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How to create the perfect omnichannel strategy part 2

Employ triangulated user research if you want to turn omnichannel problems into omnichannel opportunities.

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Knowing there is a problem, or more likely, multiple problems with the omnichannel experience is the easy bit. But it’s knowledge that does nothing to enable effective optimisation.

It is vital to move beyond this “We have a problem” phase, before starting to develop a meaningful plan of action – and that is essentially a two step process.

The first is to understand how the current omnichannel journey is performing, and that means looking closely at the information you already have.

Put aside those preconceptions and look at everything from customer services feedback, existing user research and personas, to cross-device analytics reports. In essence, any data that offers a window into the minds or actions of your customers as they interact with your business is invaluable.

That may sound like an overwhelming tsunami of data, and that is why it’s important to focus – to, for instance, group insights according common themes and identify priority areas for further investigation.

All the same keep in mind that identifying sticking points in the journey still only tells you there’s a problem.
Converting them into optimisation opportunities means working out why there’s a problem – really understanding the gap between user needs and the experience you are delivering. And that is the crucial second step.

Here, there is no substitute for detailed and well planned user research across the entire experience – lab sessions, in-store research and observation, even in-store testing using eye-tracking glasses.

It is this detailed research, and a triangulation of findings, that really uncovers the big omnichannel optimisation opportunities – the priorities that ensure the next stages, development and testing, deliver real, step change results.

That said, before moving on to development, it’s worth taking a step back, to look at the big picture – in particular looking for previously unseen interdependencies and limitations that could precipitate unintended negative outcomes.

There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the most powerful is to use your data and research input to create a map of the omnichannel journey. Highlight where the issues and opportunities lie, then explore the ideas and visualise the solutions before jumping straight into the creative process.

Another is to create a ‘problem statement’ for each optimisation opportunity, which should include information to effectively guide the ideation phase and creative input, such as:

    • Which ‘portion’ of the customer journey are we looking to fix, refine or add value to?
    • What is the basic problem to be addressed?
    • What is the customer expectation and state-of-mind as they enter this part of the journey?
    • What are the main goals of the customer at this point of the journey?
    • Which touchpoints are currently utilised at this point?

And finally, be realistic – In addition to the relevant CX insights, any correlated business objectives, internal barriers and limits on project scope should be revisited to make sure that objectives, budgets and timetables are realistic.

After all, there’s only one thing worse than having no omnichannel strategy at all – and that’s having one that is unrealistic and undeliverable.

This post is based on 6 Stages of Omnichannel Success, a detailed guide to developing an evidence-driven, proven and validated omnichannel optimisation solution, which you can read here.