“Earn, Reward, & Retain Loyal Customers” – the triumvirate of goals that every sales organisation aims for. It is, of course, easier said than done.

Getting new customers is expensive, choosing what rewards to give is difficult, and retaining the ideal customer is hard work.

This doesn’t have to be the case – taking an omnichannel approach has given companies and executives better insights into bringing and optimising their brand and services.

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Omnichannel is a type of sales which integrates different methods of selling to consumers (e.g. online, in a physical shop, or by phone).

It is both the present and the future of sales.

With access to multiple touchpoints, the ability to craft seamless experiences has been a major driving force in global adoption.

Omnichannel can identify the right customers, and deepen customer loyalty.

Customer retention is critical for omnichannel success.

As research shows that a 5 per cent increase in customer retention can translate into profit growth between 25 to 95 per cent. But not all existing customers are the right customers.

Getting new customers is expensive; acquisition can cost up to five times more than retaining the right customer.

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Companies need to identify the right customers with their omnichannel approach and give them a reason to stay. Some might look at the lifetime value of a customer to justify a high acquisition rate and customer churn rate.

Customers are more than just numbers; what might sometimes sense on a spreadsheet might not balance out in the long run.

There are benefits and ramifications that go beyond sales that shows that in some cases, it is cheaper to not acquire customers rather than acquire them without customer loyalty.

Customer trust is the catalyst for omnichannel retail

Customer trust is the catalyst for omnichannel

Omnichannel needs to expand and enhance customer experience outside the brand for greater loyalty

Customers should not be limited by their payment options, omnichannel payments are key for a frictionless experience, and can make or break a customer experience.

As part of that frictionless experience, recommendation or ‘clienteling’ solutions are prevalent in many omnichannel experiences and provide insight into customer behaviour and opportunities to increase retention.

Loyalty programs have traditionally been closed-loop, granted, with successful omnichannel integration, that loop enjoys unprecedented reach, however, all actions in that loop are designed to lead customers down further engagement within the brand.

Companies should leverage their integrated payments, and recommendation systems as a gateway to synergise with relevant partners outside of their brand.

A promo for sunglasses and swimwear can be tied in with a trip to a beach resort, giving the customer a chance to enjoy savings on both.

Brands need to go beyond interactions where customers view the interactions as a service or product. With omnichannel, brands can position themselves to be the springboard and a key extension of their customers’ lifestyle.

With all the distractions, are you top-of-mind when your customers think of you?

With all the distractions, are you top-of-mind when your customers think of you?

Omnichannel loyalty programs should not be forced online or offline

Most companies adopt their omnichannel approach by building upon existing resources, where brick and mortar retail build an online presence, and digital native vertical brands (DNVB) occupy a physical presence.

Companies must not give in to the pressure to funnel customers onto multiple channels to force value out of their new supporting arm.

A study done by Harvard Business Review suggests that not all promotions are equal across the board. They reported losses when online discounts were introduced to primarily offline customers, and profits when online shoppers were incentivised to shop in-store.

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There should not be anything that feels forced, it has to be relevant to the customer, and companies need to find the line between innovative features, and troublesome gimmick. The use of multiple touchpoints should be engaging, not intrusive.

Omnichannel loyalty has to be fun, and match the customer’s engagement; it is a journey, not a race

Gamification is a powerful tool for loyalty programs, and customers are rewarded for their actions with either point, additional perks, or collectables/collateral. An interesting study found out that effective loyalty programs engage customers through consistency where every action is rewarded gradually, rather than rewards after long, extended effort.

Companies have to keep in mind that every customer has a different pace, and customers who are slower to engage should not be penalised.

As companies refine and improve upon their loyalty programs, the mentality of the loyalty program should shift from “win-or-lose”, to “win-or-win-more”, where the mileage may vary, and everyone’s mileage counts for something, at any part of the journey.

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Image Credit: Victoria Heath