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Omni Channel Marketing, a one step approach over Multi Channel Marketing Strategies: Case Studies

At its core, Omni-channel is defined as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless.

It's important here to distinguish an Omni-channel experience from a multi-channel experience. Essentially, it comes down to the depth of the integration.

All Omni-channel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are Omni-channel.

Remember that. You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website. But if they don't work together, it's not omni-channel.

The Multi-channel experience is what most businesses invest in today. They have a website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter. They use each of these platforms to engage and connect with customers. However, in most cases, the customer still lacks a seamless experience and consistent messaging across each of these channels.

An Omni-channel experience, on the other hand, accounts for each platform and device a customer will use to interact with the company. That knowledge is then used to deliver them an integrated experience. Companies using this technique align their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device. By aligning these factors together, companies can use these related channels to enhance their marketing and service efforts. Omni-channel marketing can be a valuable asset for businesses that are looking to deliver a better customer experience.

Omni channel Marketing Strategies

It's one thing to discuss the theory and practice of Omni-channel customer experience. But it's something else entirely to see brilliant companies that are already implementing it in their strategies. Here are a few that is indeed admirable: 1. Disney: Disney gets Omni-channel experience right, down to the smallest details. It starts with your initial experience on the entertainment giant's beautiful, mobile-responsive website. Even its trip-planning website works well on mobile — that alone is something that you don't see very often.

Once you've booked a trip, you can use the My Disney Experience tool to plan your entire trip, from where you'll dine to securing your Fast Pass. In the park, you can use your mobile app to locate the attractions you want to see, as well as view the estimated wait time for each of them.

The entertainment company takes it one step further, though, with the release of its Magic Band program. This tool acts as a hotel room key, photo storage device for any pictures taken of you with Disney characters, and a food ordering tool. Plus, it even has Fast Pass integration to keep your vacation moving.

That's a truly Omni-channel experience, and it's a privilege to see Disney leading the way.

2. Virgin Atlantic: Robert Fransgaard shared an account of his amazing experience with Virgin Atlantic's Omni-channel customer service experience.

In his anecdote, he shares the story of his personalized experience with a representative named Dan, who, after being the unwitting recipient of Robert's frustration over a missed engineer appointment, encouraged Robert to reach out to him directly in the event of any future issues.

Dan didn't say to call customer service, or to post another tweet to get attention. Instead, Dan reached across the company's different marketing channels to give Robert a personalized service experience.

It's amazing what a personal touch like this can do, especially when it comes to consoling customers who have had a poor experience with the company.

Virgin leads the way in many aspects of Omni-channel marketing, but this account seems to best describe the types of things that can happen when all channels and employees work together seamlessly.

3. Bank of America: Bank of America takes their Omni-channel development seriously.

As one of the biggest brands in their industry, they're setting the standard for a dynamic experience, which as of today allows for everything from cheque depositing to appointment scheduling to be handled by the company's mobile and desktop apps.

4. Oasis: Oasis is a U.K. fashion retailer that's fusing its ecommerce site, mobile app, and brick and mortar stores into a simple shopping experience.

If you walk into one of its stores, you'll find sales associates armed with IPads that are available to give you on-the-spot, accurate, and up-to-date product information. The IPad also acts as a cash register, making it easy for associates to ring you up from anywhere in the store. And the cherry on top? If it appears that something is out of stock, the staff can instantly place an online order for you to have the item shipped directly to your home.

Plus, shoppers can download Oasis' app to supplement its in-store (or online) shopping experiences, too.

5. REI: A lot of customers use their mobile phone while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. That fact alone provides a glimpse into the importance of Omni-channel marketing. Imagine a shopper looking for an item that your website or app says is currently in stock, but it's not. You have it in-store. That's not a great experience.

Instead, you need to make sure that each of your shopping channel works instantaneously with one another to provide something truly powerful. REI does this well through their many shopping touch points. With the company's Omni-channel initiative, you'll find up-to-date and accurate product information at every turn. And that kind of internal communication will keep customers happy, satisfied and returning back to the store again and again.

6. Starbucks: A quick look at the Starbucks rewards app will reveal why many consider it one of the top Omnichannel experiences out there. 

First, you get a free rewards card that you can use whenever you make a purchase. But unlike traditional customer loyalty programs, Starbucks has made it possible to check and reload your card via phone, website, in-store, or on the app. Any change to the card or your profile gets updated across all channels, in real-time.

7. Chipotle: Have you ever ordered something online, only to find that the restaurant hasn't prepared your purchase by the time you arrived? I hate when that happens. What's the point of an online ordering system if I have to come in and place (and wait for) my order anyway?

Chipotle seeks to eradicate that frustration with its online experience. Its online system and mobile ordering app allow you to place an order wherever you are.

On-the-go and need a quick way to order? Signing up for an account allows you to save your favorite orders for a quick and seamless experience. Want to take up requests from everyone around the office? Place an order online for the whole team and have it ready by the time you arrive.

8. Timberland: Timberland creates a connective customer experience in its brick-and-mortar locations by utilizing near-field communication technology. Near-field communication technology is the software that's responsible for data transfer tools like Apple Pay and Android Pay. This technology allows users to tap their mobile device against a special chip which wirelessly transfers information between the two devices.

Rather than using it for ecommerce, Timberland makes use of this technology in its stores by giving shoppers a tablet that can be pressed against products and signage throughout the location. When the tablet is pressed against the chip, information about that product or offer is displayed on the tablet. Customers don't have to seek out store clerks for more information and can easily see the deals that are offered for each product.

9. Orvis: Orvis is a sporting goods retailer who has won awards for its Omni-channel strategy. How you might ask? Orvis understands its target audience and knows the most effective ways to communicate with them.

Orvis used first-party data to discover that its target audience consisted primarily of affluent customers who were age 50 and older. The company understood that while this demographic hasn't fully adopted digital technology yet, they have shown a genuine interest in using modern ecommerce tools.   So to help, Orvis gave their employees tablets that had CRM and ecommerce tools pre- installed. These tools can order out-of-stock products to the store as well as charge customers for both online and in-store purchases. If customers need assistance with a product, they can find a rep and use their tablet to learn more about an offer.

While this not only improves customer experience, Orvis's marketing team also benefits from the information they gather from customers. The CRM tools on the tablet record customer information so that employees can recognize loyal customers when they walk into a store. Employees record their shopping habits and purchase history, giving more insights to their marketing teams who are looking to deliver a more effective offer.    

10. Sephora:

The beauty giant Sephora creates an Omni-channel experience that connects its shoppers' online purchases to their in-store visits. In addition to beauty workshops and complimentary makeovers, customers can use in-store tablets to access their "Beauty Bag" account while shopping.

This account allows them to look up item details and virtually try on products using digital software.  If they like a product, they can add it to a wish list and purchase the entire list using the app.

Sephora recognizes that its shoppers have a variety to choose from when they walk into one of its stores. By integrating its Beauty Bag feature with its in-store communication channel, Sephora is able to help customers narrow their options and keep track of products that they intend to purchase.

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