How 5 Brands Craft Excellent Omnichannel Experiences
Learn how 5 companies use omnichannel experiences to engage their customers.
Omnichannel is coming up more and more as the best way to engage your customers. But what is omnichannel? How do you create an omnichannel strategy? And who is doing it well?
In this guide, we will:
Start reading below or click on the chapters on the left to jump into specific sections of the guide.
If we break down the words (yes, we’re going there), omni- is a Latin prefix for “all” while multi- comes from the Latin word multus meaning “many.” So, technically speaking, omnichannel vs. multichannel is the difference between all channels and many channels.
This is an important distinction because when we think of customer engagement, we often think about it in pieces, like when someone clicks an email, confirms a booking via text, or reads an ad on paid social.
Here’s an example.
Imagine you recently purchased a pair of running shoes online. Immediately after purchasing the shoes, you receive an email receipt for your shoes. But, when you hop on Instagram, you still see ads for running shoes.
The next day you get a text message that your shoes have shipped, but you also receive marketing email promoting running shoes. While the transactional communications are accurate, the marketing material is no longer relevant.
That’s just one example of communication not quite lining up, and what can happen when using multiple channels that aren’t working together.
Instead of misalignments, we’ll be focusing on the businesses that have found ways to connect the dots and create experiences for their users and customers that feel continuous.
If the transactional and promotional channels in the above example were more closely aligned, they could have stopped sending you marketing email and ads on running shoes, and promoted other running accessories like socks or workout wear instead.
In the following chapters of this guide, we’ll share examples of companies successfully executing omnichannel experiences.
Are you part of the Peloton pack yet? The in-home workout company has grown tremendously over the last few years picking up Peloton fans left and right. This fandom isn’t just because the company is making it easier than ever to get in shape within the comfort of your home, it also continually engages its users. Peloton keeps itself top of mind among users, so much so that it becomes part of their daily routines.
Peloton members receive weekly emails (like the one below) that highlight upcoming schedules and new on-demand classes.
When you first download the app and sign in, users are asked whether or not they want to receive in-app notifications on their smartphones. After each workout, members are texted congratulating them on their achievements, and asking if they’d like to do a stretch-session.
Email is great for archival purposes (information that you want to keep or refer to later). Purchase receipts, booking confirmations, and schedules often fall into this category. SMS, on the other hand, should elicit more immediate action. Peloton’s message about a stretch session is sent immediately after finishing a workout. It would be strange to receive an email about adding a stretch class to your workout, since you probably wouldn’t see the email in time.
Peloton interweaves email, SMS, and their app to create a smooth experience for their customers. When designing the flow of your customer communications, consider what channels are the most appropriate for the different types of communication you’re sending. Each time your user completes an action with your service or app, this is an opportunity for you to engage with them and nudge them toward the next step.
OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation company, merges events, email, and text messaging to provide an enjoyable user experience.
OpenTable partnered with Denver Restaurant Week, an event where restaurants offer specially designed pre-fixe menus, to be the platform restaurant-goers use to make reservations. The marketing email below was sent leading up to the week of the event. Personalizing their emails by location, so much so that OpenTable incorporates location-specific events, is a great way to engage recipients.
This will create a more personalized experience for your recipients, and will result in better engagement results for your marketing.
When you make a reservation with OpenTable, there is an option to check if you would like text message notifications in addition to email. It’s great that OpenTable provides this as an option, letting the user choose how they want to be communicated with. We see customer communication heading in this direction more and more. Why choose how your customers should be communicated with when they can decide for themselves?
Once you finish booking the reservation, you immediately receive an email confirming your booking. This transactional email is perfect for archival purposes, letting you keep a record of your reservation with the option of adding the event to your calendar. Closer to the event, you expect to receive SMS notifications reminding you of the reservation.
Everyone is different in their communication preferences. Consider what channel options you can give your users and customers so that they can choose how they’d like to be communicated with. For more information on how to gather communication preferences and email segmentation data, read our blog post, Email List Segmentation: Ask!
Have you ever been convinced to buy something because the advertising keeps reminding you of the thing’s existence? Birdies, an ecommerce shoe company, is excellent about engaging and reengaging with customers via paid social ads, retargeted display ads, and emails.
Their omnichannel marketing strategy continually reminds you of their comfortable yet stylish shoes (without being overbearing).
Keep an eye on engagement rates to see how your recipients and viewers are reacting to your content. If they’re not opening your email as often or if your cost per click (CPC) is skyrocketing, it’s time to reel in the promotions.
Below are a couple of paid social ads (the one on the left is on Instagram and the ad on the right is from Facebook). The ads are consistent with similar colors, messaging, and both linking to the slate gray flat featured in the ads.
If you promote a specific product in your ad, link to that product. Don’t make the user have to search for it!
Birdies emails have the same flair as their paid social ads with bright pink call to actions. The email below promotes their latest collection, explaining their new, ultra-comfy design and features the same shoes as their paid social ads.
Keep the look and feel of your brand consistent across channels to help build awareness for your brand and to design a seamless omnichannel experience.
Our coworker recently adopted a puppy and needed someone to walk him a couple times a week while she’s at work. She heard about Rover from a couple friends who had used the platform for their pets (let’s not discount word of mouth marketing!) and decided to look into it.
Signing up for an account with Rover, she quickly found a dog walker within her area. The platform itself is easy to use, but the frequent and relevant communication between her, the platform, and the person who walks Moose (her dog) is what really simplifies the process.
Anytime she schedules a walk through Rover, she is notified immediately through SMS when her request is fulfilled. It’s important that this request is sent via short message service (aka SMS or text) because she needs to quickly respond to confirm the booking.
When the dog walk is complete, she receives both a text and email. It’s nice to have the email for archival purposes in case there’s an issue with the walk or billing.
While the text message immediately informs our coworker that her puppy has been taken care of, Rover takes the communication a step further by not only providing a picture of the adorable Moose on the walk, but also linking to the app so she can see the walk they took.
Because SMS is considered a more personal form of communication, it can feel disruptive and invasive to receive numerous text messages on promotions or non-urgent communications. While day-of appointment reminders or messages to confirm bookings are great use cases for SMS, be careful of sending too many marketing or sales messages.
Lastly, before the holidays, Rover sent a marketing email, reminding customers that they not only offer dog walking but also dog boarding. The subject line, “How to stay connected to Moose this season 🐶” has a personal touch by adding in Moose’s name. This is a good example of re-engaging their customers and staying top of mind around the holidays.
Rover has done an excellent job of integrating their email, SMS, and mobile app communications to create multiple touchpoints between the user and the marketplace. For more information on how to jointly use email and SMS, check out our guide, Using SMS and Email to Engage Your Customers.
When it comes to being found, Warby has all their bases covered. If you Google “glasses Denver,” you’ll most likely find search engine marketing (SEM) ads for Warby Parker at the top of the page in addition to ranking organically on the page.
If you click on their ad or browse their website, you’ll probably be cookied and start seeing display ads for the glasses wear brand on the different sites you use.
Below is an example of a well-targeted display ad within the Goodreads app. Sometimes, one of the most important aspects of omnichannel marketing is making your company easy to find, and aligning channels like SEM, SEO, and display ads to make that possible.
What’s especially unique about Warby Parker is their goal to make the process of getting glasses easier (and less expensive) by providing a try on at home method. You pick out 5 glasses that you’d like to try on, Warby Parker ships those glasses to you, and you have a week to try them out.
Warby Parker also has an app that lets you virtually try on glasses. While this doesn’t help with the physical aspect of the glasses, it does give you a good idea of how the style will look on your face using just your mobile device. This is an excellent example of creating out-of-the-box experiences to engage your customers.
In addition to the options above, you have the choice to go into a physical store to purchase glasses. Once again, it’s up to the customer to decide how they want to try on the products and purchase them.
After you purchase a pair of glasses, you are sent this wonderful series of transactional emails.
This simple transactional email reminds you of what you ordered with an image and a description. It then provides the breakdown of the price, and order details explaining what you should expect next.
Shipment confirmation email
It shipped! This straightforward email confirms that the glasses have shipped and provides a link to the tracking information. Really, nothing more is needed for a shipment confirmation email.
“So now what?” email
Now that your glasses have arrived, Warby sends an email detailing how to get reimbursed through vision insurance, where to go to get glasses adjusted, and a video on how to clean your glasses.
A lot of brands don’t follow through after you make a purchase, or they ask you to review the item that you just bought before having the time to test it out or break it in. Warby continues their focus on customer experience by sending you resources for you to have a good experience with your glasses.
In every step of the process, from finding them in Google search results to virtually trying on glasses and quickly sending purchase receipts, Warby made the shopping experience of buying glasses a breeze.
As you can see from the examples above, there’s no one way to create an omnichannel strategy. Try out the different channels, test and hone them to see what works best for your brand.
To help you learn more about each of the channels we talked about in this guide, here are a number of channel-specific resources.
While each channel is valuable on its own, integrating the channels into an omnichannel experience is what will help you continue to engage your customers time and time again.
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