The Cross Channel describes the customer experience of combining different channels within the same purchase process, eliminating the limits between the channels and providing a complete vision of them.
A user’s actions in one channel affect the content displayed in others. The goal of Cross Channel is to present the same content to users on different brand channels. So instead of dealing with a single message, multiple messages tailored to the user’s previous behaviour are handled.
Likewise, certain differences must be established because while multichannel marketing focuses on spreading the same message through different communication channels managed by the company, Cross Channel, on the other hand, suggests strategies in which all channels are used in the same way. Integrated way, providing a complete customer experience.
Cross Channel Strategy
The Cross Channel is a strategy that integrates all available channels for touch points or contact points, which provides a flexible and integrated customer experience relationship instead of dividing it into channels.
This is due to the multiplication of interaction channels users have to reach the brand, such as POS, online, social channels, etc. In addition, users move from one channel to another to complete their purchase process by interacting in real-time with the brand, leaving the channel in the background.
Smart Buyers vs. Smart Sellers
Since the advent of the Internet, purchasing processes have been dominated by so-called smart buyers or Smart Buyers; consumers who prefer to research in depth the brands and products that interest them online, make purchases suggested by the ads of other buyers, compare prices, analyze technical sheets, and more.
This context is a challenge for traditional brands. However, given the existence of smart buyers, there are smart sellers or Smart Sellers; brands that use the power of the Internet to optimize their sales and marketing strategies, improve the customer experience and master the process.
Cross Channel Success
The success of the Cross Channel depends on the correct integration of the contact channels that a brand offers its users. These types of strategies are based on personalizing the messages for each channel. Using the same message for everything is a mistake. In addition, it must be considered that the message is consistent with the concept you want to convey.
In other words, marketing, sales, customer service, and support work together to provide customers with a personalized, connected, informed, and agile shopping experience.
According to the multinational SDL, 90% of buyers expect a consistent and connected experience throughout the company. Communication channels have developed tools such as Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping; these sections are designed to facilitate Cross Channel integration for brands that want to offer a shopping experience similar to those offered on social networks in their physical or digital stores.
Differences between Multichannel and Cross Channel
To better differentiate between these concepts, multichannel marketing focuses on spreading the same message through different communication channels managed by the company.
While in the first, the same message is launched through all channels, in Cross Channel, each channel provides its characteristics to achieve perfect user access. Among their main differences, we can mention:
Multichannel campaigns focus on the channels. In Cross Channel campaigns, the user is the centre of the strategy, so it is necessary to create segmented user profiles that focus not on the contact channels but on the client’s needs.
While multichannel strategies consist of presenting the same content to different users on different channels where the brand is present, each channel tries to exploit its advantages and achieve a unique user experience in a Cross Channel campaign.
In this case, there is no customer for each channel, but the customer is the same regardless of the brand’s advertising channel.
A multichannel strategy triggers a single message, while a Cross Channel campaign sends a message to each specific user when needed and through the appropriate channel.
Another difference between multichannel campaigns and Cross Channels can be seen in the former, where the content served is the same for all channels, while in Cross channels, the content is unique, relevant, and served per channel and screen. What appears in one channel can change the content of another user’s touch point.
In the Cross Channel, the information is managed centrally, regardless of its origin, and is crossed with the analysis of user behaviour.
If in a multichannel campaign, the message must be consistent on each channel, in a Cross Channel campaign, the activities aim to provide users with a better brand experience.
In the second case, the user is the same regardless of the chosen communication channel and can communicate by hopping from channel to channel as desired. For example, a user can contact a brand via email and follow the conversation in a Twitter message. The brand knows it is the same user and thus offers the same treatment.
Main features Cross Channel
Among the main characteristics of Cross Channel you can find:
- Each user receives the right message when needed and through the right channel. Therefore, we find ourselves with a greater degree of customization and sophistication than previous strategies.
- Depending on the channel and the screen, the contents shown are personal and related to each other, so what is shown on one channel may affect another.
- The information is aggregated by brand, regardless of where it is displayed, and this information is crossed with the analysis of user behaviour.
- Marketing campaigns focus on a more satisfying customer experience.
- Users are divided into different segmented profiles to focus on their needs. They are based on their characteristics as consumers, not on contact channels.
- The data is managed in real-time so that the brand can adjust its strategies in real-time and thus be able to better respond to random events and focus on the most effective ways.
- Depending on the type of interaction, they can be automated.
Cross Channel Applicability
Customers want real-time support, regardless of the communication channel they use. Therefore, satisfying this consumer need ensures an increase in the percentage of customer acquisition, conversion, and loyalty.
A very common situation is when a buyer sends an email to customer service and, after two days, receives the answer that his question must be answered by phone. To avoid this inefficient process, it is necessary to apply Cross Channel strategies that cover all stages of the buyer’s journey: before, during, and after the purchase.
Cross-Channel Applicability Before Purchase
Most shoppers decide to visit a retailer only after seeing their inventory online. These buyers are smart, so they need to become smart sellers if a business wants to capture them.
One way to do this is to align your cross-channel strategy to take advantage of trends in the showroom and online space.
So, when a customer tries a product in a physical store and decides to buy it online (window display), they can be offered a personalized digital promotion. Or vice versa, if the customer knows the product in the online store and then goes to the physical store to buy it (webrooming).
Cross Channel Applicability During Checkout
Customers in a physical store make a purchase decision based on the digital experience while browsing for products on a smartphone.
Multiple touch points to make a purchase decision occur simultaneously and in combination (between physical and digital).
This diversity can be leveraged across all channels by providing interest-based digital product recommendations to customers visiting the physical store departments.
Thanks to their geographic location, they may even be drawn to this store with a personalized digital ad campaign while walking down a nearby street.
Cross-Channel Applicability After Purchase
Most buyers are frustrated when they repeat their requests to several disconnected customer service representatives. Buyers want to always communicate with the same agent, regardless of the communication channel.
For this reason, a Cross Channel strategy allows all sales representatives or customer service representatives to know each customer’s purchase history, problems, requests, and requirements. Therefore, companies that use Cross Channel can optimally retain more customers.
In addition, with this implementation, companies can check customers’ opinions on social networks after a purchase. This way, strategic decisions can be made to improve the customer experience and create more effective campaigns.
Cross Channel and the benefits for the company
One of the most effective ways to know the success of a company is to carry out strategies that integrate all channels; however, the best formula is to carry out frequent measurements and generate a connected system that can collect, organize and analyze all the information about the customers that interact with the brand and enjoy the following benefits.
Increase brand/customer engagement
Communicating with consumers through a single communication channel can lead to some success, but it also means that you are dependent on certain user behaviours. With the use of Cross Channel, it is possible to reach consumers at different times of the day and at different points in the purchase cycle.
For example, if an email can get clicks, an email combined with a delivery time notification may be enough to remind the consumer to make a purchase.
If customers regularly interact with a brand, it also increases the chance they will convert and stay with it. This is largely due to the continuity of communication—one of the main characteristics of Cross Channel marketing.
Unlike multichannel marketing, where each platform is treated differently. The Cross Channel puts all the platforms under one roof. When it comes to e-commerce, for example, this consistency means that common pain points can be avoided. It is based on customers’ tastes to create global and combined strategies.
Regardless of the environment, they are in; a cross-channel approach ensures that every customer has the same experience everywhere. Increasing their satisfaction and, in turn, leads them to repeat the interactions, strengthening their commitment to the brand.
Adaptation to consumer behaviour
Customers who are interested in a topic, product, or service do not just read an online magazine or visit only one reference source. They will certainly consume information several hours a week. Due to a large amount of information, the user researches before buying the product. He even goes to the store to look at and analyze the products.
This shows that user behaviour is more broken than ever. As a result, one of the most effective ways to Cross Channel is for brands to create consistency between online and offline behaviour. And even better if it’s personal.
A good example is Zara stores, which allow users to find product information by scanning barcodes with their store app. The fact that users are using the app can give a lot of clues about the brand. Customers can be retargeted based on their behaviour. It also helps increase engagement and loyalty.
The Cross Channel eliminates the limits between channels and proposes a comprehensive vision. We are achieving this way integrating the vision of the same user through the different purchase channels and allowing the brand to exactly define the analysis of the situation, since at that point we would not be talking about anonymous visits but about behaviours of people that, in turn, allows us to know the customer’s journey in practice.
The great challenge for brands is to ensure that the customer experience is continuous and universal. That is that the user experience is unique among the different channels. The Cross Channel puts users at the centre, coordinating the brand and the point of sale must give them the best possible response to their needs in a personalized way.
In short, the Cross Channel is a very interesting strategy, especially in segmentation, to achieve sales, and retain or attract customers. By adapting the messages to the different channels, it is possible to reach users in several ways simultaneously without being repetitive, which will cause greater interaction and a better customer experience.
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