Content management and your omnichannel customer experience
In terms of convenience and choice, today’s digital customers have never had it so good. They have the global marketplace at their fingertips, and a myriad of ways of reaching it – in the last few years alone, we’ve seen the introduction of social commerce, personal assistants and smart speakers – which, in addition to smartphones and tablets, have made it even easier to buy things online.
However, while this profusion of channels and connected devices makes things more convenient for the consumer, from the ecommerce marketer’s perspective, the increasingly fragmented customer journeys they create make it more challenging to consistently deliver great customer experiences.
Where once the customer journey was linear, today’s more savvy online shopper might, after initially discovering a certain product offline, turn to social media to research it, before visiting a brick-and-mortar store to check out the item in person, go back online to compare prices in different stores on a desktop browser, then make the final purchase on the smartphone on the way to work.
As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that every interaction the customer has with your brand, via whatever channel or device they might use, is consistent and that their journey from touchpoint to touchpoint is seamless. You have to be wherever they are, as they expect to find you, and able to continue the conversation where you left off.
Customers also expect that you can serve them engaging content that is relevant to them at any given time. “Consumers do not want static messages across all platforms,” says digital services provider Kentico. “They need meaningful engagement with your brand as they move through the sales cycle. If you keep giving them the same content every time, they’ll leave and take their money with them.”
This is the essence of omnichannel. Omnichannel is a means of delivering a consistent experience across all channels and devices, and maintaining the same look and feel across these interactions. It’s an approach that means customers can interact with a brand in whichever way they like and that, when they reach you, they feel welcome.
How can your content management system (CMS) enable the omnichannel experience customers expect?
How is omnichannel different from multichannel?
First of all, let’s be clear on the definition of the term “omnichannel”. How does it differ from “multichannel”? Generally speaking, multichannel describes a way of using multiple channels to engage with customers, including social and email, but it isn’t necessarily concerned with serving up a consistent message of branding through those channels, as omnichannel is.
According to technology and services company Aberdeen Group, multichannel programmes tend not to focus on optimising customer experience on different devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops that people use to interact with the business.
How does content management enable omnichannel experiences?
More than just a way of storing and publishing multimedia on brand websites, the CMS plays a crucial role in orchestrating omnichannel experiences for the customer. Integrated tools in the CMS can automate manual processes, track customer behaviour and learn from previous interactions, making it possible to deliver personalised experiences in real time.
“Data-driven techniques help us target and personalise offers and experiences to the market of one,” says Jake Sorofman, research vice-president at Gartner.
How do I choose the right CMS?
For a more general look at what features you should be looking for in your web content management system, check out our blog post What should enterprise businesses look for in a CMS?
According to the UK software company Sitecore, to deliver omnichannel experiences, your web CMS should allow you to view all your channels as a single experience, so that you can create a seamless conversation with the customer. It should also let you monitor and measure customer interactions across different channels, to give you an idea of how your audience wants to communicate with you.
Another important feature is an intuitive content editor that supports all languages and can deliver the right content to the right geographic regions.
Before establishing your omnichannel strategy, it’s worth taking some time to understand your customers, including their device and channel preferences, the journeys they tend to take, and how they prefer to interact with you.
The more you understand the journey your customers make with you, the better experience you can serve them when they come back.
Download our CMS Vendor Selection Pack for more information about how to select the best web CMS for your business.