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Jim Agger
 
February 11, 2016 | eCommerce , Mobile | Jim Agger

The importance of creating an omnichannel experience

Over half of American retailers believe their site provides a consistent multichannel experience. This means a consumer has a seamless shipping experience whether the customer is in-store, online, on mobile or on the phone. Unfortunately, only 26 percent of shoppers felt the same way. These numbers come from a survey by TimeTrade titled "The State of Retail 2016." Twenty percent believe businesses need to do more to create consistent usability, while only 5 percent of retail leaders agreed. Meanwhile, 55 percent of consumers and 44 percent of retail leaders feel experiences are somewhat consistent across all channels.

Of those surveyed, 26 percent said the in-store experience was the worst in terms of customer service. Twenty-three percent said social was the least-satisfying channel, while 20 percent pointed to company websites. For wineries selling online, this last group represents a serious disconnect.

Details across every channel
Of course, vintners can't exactly provide a consistent experience both in person and online. After all, consumers can sample wines while at a winery, but they can't do so while browsing the Internet in their living rooms. Therefore, it's important to focus on the details to create a great customer experience. For wineries, this means providing consumers with the same information they'd receive in the tasting room.

This also means navigating a website must be as simple as navigating a store. Online shoppers need the ability to easily browse a winery's website, get information about the owners and wine-making process, find the product selection, add items to their card and contact customer service should they have questions. What's more, websites should provide enough information to compel people to visit a winemaker's physical location. A site with ambiguous details means consumers are less likely to visit your store, whereas more specifics get them excited to make the trip.

Why omnichannel is important
Omnichannel is about more than customer satisfaction. When you effectively ensure a consistent experience across multiple channels including your tasting room and online wine store you can actually increase sales, said Marketing Land. The website cited MIT's "Beyond the Checkout Cart" report, which found 80 percent of shoppers research prices online before making a purchase. In 2013, this consumer research lead to $1.1 trillion in related store sales.

Providing an omnichannel experience also improves marketing. According to the TimeTrade survey, 18 percent of shoppers said email provided the poorest customer service. Meanwhile, only 10 percent of retailers made the digital correspondence method a top priority. Instead of running unrelated email campaigns and hoping for the best, vintners should correspond with targeted messages reflecting a consumer's past purchases and suggesting related new ones. This provides the personal touch a wine enthusiast needs when shopping from home.

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