Omnichannel and user relations
03 de May de 2017
03 de May de 2017
By Ángel Barbero, lecturer on the Master in Online Marketing and Digital Commerce at EAE Business School
A few days ago, I had to take a flight and I did not have time to check in online, so I quickly headed to a desk at the airport, which was small and not equipped with self-service machines. The queue was reasonable but I was in a bit of a hurry, so I decided, while I was waiting, to try to check in online on my mobile on the Iberia website (Iberia), confident that it would be responsive. In under two minutes, I had my boarding passes on my mobile, sent by both SMS and email, so I left the queue and when to the security gates.
We have probably all been in a similar situation, when we have made use of a mobile app, a website or a self-service kiosk (I am a big fan of McDonald's ones, for instance). We live in a state of constant connection and the above cases are good examples of the concept of omnichannel, the approach in which we alternate between different channels for our user or customer relations, both digital and analogue, to create richer experiences than those provided by each channel separately.
It will be interesting to see how chatbots are gradually introduced within this context, replacing many applications that are currently drifting along in Apple and Google's marketplaces. Chat applications will become the new channel for relations in the case of many quick interactions, as well as for looking for information and getting advice when making a purchase or doing some administration
Another trend that we will slowly but gradually see develop will take place in the physical stores. We will see more screens and digital information points appearing and we will be able to interact with lots of objects that, until now, have been inanimate: clothes hangers, changing rooms, mirrors and the screens themselves will be on hand to help us make a decision, resolve a problem or find out the store's latest offers.
In this omnichannel world, it will be crucial that companies understand how to combine the different elements in order to provide our users with memorable and effective experiences. These experiences must be designed not only to eliminate friction, as may be caused in a shopping experience by having to queue or find the right size from among lots of garments, for instance, but also embracing new dynamics that did not previously exist, such as augmented reality changing booths, personalized recommendations, etc.
Personalization will precisely be another of the challenges that companies face. Adapting content and the product to our customers' particular characteristics has always been the Holy Grail of digital strategies, but if we add in factor of multiple channels interacting among themselves, this becomes a problem that requires a study of our user, as well as forcing companies to be flexible and responsive enough to adapt to changes that will come in the future.
In terms of the organizational changes that these trends are going to drive forward in companies, which are generating all kinds of foreboding speculations and predictions, we will have to talk about this at a later date, because a topic that big will require pages and pages of analysis.
Let's finish off by highlighting the urgency that companies should be feeling with respect to the paradigm shift in user relations and the interesting road that lies ahead in this respect.