In a world where people use several media and channels to inform themselves, interact and communicate, marketing obviously becomes cross-channel as well. However, interaction and communication are not the only areas where cross-channel rules.
Earlier this year, IDC Retail Insights published a report, called "Guide to Enabling Immersive Shopping Experiences". The research shows that the way people buy and shop is becoming cross-channel or, as IDC calls it, omnichannel.
One obviously immediately thinks online shopping but IDC's report tackles both online and offline buying. According to the research firm, this forces businesses to more than ever focus on a channel-independent customer-centric approach whereby the consumer's buying journey is key.
According to IDC, the effect of "the rise of omnichannel shopping" is that it "requires providing an immersive and superior customer experience regardless of channel".
The report talks about what retailers should do with their physical and virtual stores and about the fact that they should "enrich the shopping experience because customers must identify and always connect with your brand".
Omnichannel customer service
So be everywhere where your customers are, think omnichannel and invest in customer-centric servicing tools. But also look at the offline buying experience to offer a consistent and recognizable buying experience whereby physical and virtual come together in a cross-channel and total approach.
IDC also states there is a "clear trend toward customer-facing technology convergence" in retail. One of the messages is to focus on self-service and extending customer service range, with potential developments in customer service and support.
Social media should play a role in these customer service practices, the company says, but most of all it's crucial to offer customer service across all channels that your customers use.
Not only the shopping experience itself is cross-channel: so is the communication before and certainly after a purchase.
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