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Challenges in Delivering Great Omnichannel Experiences

26 Apr 2019
Victoria Wallace

The more technology advances, the more it becomes integrated into daily life. Even as you read this blog, it’s likely that you have more than one internet-connected device within arm’s reach.

As innovation deepens, the lines between what we do in real life and what happens online begin to blur. Airport marketers, sales teams and customer support reps will need to react to changing customer behaviour. Instead of working to provide cohesive experiences on desktop, mobile, tablet and smart watch, it is becoming increasingly necessary to develop a single holistic approach that customers can use whenever they want.

This is the basis of omnichannel.

Where customer influence is concerned, Gen Z (people 18 to 21 years old) is the new target for rising brands and apps to garner loyalty, and Gen Z has different buying habits from previous generations. The need to touch, try on or see a product before purchase is less of a sticking point. Instead, brand coverage, social media presence and lifestyle affinity triggers the one-click Amazon purchase or social media conversion.

And while Gen Z is enjoying plenty of disposable income and looking to spend it on experiences such as travel, younger generations are also influencing buying habits across the board as parents and grandparents turn to their young relatives for digital ‘know-how’.

According to a recent report, Gen Z is moving towards ‘complete comfort’ with ecommerce. Young customers are engaging with more adverts, buying on newer platforms, spending more of their disposable income and investing in brands.

Ecommerce stats confirm that more and more shopping takes place online, and that the variety of devices and platforms is expanding exponentially. According to HBR, 73% of shoppers now use multiple channels to shop.

What is omnichannel?

Omnichannel is a term used to describe brands that sell across all channels. This might include a branded website, brick-and-mortar stores, social commerce like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and marketplaces such as Amazon, comparison sites or online travel agencies. It is an approach that centres on presenting a seamless user interface at every touchpoint. It differs from traditional marketing strategies where individual channels were optimised with no broader view of the customer experience or the likelihood that the customer might complete a purchase on more than one device.

Omnichannel can be defined as what happens when you meet people on the channels where they are shopping. You’re joining the dots between those channels so that everything works in harmony to ease the customer journey around the airport brand ecosystem, nurturing sales and engagement.

Why is this important? It’s important because if the customer experiences a glitch in the omnichannel experience, they are likely to simply transfer to another website or app that most likely belongs to one of your direct competitors.

Despite the necessity of a good omnichannel strategy, many retailers are missing the point. The customer must be at the root of ecommerce across channels. Whilst businesses might have plenty of data about how people are using their channels, what they lack is insight into what their customers want and when they want it. Many retailers are still guessing.

The challenges of omnichannel

For an airport to deliver a great omnichannel customer experience, it is necessary to be able to see, track and optimise across all channels. Without this visibility of data, it becomes nearly impossible to deliver relevant content and offers, or any sort of real personalisation. It also means no actionable insights, reach or trackable revenue.

The fundamental challenge is in delivering a seamless customer experience across channels that in turn provides an holistic view of the customer. This allows you to start predicting what that customer wants and needs, and when they want it.

Broken down into its parts, the task looks like this:

  1. Deliver excellent customer service across channels (everywhere)
  2. Personalise every customer journey
  3. Optimise marketing spend
  4. Activate data across channels
  5. Improve marketing ROI
  6. Accurately measure the results of marketing campaigns in terms of revenue and engagement
  7. Capture the value inherent in customer data
  8. Ensure the ethical, lawful use of customer data

What does this mean in practice?

1. Deliver excellent customer service
Top class omnichannel customer service means delighting customers at every touchpoint, delivering relevant communications to build loyalty and brand advocacy and encourage conversion.

2. Personalise every customer journey
This means enhancing engagement and ensuring communications are as relevant as possible. According to Accenture’s 2018 Personalisation Pulse Check report, 91% of customers are more likely to shop with a brand that recognises, remembers and provides them with relevant offers and recommendations.

3. Optimise marketing spend
In order to maximise return, it’s necessary to optimise spend. Airports need cross-channel data and insights to know how to direct advertising spend including search, display, social media, video and TV.

4. Activate data across channels
When an airport can reduce the fragmentation of data by integrating all digital channels with offline, it becomes possible to access the insights and results of marketing campaigns in real time.

5. Improve marketing ROI
This means improving data management and segmentation to create detailed personalisation and effectively reach customers on the right channels at the right time.

6. Accurately measure the impact of marketing spend
It is vital that your airport is able to accurately measure and attribute the impact of marketing spend. Only in this way will you understand which channels and campaigns are the most effective in driving revenue and business outcomes.

7. Capture the value trapped in customer data
Data monetisation can be a challenge for businesses across ecommerce. The answer is to partner with an industry expert like Rezcomm who can reach and engage audiences that can be enhanced or identified via data.

8. Ensure the ethical use of customer data
It is a priority to protect customers across all channels and data-driven marketing activities. This is more difficult when data is fragmented or ‘siloed’.

Finding the answer

This is an age of marketing innovation, but any new landscape can be difficult to navigate. There is a tremendous opportunity in connecting data across channels, and omnichannel integration offers an unprecedented understanding of the customer journey and how best to acquire, engage and retain customers.

That may seem like a daunting task, but it can be achieved with the right technology partner.

Despite huge leaps in ecommerce and the customer expectations around digital, nearly half of all airports globally have almost no passenger data. This leads to customer anonymity and a wave of missed opportunity both in providing an excellent service and in growing revenue. Rezcomm has access to the data of a quarter of a billion airport passengers worldwide. Its technology has been designed in collaboration with airport partners with the intention of taking the guesswork out of ecommerce for airports. The integrated booking, CRM and marketing software delivers in-depth data through smart passenger profiling, providing customer-centric analytics and maximising revenue streams.

Let’s look at those 8 challenge points again and see how Rezcomm offers the solution:

1. Deliver excellent customer service
When you have clear customer profiles it becomes easy to give people the deals and offers they want. You can create a VIP experience very easily with a free favourite drink at an airport concession or by only sending emails about destinations you know will excite your customer. The advanced segmentation and automated email marketing tools in Rezcomm’s systems make it possible to stay on top of communications to encourage loyalty and engagement.

2. Personalise every customer journey
Personalisation can take place within a booking journey too. The omnichannel data in your Rezcomm CRM system makes it possible to predict what a customer wants and needs. Instead of simply looking backwards at previous buying habits, machine learning develops to provide relevant, timely up and cross-sell recommendations. If a customer has a birthday or special anniversary, offering them a free or discount lounge upgrade during the booking journey will make them feel special. They’re likely to share their experience on social media and to come back to your airport next time they travel. A business customer who values convenience will respond to suggestions about car parking near the terminal, particularly if they’re made to feel that their repeat custom is valued.

3. Optimise marketing spend
Rezcomm’s dashboard provides user-friendly visualisation reports for everything from sales and marketing to car park occupancy. Because the data is drawn from all touchpoints and channels, analytics are produced in real time, meaning your airport can respond immediately to trends. When you understand how different marketing channels are performing and why, it is easy to optimise future spend. This function also helps to optimise operational resources as you can predict traffic peak times for specific points within the terminal.

4. Activate data across channels
Rezcomm’s CRM system pulls data from all customer touchpoints and stores and analyses it in one place. No more fragmented data and missed opportunities.

5. Improve marketing ROI
The systems also manage and segment data to create detailed customer profiles. Automated email marketing workflows ensure customers are reached on the right channels at the right time.

  1. Accurately measure the impact of marketing spend
    Advertising and email campaigns can be tracked across channels so it is easy to see where campaigns have been effective and where there is room to improve.

7. Capture the value trapped in customer data
Rezcomm can help your airport to reach and engage audiences using industry expertise, the data of a quarter of a billion passengers worldwide, and information about your own passengers. You’ll know who’s flying, what they’re buying, and how to engage them and retain them for increased revenue and lucrative returns.

8. Ensure the ethical use of customer data
Rezcomm is fully compliant level 1 PCI DSS and fully GDPR compliant. Your online shop includes an SSL certificate to keep your customer data secure, and because all of the data is stored in one secure place, it is all protected by the same system.

Rezcomm has many satisfied clients in the air travel industry. If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you connect with new and existing customers across channels, contact us for a chat.