The future is all around us…

The interdependent relationship between people and machines is not some dream out of a Philip K Dick sci-fi novel. The future is now and it is positively challenging, as it opens doors to a new framework of doing things that has both touch points in the relation of being where the consumer is best served and the customer’s satisfaction at its core, which by our definition is an omnichannel strategy.

Perspectives and possibilities are shifting: brick-and-mortar retailers, if they’ve not strategically invested within an eCommerce or digital strategy, are now being further pushed out of their comfort zones, while players like Amazon and Everlane—once digital-only—have begun to colonize the offline space as well.

It might seem un-ideal, or overwhelmingly challenging, however, what we have in front of us, is a chance to be and to engage the customer better.

As n e t a m o r p h o s i s founder and CEO Lyde Spann puts it: “Many of the organizations that we help to navigate the changing tides of the consumer’s omnichannel experience are undergoing moments of transformation. They need to find creative solutions that ultimately leverages the rise of digi-physical spaces. We see this not as the retail apocalypse, but rather as an opportunity to cultivate audiences more, bringing humans back into the center of everything.”

Three truths about our omnichannel strategy:

  1. Deliver a seamless experience and consistent messaging, to ensure a smooth and meaningful consumer journey both online and offline
  2. Put the customer at the center which means integrated CRM and other systems that allows for one view of the consumer
  3. Be data driven: insights are one of the most powerful resources a marketer has and fundamental to driving meaningful growth and engagement

Omnichannel is the secret behind successful brand-customer relationships

On one hand, we have empowered the end-user to become savvy, informed, busier than ever before and flaneur by essence. Their satisfaction, their expectations lay at the core of the most effective strategies, informing and conditioning the way marketers build brands, and the experiences that brands can offer.

On the other hand, we have the progressive uber-democratization of technology. Mobile phone users in the world are expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019; Nielsen’s Total Audience Report shows that in 2016 Americans spent more than 10.5 hours each day in front of a screen; and research conducted by Google over the past few years shows the rise of on-the-go purchasing habits. Mobile shopping continues to exceed desktop as shoppers are given the opportunity to shop whenever, wherever.

Smartphones are just the tip of the iceberg, their functions amplified through state-of-the-art solutions that might sound like trendy buzzwords (AI, IoT, VR, AR), but are actually real already—think of chatbots, interactive mirrors, cloud-based voice services (Amazon Alexa, IBM Watson and Apple Siri). Similar types of innovations are significantly enhancing and in-store POS experiences as well, allowing for more personalized shopping/browsing activities. Take the advance of CRM, and centralized payment methods like Apple Pay and Amazon, where data and transactional visibility have become more and more transparent. Other examples include Nike’s Maker Experience interactive in-store tool, which turns customers into instant creators, and Buy+ by Alibaba, the first full VR shopping experience.

Undeniably, the rise of intelligence-informed consumer journeys is radically transforming both the ways people shop and the expectations they have towards brands, making an omnichannel experience the go-to approach in facing this challenge.

Inspired by the first glimpse of emerging trends, n e t a founder Lyde Spann pioneered the omnichannel strategy already +14 years ago, unlocking the full potential of clients such as west elm, MoMA, Zara and more recently the New Museum, Newport Academy, and Design Miami amongst others.

Multichannel vs Omnichannel

There would not be omnichannel without its nemesis: multichannel.

Multi Channel vs Omni Channel Definitions

Multichannel defines an approach in which a user can choose to shop through more than one channel, alternatively and separately. In multichannel marketing, there are no overlaps among touch points, which remain fundamentally independent. There are also no connections between online and offline experiences and the consumer journey is hence quite fragmented. What a customer purchases or browses within a store does not carry forward to their online experience. Inversely what they purchase online is not referenced by sales associates once they return to the store. All scenarios exist in parallel, and never blur.

Omnichannel is instead the ability to interact with potential customers or clients on various platforms simultaneously, seamlessly and with consistency across all touch points. Through omni channel marketing, priority is given to end-users, their choices, and their will, with the results of increasing loyalty, sales and revenues.

Companies who want to build meaningful omni channel experiences, will want to make it easier for customers to buy in whatever way is most appropriate to them, and through the channel that best suits their needs.

Even if they are often seen as alternatives, omnichannel vs multi channel marketing techniques derive from quite opposite operational frameworks. Multi channel is a symbol of how things worked in the past, when the sudden availability of new options to engage with customers lead to a rush into occupying and using each possible platform, vertically.

The context in which we operate now requires more: it requires finding clever ways to cut through the noise of today’s multi-media universe.

With 14 channels of brand consumption available including:

  • Stores
  • Publishing
  • POS
  • Events
  • Product packaging
  • Call center messaging
  • Advertising that is diversified amongst broadcasting, radio, web, games, social networks, mobile, IoT

Companies need to start using a strategic rather than a tactical mindset and deliver integrated omnichannel operations, beyond pure-play digital actions.

How n e t a m o r p h o s i s is translating a theory into best practice

A recent quantitative survey done by Harvard Business Review and McKinsey among 46,000 participants highlighted how 73% of them used multiple channels during their shopping journey, moonlighting across digital and physical spaces.

According to Aberdeen Group, companies that deliver meaningful experiences for their end-users through an omnichannel marketing approach can reach 9.5% (on average) year-over-year increase in their annual revenue.

When switching to an omnichannel strategy, retailers can get a 30% higher consumer value, according to a recent IDC report.

Moreover, what guides the n e t a team in supporting brands today is a simple yet powerful conviction, that goes above and beyond our capacity to master and leverage all technical and strategic aspects of omnichannel marketing and the omnichannel experience. We, in fact, welcome challenges.

For Oliviers & Co, the olive oil brand founded by the creator of L’Occitane, n e t a had to convey taste through a digital platform. In a re-launch that took approximately 9 months to realize to a live environment, n e t a positioned Olivier & Co. within the digital eCommerce space, achieving the ambitious result of translating a highly sensorial journey (seeing olive groves in Italy, smelling and savoring olive oil) through the oliviersandco.com website. Inspired by simplicity, n e t a built an entertaining and informative user experience, adopting visual icons to allow users to perceive, understand, learn digitally about flavor profiles of the complexities of how olive oil tastes.

Results following the re-launch exceeded all KPIs:

  • Revenues trended +43%
  • Conversion achieved +4.5%, making them +125% versus the industry average
  • We generated a +24% growth in AOS (Average Order Size)

Sometimes opportunities of pushing barriers and establishing new modus operandi just happen.

“In 2004, had MoMA not reopened and put themselves in this new position, maybe there would not have been so many changes happening so quickly, but the defiance of reopening and with a new ticket price, brought with it the opportunity to shift positioning and objectives, transforming MoMA from a purely curatorial space into the powerful and dynamic institution it is now” says n e t a’s founder Lyde Spann about one of her first omnichannel strategy experiences

Again, everything begins with a challenge: how to serve multifaceted contemporary audiences with an offer able to mirror their habits and anticipate their needs? How to make the broader idea of “art” less abstract and more mainstream?

With three main touch points to leverage (museum, store, membership), plus the need to initiate a stronger dialogue between digital and physical spaces, n e t a’s founder Lyde Spann opted for a simple mantra-like solution: visit, join, shop.

This cross-over approach brought tangible results. A month after the new omnichannel strategy was implemented:

  • # of visitors that entered the physical Design & Book Store grew +68%
  • MoMa.org traffic grew +193%
  • MoMastore.org traffic grew +158%.

These are the results that serve as our foundation in our omnichannel strategy; If that happened in 2004, imagine what the potential of our omnichannel strategy is today!

Our omnichannel strategy allows us to deliver consistent and seamless brand experiences, which have helped companies increase their conversion rates by 37% (on average) within a 12-month period.

If your company is not executing a digi-physical experience strategy, the question to ask might be: Is your company truly unlocking the full potential of its customer base?