Creating an omnichannel experience from scratch can be overwhelming. One way to learn how to create an exceptional omnichannel experience is to look at the brands leading the game.
We’ll cover some of the best omnichannel marketing brands and give you tips to create your own omnichannel experience.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing creates a seamless shopping experience across a brand’s customer touchpoints. These touchpoints can include anything from a brick-and-mortar store to a third-party review site.
What’s the difference between omnichannel and multichannel?
Omnichannel marketing focuses on integrating channels to create a more robust customer experience. Multichannel marketing fulfills customer needs with little to no connection between the channels.
The graphic below visually breaks down the difference between omnichannel and multichannel marketing.
9 examples of omnichannel marketing
These brands lead best by example.
1. Warby Parker: Try it before you buy it
Warby Parker is a revolutionary eyeglasses company that makes buying glasses an intelligent and easy experience. Warby Parker is famous for its “try it before you buy it” model. They offer a mail service that allows consumers to try on up to five pairs of glasses for free.
That makes glasses buying online a more convenient experience since customers don’t have to worry about purchasing a pair of glasses that don’t suit their face or personality. Warby Parker is building a loyal customer base by investing the time and effort into delivering more glasses upfront at affordable prices. Their in-app virtual try-on lets you handpick your five glasses with more confidence.
2. Afloral: Setting up shop in social
Afloral is a company that sells an array of dried and artificial flowers online, which is a trend in home decor and wedding planning. To help promote their products, Afloral focuses on curating an Instagram feed that can inspire consumers and let them buy directly from their social media accounts.
For example, you can click on an Afloral post and see what products they have linked. You can click on the click and purchase the product while remaining in the Instagram app. Because the shopping experience integrates into social browsing, people are more likely to buy the product while their interest is fresh from inspiration.
The floral company encourages shoppers to buy from their Instagram store by offering a discount to anyone who purchases through the app. Plus, agents can answer DMs about stylist tips or product questions. They even curate different guides and videos to give consumers even more information on how to start arranging flowers from the comfort of their homes.
3. Starbucks: Order, pay, and collect rewards wherever you are
Starbuck’s unique selling point isn’t their coffee (despite whatever crazy drink they put out) — it’s their enticing reward program. Here’s the deal: Starbucks understands that people drink coffee almost every day. So, they developed a rewards program that encourages people to choose them for their daily cup of joe.
Here’s how it works. You download the Starbucks app and create an account. Anytime you’re at a Starbucks bar, you can scan your app to earn rewards. The more involved you are with the app, the more opportunities you have to earn rewards that you can redeem for free drinks or treats. Because it’s so easy to earn rewards, people return to Starbucks to redeem their points, even if it isn’t their coffee shop of choice.
What’s more, Starbucks anticipates customer needs by buying real estate in convenient locations. Chances are there is a Starbucks within a 10-mile radius of you, whether it’s their store or a spot in a Target, bank, or airport. Customers can use the Starbucks app to pay for their coffee, collect rewards, and check out seasonal releases. Whatever you choose to order, the idea of getting rewarded for your purchase is what makes Starbucks customers loyal.
4. Target: Bridging the gap between in-store and digital shopping
Speaking of Target, it’s another brand on our list. Target is all about bridging the gap between physical and online shopping by making it easy to get items when you need them.
While Target doesn’t have Prime delivery like their competitor Amazon, it has one significant advantage over the digital giant: brick-and-mortar stores. Sometimes, customers can’t wait a day for Prime deliveries. They need an item, and they want it immediately. Target caters to these customers and goes the extra mile by allowing customers to place an order online for two-hour order pick-up or same-day delivery.
The catch is that once customers are in Target stores for the item they need, they’re likely to pick up other things that aren’t a priority. Customers can choose to pick up these items while shopping or place an online order for later delivery.
5. Disney: Hands-free shopping for a magical experience
We can say numerous good things about Disney, but they hit a home run when introducing their MagicBand to theme park visitors.
MagicBands are plastic watch-like bracelets that allow Disney guests to travel light. With a MagicBand, guests can unlock their Disney resort hotel room, pay for merchandise, and unlock special surprises around the theme park.
The MagicBand concept replaces carrying a ticket, credit card, or other documentation. As Disney says, it adds a touch of “magic” to everything theme park users do.
What’s brilliant about the MagicBand is that it not only creates a fully immersive experience, it gets park visitors to spend more money while on vacation. It's easy to get carried away when you can’t see what you’re spending, especially when focused on living the magic at Disney parks.
6. Nordstrom: Business texting to develop customer relationships
Nordstrom puts mobile-first in almost everything they do, especially with their integrated business texting system. If you walk into any Nordstrom store, you’ll see how they encourage their customers to text them at almost every opportunity. Large decals are displayed at registers telling customers to text the brand for numerous benefits.
Forgot your Nordstrom card? You can get a temporary card in a few short minutes by texting “Get My Card” to their number. For a more personal texting experience, Nordstrom stylists will ask their clients to opt-in to text with them to get the latest information on new releases or in-store events.
This concierge service allows stylists to send their clients personal recommendations using text or MMS. The best part is that customers can text back with the Nordstrom associate, promoting a better stylist and client experience.
7. IKEA: Say Hej! to AR
Swedish furniture brand IKEA takes a futuristic approach to omnichannel marketing with its interactive augmented reality. Available on the app store, the IKEA Place app lets customers virtually furnish their homes with products large and small — all to scale. Whether you’re in the market for a new sofa or lamp, you can place the item in your home to better understand what the product will look like in your space.
While IKEA brands itself as an affordable furniture store, it’s still selling high-ticket items that require proper thought and decision-making. By making it easier to see an item before purchase, customers are more likely to buy from IKEA with less buyer’s remorse.
8. West Elm: Interior design help with video
Have you ever gone shopping for furniture and wished someone could help you design your space? With their virtual video appointments, West Elm connects you with a personal stylist that will stick with you through the entire design and purchasing process.
West Elm clients can schedule a free virtual appointment with a stylist at their local West Elm. The stylist will call using video to learn more about the clients' preferences and see their room before curating a product list. West Elm stylists can also recreate floor plans with items sized to scale to give customers an even better idea of what their space will look like.
Aside from video, West Elm also offers in-home and in-store consultations to help clients with makeover tips, styling questions, and more.
As we mentioned with IKEA, because furniture items are high-ticket purchases, these consultations give buyers more assurance that they’re making the right purchase.
9. H-E-B: Recipes to promote sales
H-E-B cleverly added recipes to their website to get customers to try new menu items, hoping they’ll buy the ingredients they need (or want to experiment with) while shopping at their grocery chain.
Shoppers will pick up ingredients just to follow a recipe to the T. By creating recipe checklists and recommending in-store products, H-E-B sells more products while promoting wellness and health to its local communities. H-E-B allows shoppers to add ingredients from a recipe checklist directly to their cart on their website, making it even easier to purchase more from them.
H-E-B also features local products and often sets up in-store presentations to promote them. They even produce fresh daily meals for busy people who can’t cook independently, which can garner daily lunch visitors.
How to start building an omnichannel experience at your company
If you’re looking for ways to create an omnichannel experience from scratch, here are some tips to get you started.
- Prioritize what channels you want to include in your omnichannel experience
Choose the channels that your customers are most likely to use. Make sure you have enough agents to handle these channels.
- Map out your customer buyer journey
Understand how your customers discover and shop for your product or service. From there, develop a simple customer journey that you can tweak with customer feedback.
- Collect customer data
Data is a valuable tool that will help you curate a better customer experience. Use data to detect any gaps in your customer buyer journey.
- Optimize your channels for a more personalized experience
Personalization is the trend for customer experience. Once you collect customer feedback and analyze data, you can use the information to build a more customized experience for them. That can include anything from providing better recommendations based on their shopping experience, to proactively reaching out when they’re running low on a product.
For more tips, read our ultimate guide for omnichannel communication.
The bottom line
These brands are the prime example of creating a unique omnichannel experience because they put themselves in their customers' shoes. Once you understand your customers' needs, you can spend time optimizing their buying experience.
Remember, optimization is an ongoing process. When serving your customers, the goal is to be better, not perfect.