Before the point of purchase, a likely scenario for the modern consumer is to first use the internet to conduct research – especially realistic for major purchases – then traveling to a physical store to see and test the product before deciding whether it’s a worthy investment. In fact, despite all of our advancements in technology, the average customer still prefers to purchase most items in a from a physical store, according to a recent study
Thus, when brands develop apps to boost sales, they shouldn’t merely focus on improving the e-commerce experience. But rather, to yield the greatest return on investment, it’s also important to build apps that improve the brick-and-mortar retail experience. The ultimate mobile experience therefore should be omnichannel in nature.
To understand how a company can bridge the gap between e-commerce and in-person shopping through an omnichannel customer experience, consider the following examples of brands partnering with professionals to design brilliant user experiences:
Home Depot Designed Their User Experience to Manage Customers Online and In-Stores
Home Depot is a clear example of a brand that caters to people who want to make in-store purchases. When buying items for a home improvement project, it’s extremely helpful to actually see and touch the merchandise before deciding if they’re the right fit for your needs. For this type of company, an app with a customer experience management strategy that bridges the digital with the in-store is essential.
That’s why Home Depot partnered with YML to create an app and design a user experience that makes brick-and-mortar shopping as convenient as possible. For example, customers can open the app, select their nearest Home Depot location, and browse a 3D rendering of the store. This doesn’t merely help them find out if their local Home Depot carries a needed item; it also helps them find it in the store more efficiently, saving them valuable time.
This is a brilliant example of an omnichannel customer experience strategy. What Home Depot’s app demonstrates is that the right digital experience design can drive in-person sales effectively if it helps users both confirm if an item is in stock and where it physically is for greatest efficiency .
Nordstrom Created the Ultimate Personalized Mobile Experience
Like Home Depot, Nordstrom’s app improves their customer experience management strategy by letting users check their nearest store location for item availability.
However, it also leverages data and past behavior to suggest other products the individual consumer might be interested in. This creates the ultimate mobile experience for users, and as a result, sales are increased because customers are encouraged to visit a physical store even when they weren’t planning on it. By designing a user experience that make shopping both more personal and easy for the customer, Nordstrom’s app demonstrates how brands can take advantage of technological innovations to boost revenues.
The Essentials of an Omnichannel Customer Experience
An app designed to enhance the omnichannel customer experience must check off three important criteria:
First: It needs to make the experience of shopping (both online and in-person) more convenient. The two examples above prove that can be relatively easy with the right digital experience design.
Second: It needs to result in more sales. If it succeeds in the first goal, odds are good it will succeed in this goal as well. When shopping is more convenient, customers are likely to make more purchases.
Third: An app should leverage data to ensure that the customer enjoys the ultimate mobile experience through personalization. In this manner, each individual who visits a brand’s online and brick-and-mortar shop enjoys service tailored to their specific tastes and needs.
Luckily, achieving these goals will be even easier in the near future, thanks to new technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. VR and AR can transport users to virtual stores, allowing them to interact with items the way they would if they were shopping in person. Additionally, AI can be incorporated into customer experience management strategies that aim to learn about a customer’s unique tastes and behaviors.
For best results, brands should collaborate with digital experience design professionals. These companies can help them leverage the most from these tools, and thereby offer their customers better service than ever before.