By James Gachie

Implementing an effective omnichannel communication strategy can provide retailers with a distinct edge in the competitive market, but the move can also present significant challenges for businesses operating within the ever-changing landscape of modern retail. To overcome these hurdles and unlock the full potential of their omnichannel strategies, retailers should look to partner with the right communication technology specialist, invest in the appropriate technology and continually adapt to shifting customer expectations.

Omnichannel communication refers to a customer-centric approach that allows enterprises to integrate various channels and touchpoints to provide a seamless and consistent experience across all interactions with the customer.

A successful omnichannel communication strategy starts with integrating channels, meaning that a retailer must ensure that all communication channels are interconnected, working together to provide a synchronised experience for the customers. Secondly, it requires personalisation and contextualisation, leveraging customer insights to deliver tailored recommendations and offers. In addition, customer engagements need to be contextualised, meaningful and targeted.

Lastly, a practical omnichannel approach must include aspects of data integration and analytics to guide decision-making regarding ongoing customer engagements. Data collected from various channels and touchpoints should be integrated into a single platform, enabling the organisation to invest wisely in the channels that exhibit the highest growth and yield the best results.

Difficult to achieve

Attaining a comprehensive omnichannel strategy is often difficult to achieve, due to the high technological complexities involved in its implementation, often becoming a major stumbling block for many businesses. For example, integrating multiple communication channels and touchpoints can be technically complex, especially in environments where multiple vendors offer different channels. However, by partnering with the appropriate communication technology partner, organisations can access a unified platform and comprehensive overview for all customer interactions across various channels, thereby simplifying the process and mitigating complexities.

Another common challenge around omnichannel implementation is that of data management and integration. For an omnichannel communication strategy to work, a company must rely on effective data management across various channels. Unfortunately, this is no easy task when coupled with the need to meet data privacy, accuracy and consistency requirements.

To implement an omnichannel communication strategy, a retailer must assess its current systems and infrastructure to identify the gaps and mutations that may hinder a seamless integration. From there, they should deploy a unified commerce platform that will act as a central hub for managing and integrating various channels and touchpoints and cross-channel data synchronisation.

By synchronising customer data, organisations can establish a singular, reliable customer database that relies on first-party data to build detailed customer profiles that enables communication that is personalised and contextualised. Integration of customer data from various touchpoints further enables segmentation and customer profiling based on diverse metrics, including gender, geographical location, and age, for example.

Evolving customer expectations

However, retailers must also ensure that they stay ahead of evolving customer expectations and adapt their strategies to deliver consistent and personalised experiences across different channels in their omnichannel communication strategy. This is where personalisation at scale or hyper-personalisation comes into play.

By leveraging customer data for segmentation and customer profiling, retailers can deliver a personalised experience and provide product recommendations, promotions and messaging targeted at either individual customers or segments. To achieve this at scale, companies will need to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, which will not only ensure that the messages reach the right individuals but also keep profiles updated by constantly tracking customer behaviour.

To successfully implement an omnichannel communication strategy, companies should explore partnerships and collaboration, mainly because building these tools and solutions is not the core business of retailers. At the same time, retailers should also embrace cloud solutions that will allow them to scale, be flexible, and assimilate integration across their existing solutions.

As the retail landscape moves towards conversational everything – marking, support, experience, and commerce – an experienced partner is key to supporting retailers to deliver personalised customer engagements, implement communication strategies and capitalise on the growth of conversational formats.

James Gachie is the Industry Lead at Infobip


ITPulse is a wholly information technology communication (ICT) news website, with a special focus on the African continent. The website provides up-to-date biz-tech news, analysis and comprehensive and thorough insight into the continent's ICT terrain

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