In the pre-digital era, customer experience was fairly linear. Customers would enter a store, chat face-to-face with the clerk, perhaps ask a few questions then make their purchase. If the retailer was particularly ahead of the curve, perhaps it would also include a follow-up phone call, but that was roughly the full extent of the relationship.
Today, retail brands exist far beyond the in-store experience, from social media to email touchpoints and e-commerce sites. It’s an incredible opportunity to raise product awareness and engage with customers. Shoppers have embraced the full scope of digital channels, and best-in-class retailers have followed them accordingly. But having a truly Omnichannel presence comes with a unique challenge: consistency.
From the information available via the website to the way products are positioned across social, inconsistent messaging can result in a fractured and confusing product narrative. Furthermore, the channels themselves need consistency as well, so shoppers can start shopping on one channel and continue later on another. Without ensuring cohesion, retailers run the risk of harming their overarching customer experience strategy.
Here Are the Biggest Ways Inconsistency Can Hold Exceptional Customer Experiences Back
Higher Cart Abandonment
In today’s highly competitive environment, shoppers like to have all of the facts before making a final purchasing decision. In fact, they increasingly believe that retailers should offer comparison tools inlayed within websites so they can weigh individual features and product benefits. They are also, however, willing to punish retailers if their research doesn’t align with the cart total, especially regarding shipping.
Research has shown that 62 percent of consumers are willing to abandon their carts due to unexpected shipping costs. Having a single through-line for pricing can prevent unexpected and detrimental surprises for shoppers.
Hesitancy Towards New Channels
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, websites, FAQs – the number of channels shoppers are comfortable navigating continues to grow. Retailers, meanwhile, are charged with adapting to these shifts, adding to their channel roster in order to meet customers where they are. If retailers aren’t able to provide a consistent experience that maps back to the brand identity every time a new channel is launched, they increase the chances that customers will leave them behind. It’s imperative that retailers prove, time and time again, that they can keep up.
In the Experience Economy, data is the new oil. A healthy cache helps retailers not only understand long-term trends but create deeply personalized experiences. The operative word here, however, is healthy. That means a single reservoir of product data. When product information across channels in inconsistent, analytics solutions cannot accurately draw conclusions and make proper recommendations. Consistency leads to stronger data sets, so the rest of the retailers’ technology stack can work as it’s supposed to, leading to new, proactive opportunities.
Speak With One Voice
Keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the Experience Economy is a challenge faced by retailers large and small. Omnichannel shoppers demand omnichannel retailers, making it all the more vital that these businesses are singing a single tune across all of its channels. The good news is that modern cloud commerce platforms are easing the strain of channel adoption and product information syndication. They capture a single, 360-degree view of product data and make it seamlessly deployable across new channels as they’re adopted – matching the style and format of these channels as well. Retailers know the value of their products and the benefits they bring to customers – communicating that should be the easy part.