We no longer live in a single-device world. Nowadays, everyone and their grandma are equipped with a tablet, smartphone, and computer, and they’re using these devices interchangeably—often to complete one task across multiple devices. As the financial industry attempts to expand its digital footprint to meet the needs of its customers, we must embrace this multi-device experience known as “omnichannel.”
What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a multichannel and multi-device approach to providing users with a seamless experience as they engage with a product, brand, or service. A true omnichannel experience allows a user to start an activity or action on one device and pick up wherever he left off on a new device.
The significance of an omnichannel strategy for businesses—especially the financial industry—is that users are demanding this type of seamless, multichannel experience. Today, 90% of users utilize multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time.
The Next Frontier for Banks
Recently, banks have moved toward an omnichannel approach to achieve smooth multichannel transitions (e.g., Bank of America). Omnichannel in the banking world ensures customers will have a consistent and personalized experience whether accessing the bank through a mobile tablet, through an ATM, or in-person at a branch. Banks need to get on board with omnichannel personalization, or they risk falling behind.
Customers expect their banks to know them. They expect banks to connect with them via their preferred channel (e.g., text, email, call, etc.), provide targeted offerings, and respond to their requests regardless of the device being used. Thus, this expectation only underscores the importance of omnichannel marketing.
Borrowing from the Retail Space
Let’s shift gears and take a look at the retail space. Generally speaking, retailers tend to be the early adopters of new technology, so it makes sense to look to them for examples of strong omnichannel strategies.
Sephora, an international beauty-retail store, does an exceptional job complementing the in-store and digital experience using omnichannel. The retailer’s “My Beauty” campaign makes shopping as simple as possible for buyers. Whether on a desktop, through its app, or in store, customers can access and manage their most “loved” products and purchase history. Because the customers’ information is stored in the cloud, they can access their account from anywhere, which gives Sephora customers the power to add items to their shopping cart, save items for future purchases, and easily re-order items with the click of a button.
Sephora creates an incredibly immersive experience that crosses all touchpoints through the buyer’s journey. The retailer breaks down barriers for users—removing the friction from the buying experience. If a user has found a collection of body washes they love online but wants to sample the body washes in-store, the user’s preferences are easily transferrable to the in-store app, where sales associates can better educate and motivate them to purchase. The power of omnichannel is more than just providing benefits to the customer, it also provides brand benefits through which the company can increase revenue.
Activate Your Omnichannel Strategy
While creating an omnichannel strategy for your financial institution is imperative to your long-term growth and success, the process is not something that happens overnight. You must start with a strategy that takes into account the context of your customers throughout their paths to applying for a loan and opening a new account, so that you’re mapping omnichannel experiences—or touchpoints—that align with the needs and motivations of your customers.
We recommend taking a “context-first” approach, which means understanding your personas, mapping unique journeys for each persona, and finding the opportunities to connect.
When you develop your personas, go beyond simple demographics and job titles. Get a complete 360° view of your customers and fully understand their needs, motivations, intentions, and behaviors. Banks are in a unique position to understand their customers. You have access to a wealth of consumer information you can use to build a better picture of your personas, including income, spending habits, and banking activity.
The buyer’s journey should help you map out where your users are engaging with your brand across every touchpoint. Lucky for you, banks are able to tell when customers are heading towards big life milestones such as buying a home, purchasing a car, or sending their kids off to college. These are the needs that spark action and motivate buying decisions.
This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to an omnichannel strategy. All of your research will allow you to create unique opportunities to create a seamless, multichannel experience and to start differentiating your brand from competitors.
Putting Your Strategy in Action
While omnichannel relies heavily on a technology platform to bring the strategy to life, it also requires creating content that’s relevant and personalized to your users. Your content and touchpoints must cater to their needs and reduce friction across all platforms, devices, and physical experiences between your brand and the customer. Strengthen your customer’s experience and form conversations that are more intelligent with your users by implementing an omnichannel strategy today.
Have an example of a bank successfully using omnichannel strategies? Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn.