With the pace of change in retail today, there is a temptation to implement services like click and collect and ship from store as quickly as possible. Whilst this can bring numerous benefits to retailers, if implemented poorly it can put customer experience at risk, creating implications for loyalty, according to Eric Fergusson, head of retail services for eCommera.
The challenge for retailers is that executing a good omni-channel experience can be expensive, and many retailers venture down the path of introducing omni-channel services without a clear strategy that ensures a return on investment. From programme design to staff training and measurement, all elements need to be carefully considered to ensure that the experience is fully optimised to create the right balance between investment and return.
Doing omni-channel well is complicated and for some organisations it may be a very daunting task. However, with a clear strategy, the right KPIs and a continual focus on optimisation, the benefits will soon speak for themselves.
Here, then, are the top three omni-channel mistakes to avoid:
- Mistake one: Skipping the strategic planning phase
One of the most commonly made errors when building an omni-channel strategy is missing out the planning phase and jumping straight into implementation. Many organisations then go on to find it difficult, or even impossible, to get the budget and resources needed to optimise the programme.
- Mistake two: Assuming you know what customers want
Ensuring any newly implemented service offers a consistently good customer experience is already a risk - avoid adding to that the possibility that most customers will not even use the service. Consider, for example, the uptake on live chat functionality versus emails or calls. Will enough customers adopt this service, or would they still prefer to call or email? Customer insight will help you to identify which channel they are more comfortable with, and can help to align future decisions. A complete strategy will help with this (see mistake #1).
- Mistake three: Measuring the wrong elements
When it comes to measuring the success of the strategy at various points along the journey, be careful of tracking the wrong KPIs. You may risk changing a successful strategy, or worse declare the success of a programme that is losing you customers and money. Avoid focusing solely on outputs such as the number of click and collect orders in a store, or the percentage of sales that are click and collect. Ultimately, benchmarks and targets are valuable, but vary significantly for legitimate reasons, and an absolute focus on a target revenue number will miss the concept of optimisation.