1. Match offline with online retail
Do you have a brick-and-mortar store? Often times, your offline retail strategy has some significant differences compared to your online store.
However, your customers shouldn’t be made to notice any difference. For many consumers, the online and offline experiences are intertwined. Therefore, you want to ensure your customer experience is consistent throughout your points of sale. Of course, that includes style and tone of voice, but also for your multichannel retail strategy to share the same message. If offers are made in your brick-and-mortar store, the same discounts should be available online (unless of course, you’re consciously promoting an online/offline only offer, in which case this should be stated in the campaign). But this works both ways - if your online marketing team is creating new marketing banners for a temporary campaign with a dedicated pay off, your customer care agents should be made aware of that campaign with all its T&Cs. This way you ensure quality service by empowering your support agents to answer any questions your customer’s might have, quickly and efficiently. You don’t want customers to be more up-to-date on your campaigns than yourself, right?
2. Customer is king, so let them decide
Consumers can come to you via all kinds of channels. Billboards, your physical store, online search and display ads, flyers and more. Naturally, you would want each interaction to lead to a conversion. That means making it easy for consumers to proceed throughout the customer journey. In a more practical sense, this means offering your shoppers the opportunity to choose their preferred channel to interact with your business. If they want to head straight to your store, that’s great! But if they have a question - from a product related query to questions about your opening hours - you will want them to choose the channel they’re most comfortable with. Regardless of the channel their journey started on. That also means that, if the customer switches between channels, the conversation should continue as if it was all the same channel.
Here's an example to illustrate. Let’s say a consumer finds you via a Facebook ad, asks a question about your offer via FB messenger, buys your product from your online store, received an order confirmation via email, gets a delivery notification via SMS and then asks a product specific question via WhatsApp, your customer care agent will need to continue the conversation with all previous interactions in mind. And no, you don’t need to memorize all these interactions, nor do you have to manually create backlogs for each customer. With the right customer contact software with customer data integrations, you will have access to all previous interactions once a customer reaches out to you, and you will be able to continue the conversation as if it was all via one single channel.
Choose the channels you want to add, based on your customer's preferences. Whether it's WhatsApp Business, FB Messenger, Twitter, Viber, Apple Messages for Business, Rich Business Messages, or SMS. CM.com's Customer Contact tool grants you access to all popular mobile messaging channels to interact with your customers.
3. Know your Customer
Remember the days when shopping locally was more common than buying whatever you wanted from wherever in the world at any given time? The times when the baker knew your favorite bread and the florist would know how your family was doing? Even though online shopping is a lot more individualistic and impersonal, it doesn’t mean it needs to feel that way. Customers still appreciate a personal experience - one where they feel valued.
That takes us back to the importance of customer data. If you really get to know your customers well, you can provide valuable services that keeps them coming back. Map your customers purchase behavior to provide matching product recommendations and boost customer engagement.
4. Answer as easily as you would in-store
What’s the main difference between an offline and an online store? Right, not being able to hold the products a consumer is interested in. That often means they have more questions, for example if the shoe size is big or small, whether produce has certain ingredients, or if a product is compatible with other software. Whatever product you’re selling, you will want to remove any threshold towards the purchase. That means making it easy for online customers to get their product questions answered. Just as easy as they would if they were in the store. That means, offering easy to reach customer support through the consumers’ favourite messaging channels.
5. Time is of the essence in your multichannel retail strategy
Just like page speed is a known factor in online success, the speed of answering incoming questions from your shoppers is paramount if you want your online business to succeed. As we just mentioned, online shoppers tend to have more questions than offline shoppers. But no stress, you won’t have to personally answer each question yourself. By using smart customer contact tooling, you will have the support of quick replies and even chatbots at your disposal. Setup your chatbot as a janitor, filtering out messages that need to be escalated to your customer care agents and automatically answer recurring questions using set templates with modifiers for a scripted yet personalized customer experience.