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Omnichannel experiences: The key to shopper success

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By: Kristin Foster, SVP, Data Science
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As the adage goes, customers expect an integrated, frictionless path that enables them to shop when, where and however they please. Meeting those expectations requires a robust strategy that is applied across the path to purchase to create a meaningful omnichannel experience.  

What an omnichannel experience looks like (hint: they’re not linear or identical) 

Depth and breadth of high-quality data form a foundation for achieving powerful actionable insights that drive meaningful experiences. But having data is only one part of the equation. You also need to unlock its potential.  

At 84.51°, data scientists work with first-party data sourced through the Kroger loyalty program, which includes 2 billion annual transactions from more than 60 million U.S. households. This scale allows 84.51°’s data scientists to build powerful solutions for inspiring shopper discovery, driving conversions, offering relevant promotions and more — across a variety of channels. 

For example, imagine three customers — a first-time Kroger shopper, a price sensitive shopper and a gourmet shopper — with different preferences shopping for ingredients for Taco Tuesday. Whether they shop in-store or online, they are each served relevant item recommendations and offers via a platform powered by 84.51° science. 

The platform is composed of predictive and prescriptive algorithms that process first-party attributes sourced from opt-in loyalty card transactional data and other attributes such as the day of the week, online behavior, seasonality, basket size, modality and more. The platform scores those attributes to deliver an experience that is relevant for different shoppers.  -party attributes sourced from opt-in loyalty card transactional data and other attributes such as the day of the week, online behavior, seasonality, basket size, modality and more. The platform scores those attributes to deliver an experience that is relevant for different shoppers.   

Combining shopper insights with data science and technology creates a more valuable experience for customers by saving them both time and money. Brands also win by getting the right product in front of the right customers at the right time.   

How to create the right omnichannel experience

Forging meaningful connections with consumers in an omnichannel experience that is consistent and personalized begins with these foundational steps: 

Focus on the benefit to the customer 

Omnichannel touchpoints must genuinely benefit the customer in ways such as by saving time or money. While strategizing a way to create meaningful omnichannel experiences, focus on the benefits to the customer first and foremost. Work your way through the entire customer journey to determine where the customer can be helped. What could add value to a touchpoint? What will save the customer time or create a more efficient experience? Are the promotions or offers relevant to customers?  

Listen to the customer  

Customer feedback is crucial to understanding omnichannel shoppers’ preferences and expectations. Incorporate that feedback to best meet shoppers’ needs, no matter how they choose to build their baskets. For the84.51°’s February 2023 Real Time Insights Survey, omnichannel shoppers were asked what it means to have a seamless experience between shopping at the same retailer in-store and online. A significant portion of shoppers expect similar experiences: 67% expect the same coupons to be available, and 66% say pricing should be the same online and in-store. Omnichannel shoppers are defined as those who shopped both online and in-store at Kroger over the past 52 weeks. 

 Freshly picked categories (seafood, meats and produce) and gifts/home goods (toys, cards, décor) are the top 2 types of categories omnichannel shoppers prefer to shop in-store. And more than 80% of omnichannel shoppers claim that order accuracy and availability are important when shopping online, and 25% will shift their spend if items are out of stock.  

Make it measurable 

Tracking and measuring customer interactions and sentiment enables brands to make informed decisions for improvement. Measure the impact of changes along the shopper journey to understand what changed (positively or negatively) in behavior or engagement. Did customers engage differently with a new promotion or channel? Did changes made to underlying algorithms create a more efficient and valuable shopping experience for customers?   

Optimize omnichannel with data 

It’s more difficult than ever for retailers and brands to differentiate themselves from competitors and hold shoppers’ attention. Consumers are bombarded with irrelevant messages, emails and ads that fail to deliver value or reach them in the ways that they prefer. Data strategies that enable relevant omnichannel customer experiences are essential for breaking through the noise. It’s an opportunity to connect with customers and deliver the experiences that they have come to expect.

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Kristin Foster, SVP, Data Science
As Head of Data Science, Kristin Foster leads a team of more than 250 data scientists focused on researching, developing and deploying customer-first science in grocery retail, insights, customer loyalty and media. By...

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