It’s becoming clearer to everyone that putting a customer at the center of the mix is essential in developing an omni-channel approach. Business is moving away from the traditional, linear sales funnel into a dynamic, cyclical pattern with discovery and evaluation now bobbing and weaving in between purchase and use. More and more my team sees that customers expect a complete, 360-degree experience with their purchases in today’s ever-connected world. Everything from the first impression of your website, to interactive kiosks, digital signage, mobile apps and great customer service should keep your customer at the center.
To me, seamless integration of every touch point is the ultimate goal of omni-channel communications. I saw a fantastic example of this with Peapod and Giant as they used technology to integrate advertising, digital shopping, and brick-and-mortar experience for their customer. If you’re not familiar with Peapod, they’re the nation’s leading Internet grocer and their service lets customers order their groceries online. Peapod knew their customers were busy professionals looking for ways to make efficient use of their time. Peapod also knew that their customers were addicted to their phones – with half of mobile phone users citing mobile as their primary Internet source and set out to create an omni-channel experience by aligning their ads with their mobile digital experience.
To reach their target market, Peapod created an interactive virtual store in transit stations in Philadelphia to reach time-crunched commuters who needed Peapod’s time-saving service. Good idea, right? But Peapod took things a step further and incorporated a QR code into the ads so users could scan to instantly download the Peapod mobile app and start shopping to make use of their time on the train. (A #firstworldproblem if I’ve ever heard one…but still a pain point!)
The smooth transition from one channel to the next is what makes Peapod’s program such a people-friendly process. The print advertisement blends into the mobile app with the use of a QR code. And once the order is placed, the customer transitions to face-to-face interaction by picking up the order at the grocery store or meeting a delivery person at their home. There are no hurdles or stumbling points in the process; one step flows effortlessly into the next. Peapod has made sure communication channels between departments create a complete experience for customers, and this is the key to delivering what modern consumers are craving: feeling understood and appreciated by the companies they do business with.
This example impressed me. What companies have you seen using omni-channel communications effectively? What strategies are they using?