The industry is still far off from a true omni-channel customer experience, says the CEO of digital creative agency Holler, Mike Hill.
Speaking at Mad Week’s omni-channel retail conference on Friday, Hill was joined on the panel by Karen Ganschow, head of customer and relationship marketing at Westpac, Amelia Priest, CEO of Just Snacks and Carl Mogridge, head of digital at Avon.
Hill told the audience brands need to focus on product first in order to have a real omni-channel customer centric experience.
“I don’t think omni-channel customer experience is for everybody,” he said. “There are a select few brands who are going to be able to do it well. Banks are absolutely perfect for that, and telcos too.
“The smaller brands are going to find it hard to do the true omni-channel marketing with the customer experience that is the same across every single channel.”
Westpac’s Ganschow believes one of the great aspects of omni-channel marketing is the fact customers can browse through all the different channels of a brand.
“The ideal would be…it feels like one seamless experience,” she said.
Ganschow used the example of starting an application for a credit card online and being able to transition to speaking to a real person with all the information immediately available. She said: “No matter what need you have with a brand, it’s just there for you and follows you through either channel.”
Holler’s Hill added that the ultimate customer strategy starts well before the point of sale.
“I’ve got a theory,” he said. “Social and good customer experience will be the end of bad products if you use it the right way because bad products will never get to market. That’s a bit of a utopia kind of experience but aside from being the same across every single platform, if it can then be woven back into the business…that’s incredible.”
For Avon, Mogridge said the ideal set up for the cosmetics brand is no-barrier-to-entry.
“Historically you’ve always had to go to someone to say ‘can I buy your product?’. Now we’re globally moving to e-commerce, a no-brainer. Utopia for Avon is about creating an anytime, anywhere purchase opportunity,” he said, although he agreed with Hill that the industry is still a long way off from true omni-channel marketing.