Focus on the customer
The customer is king - an old saying confronts companies with new challenges in times of digitalization. Everything should be faster, more innovative, more networked and simpler. Of course, this does not stop when it comes to different sales channels. Thus, Omnichannel Commerce is a new important concept that is positioning itself more and more in this context always putting the focus on the customer. But what exactly does that mean? We would like to give you an answer to this question and show you what Omnichannel Commerce is all about and how companies are confronted with complex customer behavior.
What is Omnichannel Commerce?
That products can only be sold through one channel was yesterday. Today, the customer is to be served via as many channels as possible, offline and online. Ideally, this leads to a consistently positive buying experience and thus to high customer satisfaction. Omnichannel Commerce therefore deals with cross-channel concepts and strategies in order to pick up the customer exactly where he/she is.
Terms related to Omnichannel
In the context of the Omnichannel, many terms are used in different forms. Some terms are important for the further course and are therefore briefly explained with their meaning for this contribution:
Any contact that the interested party/customer has with a product or company. This also applies to information about a product or company.
Chain of links, starting from the creation of a product or information about a product up to the contact with the interested party/customer.
The aggregated perception at all contact points across all channels related to the purchase of a product.
All interactions between a customer and a company across different purchases and thus across purchasing experiences. A customer lifecycle thus contains one or more purchasing experiences. For the buying experience the model AFCIC is used which stands for an extended AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action).
- A: Attention
- F: Favorability
- C: Consideration
- I: Intent to Purchase
- C: Conversion
Customer Lifecycle according to AFCIC
Taking a closer look at Omnichannel
The goal of Omnichannel Commerce is to actually design the customer lifecycle with its different buying experiences as a positive experience. Thus, the customer should be offered a seamless shopping experience - without having to decide what to do in which channel. The aim is to merge the boundaries of the customer's different contact points to create the most uniform overall experience possible. This overall experience has a corresponding effect on the perception of the company and the brand. In times when a change of supplier is more than easy for the customer due to the enormous development of possibilities, the importance of the company to focus on the customer and his needs increases drastically. The goal is the continuous further development towards a positive overall experience in the purchase and information process and thus towards long-term customer loyalty.
The more present a company is or wants to be on several channels, the more the development of individual channels such as the stationary business via the multi-channel approach to an omni-channel approach, in which the boundaries between different touchpoints disappear, moves into the foreground. This applies to both touchpoints with sales options and corresponding follow-up processes such as returns management as well as touchpoints with exclusive information options. An essential aspect of today's possibilities in information acquisition for customers is channel independence.
This makes it essential to continuously provide customers with the same information on the corresponding channels. This also means that customers who inform themselves at one touchpoint must be picked up at all other possible touchpoints where they left the previous touchpoint.
Understanding the customer's world
Omnichannel commerce does not recreate the world of the customer, but is a conceptual approach to get involved with the perception of the customer. The competition, which continues to develop in this area, but also the customers, who get used to the corresponding services and offers, are essential drivers.
Negative examples of omnichannel appearances that have not yet succeeded are not difficult to find. E.g. it is not comprehensible for the customer if the channel permeability is not given and, for example, return processes are not channel-independent.
In addition, it is important to keep an eye on the difference in price between online and stationary trading. Non-functioning processes in a Click&Collect offer are not comprehensible from the customer's point of view either. For a customer who has had the relevant experience, there is a high risk of changing the retailer/provider.
The most important services for a customer based on a survey by Statista:
- (Return) shipping free of charge
- Uniform price: Online/Offline
- Exchange of goods ordered online in the store
- Store Navigation
- Online reference to availability in stores
- Possibility of setting up a reminder
- Online availability check
- Contact on Website
- Online Reservation at the Store
- Product information available online
- Store Locator
So when it comes to using Omnichannel successfully, it means focusing on the customer and his needs and getting to know them better and better. This means ensuring quality offline as well as online that offers added value to the customer. Sales channels must be viewed holistically and linked to each other in order to ensure a successful customer experience.
Customer lifecycle according to AFCIC with contact points
Selected contact points
Conclusion and Recommendation
Success criteria for Omnichannel Commerce are among other things a uniform but also lasting experience of the customer - both in information search as well as in sales. The boundaries between sales and marketing channels must disappear and be integrated so that channel changes are smooth from the customer's point of view.
Due to the increasing competition and the volatility of customers, companies have to create an information and shopping experience independent of the touchpoint. The challenges are manifold and have to be tackled carefully.
- Dismantling channel boundaries
- Viewing the organization, as this is a change in the company
- Careful consideration of the system landscape in order to be able to implement the change systemically
Our recommendation is to face the challenges in a structured way. We support this with our established process model.
We recommend considering the following topics in initial workshops:
- Business model and customer structures
- Offers to the end customer
- Core processes for commerce, customers, products and services
- Business Architecture
On this basis, joint solution scenarios are developed that lead into agile implementation in form of a program.
Hand in hand, we will gladly develop an individual package based on your requirements to make not only your customers but also yourself happy - for long-term and positive customer loyalty and satisfaction!
Contact us directly - our Omnichannel experts will be happy to advise you!
With the new positioning of the customer experience (CX) products within the “SAP C/4HANA” suite, SAP takes the consistent next step towards the integration of the Hybris e-commerce platform acquired in 2016 across the company’s whole portfolio. As part of the integration, the five pillars of the SAP CX Suite were also redesignated.
We at Unic prove our special SAP Commerce product knowledge every day anew. Now SAP has rewarded us: In addition to our silver partner status, we now proudly have the status "SAP Recognized Experience" and are pleased that we have received this award.