and technology, or take a quick look at how we’ve helped other businesses succeed.

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