The State of Omnichannel 2020

by Salvador Lopez, Marketing Manager at Magnolia
Mar 4, 2020 | 5 MIN

Being able to serve up an interconnected customer journey has never been more critical than it is today. According to Aberdeen Group, companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.

It’s no wonder that companies are looking for ways to improve the customer experience and interact with their audience across multiple channels beyond their websites. In this article, we’ll take a look at what omnichannel looks like today, the strategies for implementing omnichannel and what the future holds.

What Does Omnichannel Mean in 2020?

The understanding of omnichannel for businesses has shifted from excitement about merely being on multiple platforms (even when it doesn’t align with customer goals), to now knowing that customers want to be able to perform similar actions and transition smoothly across different platforms.

In 2020, that constitutes a brand cultivating an experience, not just a presence, on the platforms and channels that their audience uses most often. For some brands, this includes a website, email and LinkedIn. For others, it means extending their customer experience to platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

However, reaching across all these channels in an omnichannel way has often been cumbersome. That’s why the tools that organizations use to get content to these channels need to be intuitive and easy to manage. Today, the ability to manage content across multiple silos is paramount, and the relationship between omnichannel and personalization is more important than ever before.

To do omnichannel well, organizations need a sound system in place for content governance and strategy. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t have appropriate content governance in place. There is, however, a need to balance strong content governance with a new content strategy. This requires a CMS built for speed and implementation.

The State of Omnichannel in 2020

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Implementing an Omnichannel Strategy

Transforming from a multichannel approach to a truly omnichannel approach requires tweaks in how companies view their content strategy. The first step is by focusing on research and analytics to help guide your path.

For some companies it can be easy to start experimenting with new technologies such as Alexa skills. However, stakeholders need to first ask themselves what would constitute success and how to scale if appropriate. Otherwise, there’s nothing to aim for and no way to quickly capitalize if there is significant traction.

The omnichannel approach can be beneficial to both B2B and B2C companies. While the customer journey for eCommerce is the pillar of omnichannel, the requirement for an optimized experience on multiple devices is vital for B2B companies as well. Our schedules are now more blended than ever and for many people, being able to work from home or while traveling is essential.

In an omnichannel content strategy, content needs to be adaptive to different circumstances or scenarios. It means creating variations of content for different contexts or situations, such as multiple versions of a headline or material that is both translated and optimized for an international audience.

A successful omnichannel experience requires a great martech stack. Given the assortment of martech tools available today, what works best will depend on the company in question and their specific needs. However, there are some fundamental areas where every company should have tools that satisfy these needs. These include analytics, identity management (understanding who someone is on different devices), content curation, and content delivery and presentation.

Traditionally, omnichannel has been under the purview of marketing or IT executives. However, a separate group of stakeholders is emerging to begin driving this experience: the ever-growing Chief Digital Officer role.

Just like any digital initiative, a successful omnichannel strategy should be visible in revenue reports. Companies should prioritize metrics such as engagement, usage, customer satisfaction and NPS to determine the effectiveness of any omnichannel strategy.

The Future of Omnichannel

The proliferation of omnichannel will be impacted by various technical developments in the coming years. Currently, the driving forces behind it include adaptive presentation technologies. As such, developers are using frameworks such as React, Angular and Vue.js to create dynamic single web pages and progressive web applications to meet customer demands.

Additionally, the rise of design systems and design thinking mean that companies are thinking more and more about the user experience and how technologies will impact consumers. The future of omnichannel will continue to see the user placed first and the experience built around their needs.

Organizations will rely on people with a system thinking approach to help drive themselves forward, including persons who use data and analytics in both a predictive and prescriptive way.

The slew of information will also require copywriters and UX writers who can create and structure content for different channels. Much of the content today is designed for the web or mobile. However, with audio interfaces such as Alexa and Google Home, organizations need to start thinking about semantics and how content can be adapted for different channels as well as how to manage it. There needs to be a holistic approach to know where customers are going to be, how to deliver the correct information and how to make them successful.

Companies that feel they are falling behind because they don’t have a well-managed digital experience platform shouldn’t worry yet. At this point, the best approach is to analyze how they can sensibly think about omnichannel, and how they should be managing their content and setting their foundations.

There is no finish line when it comes to omnichannel. Now is the best time to prepare strategically for what lies ahead. Omnichannel will be a core part of everyone’s user experience or product design practice. Companies can look at various channels separately but need to understand the experience and how to personalize it for their users.

To survive in the future of omnichannel, organizations need to start thinking about their content services, including content structure, content architecture, content variations and metadata. Magnolia CMS is capable of solving many of these problems and provides a next-generation content hub for integrated experiences on the web and all your channels. Companies can manage all of their content effectively while providing customers with the personalization and optimized experience they demand.

About the Author

Salvador is responsible for raising Magnolia's profile the North American market. He has 8+ years experience working in marketing roles at innovative software companies.

See all posts by Salvador Lopez