What is Omni-Channel? 10 Examples of Brands Providing an Excellent Omni-Channel Experience
by Drew Hendricks

What is Omni-Channel? 10 Examples of Brands Providing an Excellent Omni-Channel Experience

Technology has permanently changed the way brands interact with customers. Although shoppers have a multitude of options when it comes to buying products, they still prize the in-store experience. Instead of replacing brick-and-mortars, though, technology has created an opportunity for customers to move from store to website to phone, chat, and text message, all at their own convenience. This has driven a need for brands to start investing in business management tools that can help them reach customers wherever they are, whenever they have questions or need help.

If you’re still trying to come up with ways to move your own business to the next level, you don’t have to go it alone. You can take inspiration from some of the top brands in omnichannel, each one innovating their respective industries by emphasizing customer experience.

Disney: Leave it to Disney to lead the pack when it comes to making customers happy. Guests to the Magical Kingdom have their entire experience orchestrated through an app and a wristband. Together, these items help paid customers book restaurants, access their on-site hotel rooms, enter any park without showing a ticket, and pay for items. The result is a worry-free experience for parents and their kids.

Best Buy: The key to Best Buy’s strategy is embracing change. Instead of battling showrooming, Best Buy embraced it, offering price matching to any customer who found a better deal online. The company knows the key to keeping customers happy is to make it as easy as possible to go from web to store, including choosing items online and picking them up in their closest store the same day.

Timberland: To remain competitive, Timberland ramped up its omnichannel efforts a couple of years back, installing tablets in its stores to help customers interact with every product. The customer merely picks up a product and taps it on the tablet, at which point information on the product will be provided. The tablet can also make recommendations for other products the customer might like.

Starbucks: Many food chains have implemented mobile order and pay, but Starbucks was an early adopter. The company shows how, with a killer omni-channel stack, any business can equip customers with the tech they need. One reason Starbucks’ omni-channel offering works better than other restaurants is that its customers tend to be daily visitors, making it worth it to download an app that lets them order and pay without pulling out a debit card or waiting in line at a cash register.

Walmart: Having recently rolled out online grocery pickup nationwide, Walmart is leading the pack when it comes to omnichannel grocery buying. Whether customers are buying food or garden tools, Walmart has taken the pain out of shopping. Shoppers can pick out items online and have them either delivered to their vehicle through online grocery pickup or, for non-grocery items, go into the store and straight to customer service to pick them. The company is now working on features like scan-and-go apps that let customers scan items as they go and pay without ever seeing a cashier.

Dick’s Sporting Goods: Dick’s Sporting Goods’ focus on omnichannel has paid off, with online sales climbing in recent years. The company’s app makes it easy for customers to get information on the products they’re looking at in the store. The company is currently testing a feature that would have mobile devices switch to provide store-specific information as soon as a customer enters one of Dick’s locations.

Apple: Apple stands out in part due to iBeacon, a product that lets businesses and venues get information on the people based on the technology they carry around with them. This data will let businesses send special offers to those devices or adjust elements like lighting or announcements in response to those who are physically present.

Sephora: Sephora has already established itself as a respected brand, but its omnichannel approach is gaining even more respect. Using tablets, makeup artists can show in-store customers various shade options on the cosmetics they’re viewing. If a customer wants a product that isn’t on site, the associate can easily order it and have it shipped. Outside of the store, the app remains useful with makeup tutorials, special deals, and more.

Chipotle: Another mobile order and pay contender is Chipotle, which is trying to beef up its mobile offering to attract more customers. The goal is to make it easier for customers to order online and go straight to the register to pick their food up when they arrive.

Crate & Barrel: Crate & Barrel is one of the latest retailers to embrace omnichannel, testing tablets in its stores. When a customer enters a participating location, tablets are available that they can use as they walk around the store. With the tablet, they can scan barcodes and get information on any product they see. If they see something they like, they can add it to a wish list and come back to it later.

Businesses that want to remain competitive will need to find new ways to reach out to customers, providing them with all of the tools they need. Whether it’s making your team reachable in a variety of ways or combining the online and in-store experiences seamlessly, omnichannel is more than a trend. It’s here to stay.