According to Globenewswire, 45 percent of merchants and suppliers have suffered more than $1 million of losses in revenue due to cross-channel commerce failures.
Omnichannel marketing is not just another buzzword. There is genuine business value and real profits behind it. Businesses that implement omnichannel strategies accomplish 91% greater year-over-year customer retention compared to those that don’t. Therefore, the most forward-thinking companies strive to succeed in developing omnichannel marketing solution that will unify all customer-facing touchpoints, including physical points of sales, devices, and online channels. That will enable businesses to collect, integrate, and aggregate all the data on customers and inventory information, and thus deliver a contextual, uninterrupted, and relevant customer experiences. However, omnichannel is a complex challenge which calls for a comprehensive and technically advanced solution.
Source: Omnichannel Guide
To address the problem and find the necessary resources and technological capabilities, many global companies establish partnership with IT outsourcing vendors in such countries as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Romania, and other destinations in Eastern Europe. They offer high quality of software development combined with cost-and-time efficiency. For instance, Lebara, a global telecom provider, cooperates with N-iX on its omnichannel initiatives. The IT vendor is helping the company to upgrade its IT systems and introduce technological innovations to enhance customer experiences and expand the market share.
To build effective omnichannel marketing software, you need to have a clear understanding of the hurdles you may encounter and reasonable ways to overcome them. The key things to consider are real-time data, analytics, and integration. Let's have a look.
5 key challenges in developing an omnichannel marketing solution
1) Integrating and consolidating all the channels
There is a wide range of channels in today’s marketing such as social media, websites, e-mail, mobile marketing, display advertising, in-store touch points, and more. To provide a seamless, uninterrupted user experience, you need to integrate and unify all the customer-facing channels.
According to Marketing Week, 15 years ago an average customer journey typically comprised two channels. Now a customer generally uses six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four channels. So it comes as no surprise that over 35% of customers expect to be able to get assistance from the same customer service representative across all the channels they use.
As research shows, 84% of customers go online using their smartphone while shopping in a store. Thus it is a grand opportunity for companies to drive and increase in-store purchases using targeting via mobile devices. To beat the competition, today’s marketers need to see a holistic picture of a consumer’s journey across all touch points, However, in many cases the campaigns remain segregated, siloed, and inefficient.
To integrate all the channels and devices you need a platform-based omnichannel marketing development. For instance, you can use Hybris technology with its omnichannel functionality which lets integrate all selling channels and devices. It is also reasonable to integrate your solution with third-party services (Shopify, Magento, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, etc.)
Furthermore, you need experienced BI specialists, Data Analysts, and advanced data mining techniques to integrate data from all the sources (ad servers, email platforms, CRM systems, etc.) and store them in a single data repository. That will help you to identify new insights and exclude replicated conversions.
2) User identification
While collecting data, it is necessary that you can distinguish fake data to exclude it from your analytics. Also, to track a user along their cross-channel journey, you need to have a solid strategy for the customer identification. However, that is a challenging task since customers quickly move between channels and change them. As a study by McKinsey Solutions’ Periscope says, 45 percent of the survey participants named a failure to identify customers as the key hurdle on their way to omnichannel success.
Businesses can succeed in establishing cross-channel IDs if they can manage to integrate different data sources with different data types referring to an individual buyer. To achieve this, you need to employ cloud-based microservice architecture and service integration layers which facilitate data integration and orchestration.
3) Integration and processing huge volumes of data streaming from different sources
Every day 2.5 Quintillion bytes of data are created in the world.
In the marketing world there is a large amount of varied data streaming from multiple sources such as web, mobile, inventory locations, wearables, beacons, IoT devices etc. This data fall into numerous categories:
- Individual customer data;
- Customer feedback;
- Competitor data;
- Inventory data and product information;
- Supply chain data;
- Security data.
What’s more, the amount of data is continuously growing. The adoption of IoT devices is expected to rise, and there will be even more data.
All those large chunks of information will mean nothing unless they are reasonably collected, integrated, stored, aggregated, analyzed, and turned into actionable insights.
To address the challenge you need an effective cloud-based Warehouse Management System. Migrating product information system to the cloud streamlines and simplifies online sales process, improves supply chain management, and enhances customer data management. Benefits it offers are many:
- Ability to use different types of databases and data models, which is essential for managing data from different data sources;
- Optimization of resource usage for businesses that need to scale for peak seasons or times of a day;
- Lower maintenance costs;
- Automatic backup and recording key metrics in case of a system failure.
To build cloud-native data warehouse, you need to contact BI specialists and Data Scientists with expertise in AWS cloud services, as well as Big Data concepts and programming languages like Python and Scala.
To get the ultimate results from your data collection efforts you need to define effective data management strategies, distinguish important signals from the rest of the data and create a system that will help you to track these variables.
4) Real-time data capturing, processing, and acting upon the data
As studies suggest, 64% of customers expect to receive real-time assistance regardless of the customer service channel they use.
Marketers need to respond in real time and provide relevant offers and operate at the speed of the customer. But this means you need to be able to capture data across all devices, channels, and data sources. What’s more, to turn raw data into insights and produce promptly decisions, you need to incorporate AI and Data Science into your solution, and implement an effective Analytics engine.
Many innovative companies use real-time data streaming. For instance, N-iX cooperates with Gogo, a global in-flight connectivity provider helping the company to process and get insights from their data using Scala, Python, AWS (Kinesis, EMR), Big Data (Hadoop, Spark etc).
5) Legacy systems
Managing a large number of channels and inventory locations of various types is a key technical challenge. In many cases legacy systems and environments are too difficult to adjust to an omni-channel marketing strategy, and they are not designed to accumulate and integrate customer data across all touch points.
It is more efficient to implement new innovative systems using cloud services rather than maintain inefficient legacy systems and legacy environments. However, when you decide to rebuild them, it is important to ensure non-stop operation and seamless user-experience despite the introduced changes. Effective planning of deployment and automation testing are vital components of the process.
Omnichannel enables businesses to deliver bespoke customer experiences and thus considerably boost profits. However, developing omnichannel marketing solution is a daunting task, and you may encounter numerous challenges such as individual user identification, integrating and unifying all channels and types of data, real-time data capturing, processing, and acting upon the insights, and more. To meet those challenges, you need to find and contact experts with good knowledge in microservice architecture, AWS cloud services, Data Science, Big Data, Analytics, and BI.