The omnichannel customer experience was front and center during TRANSCEND19, RedPoint Global’s second customer conference, held April 4-5 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. Speakers from Aubuchon Hardware, Keurig Dr Pepper, Lovesac, GoDaddy, and DISH Network all shared experiences for how their companies are partnering with RedPoint to better engage with customers across all touchpoints, and in the context and cadence of the customer at any point along a dynamic customer journey.
My colleague John Nash wrote a blog that captured the major themes and trends from TRANSCEND19, and I welcome you to read his take on how RedPoint is helping customers transform how customer experience is delivered. Here, I’ll focus more specifically on the role omnichannel plays in creating a differentiated experience. As many of our customers detailed during the event, creating an omnichannel experience is about consistency; it’s about recognizing a customer wherever that customer is on their path-to-purchase and engaging them with a next-best action that demonstrates you know their behaviors, preferences, and intent. Omnichannel is defined by a seamless, personalized experience within the context of a customer-driven journey.
RedPoint recently commissioned Harris Poll for a study that explored the evolution of the customer experience. Research from the “Addressing the Gaps in Customer Experience” study shows that consumers rate brands 3.5 points lower than marketers when asked whether brands provide an omnichannel experience that meets their expectations. More than half of consumers polled (63 percent) agreed that personalization is part of the standard service they expect from a brand. Omnichannel is included in that personalization bucket, and consumers rated a brand’s ability to know them across all touchpoints (in-store, email, mobile, social, media, call center, etc.) as the second most important way a brand can make them feel like an individual, slightly behind sending personalized special offers (52 percent to 43 percent).
The research reveals that personalization directly influences loyalty, with more than one-third (37 percent) of consumers saying that they will stop doing business with a company that doesn’t offer a personalized experience.
A Connected, Consistent Retail Experience
TRANSCEND19 speakers shared how they’re using RedPoint to innovate and meet customers’ expectations for personalization and an omnichannel experience.
Sue Beckett, Vice President of Digital & Direct Marketing for Lovesac, a high-end furniture company that is implementing RedPoint Accelerator, said that creating an omnichannel experience is a key pillar of the growing company’s strategy to align the website and in-store, showroom experience for its customers. A pure direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailer, Lovesac showrooms exist for customers to experience the furniture, although they carry no inventory for sale. She said Lovesac wants the customer experience to be consistent across all touchpoints, which she stressed is not the same as multi-channel with various touchpoints underpinned by disparate data sources.
“You can’t have a defined, personalized experience if your systems aren’t connected and you have multiple marketing programs,” she said. “You need all touchpoints to inform, and be informed by, every other touchpoint in real time, thus creating the most compelling experience over the life of the customer relationship.”
Adopting an omnichannel mindset during the RedPoint Accelerator implementation has paid dividends. “Understanding the journey of the buyer and understanding how to keep the lines of communication and engagement open has improved the customer lifetime value exponentially,” she said.
Weaving All Data Points into a Golden Record
Beckett also took part in a customer panel with executives from Keurig Dr Pepper and GoDaddy to share additional data points about the importance of omnichannel. Larry Hughes, the Director of Customer Data Platform for Keurig Dr Pepper, said that the company’s more than two-year journey on the RedPoint platform to improve the customer experience is about “constant discovery”. Having already built an innovative personalized recommendation engine using RedPoint solutions, Keurig Dr Pepper is now on the cusp of importing consumption behaviors into a golden customer record in addition to buying history and preferences.
For Keurig Dr Pepper, a customer journey isn’t just about which product a customer purchases, when, and over which channel, it’s also about how the product is consumed. At what outside temperature does the consumer drink hot chocolate vs. tea? At what time of day do they switch to decaf? Knowing how consumption choices fit into the overall customer experience helps Keurig Dr Pepper enhance its recommendation engine, providing for a more seamless experience tailored to an individual customer’s behaviors.
Understanding consumption, Hughes said, “Helps build a better engagement model with the customer.” It’s about more than who needs a brewer, it’s about mining every customer signal and digital engagement to drive an always-improving next experience. “There is a lot of interest across the company to be smarter with how we’re using data to improve the customer experience,” he said.
Omnichannel, and an Investment in Convenience
Aubuchon Hardware CEO Will Aubuchon echoed similar sentiments during a session on omnichannel strategy for growth-oriented retailers. Aubuchon explained that customer convenience was one of the regional hardware company’s top priorities, and how delivering convenience was a key differentiator from the big box stores. He cited having a golden record that includes paint color as part of a unified customer profile as an example of how they provide a convenient customer experience. Because paint color data is stored in a separate database from the paint SKU, when those systems aren’t integrated into a single platform it’s difficult for an associate to recognize a customer as an individual across touchpoints, creating friction in the re-ordering process.
“Omnichannel is an investment in the convenience of the customer,” Aubuchon said.
Aubuchon described how prioritizing convenience for the customer – such as not having to start an order from scratch – increases the bottom line. Loyalty program customers account for 70 percent of all transactions, spend more per average transaction, and they will buy additional products roughly 20 percent of the time they buy an order online that they subsequently pick-up in-store (BOPIS).
Aubuchon said that the company will not produce any direct mail flyers in 2019, with investment instead in creating a more personalized, direct, and omnichannel experience. “This is a huge strategic imperative for us; it’s not a side project,” he said.
Kiriti Ponnala, Marketing Manager, Data Analytics, for DISH Network, led a session devoted to the importance of delivering timely interactions for prospects and existing customers. A previous campaign management tool caused stress in the organization, Ponnala said, because it was difficult to execute complex test designs at the speed needed to keep pace with the customer. Siloed viewership data, for example, limited its effectiveness to build a timely, segmented program. After implementing RedPoint, DISH now sends personalized offer codes and messaging in the right channel in the cadence of the customer, with full automation of recurring campaigns and reduced processing times of 50 percent.
The improvement, Ponnala said, was made possible by marketers having access to all customer data in a single view.
A Blueprint for a Real-Time Customer Experiences
Customers alluded to the golden record as the first crucial step in delivering a real-time omnichannel experience, and it’s indeed the foundation for being able to recognize a customer across all touchpoints and in the right context and cadence of a dynamic customer journey.
A true omnichannel experience also requires knowing what to do with a golden record. Robust identity resolution and an always-updated anonymous-to-known customer record layered with machine learning and advanced analytics produce data-driven personalization – or a next-best action that is always in the proper cadence. Omnichannel orchestration is machine learning letting the marketer know how and when to engage with a customer based on each customer’s individual journey. In this sense, real time doesn’t necessarily mean speed; rather, it means whatever cadence will most resonate with the customer at that specific engagement touchpoint.
Making good on this expectation is a challenge; more than half of the Harris Poll consumers polled (53 percent) said that they expect a brand to not only know their buying habits and preferences, but to also be able to anticipate their needs. That’s the omnichannel imperative in a nutshell. RedPoint customers presenting at TRANSCSEND19 know how important it is, and the experiences they shared validate that an omnichannel strategy as an integral part of a differentiated customer experience can move the needle for a marketing organization.