Omnichannel is the name of the game in retail today. While many retailers have a multichannel environment that combines brick-and-mortar stores, ecommerce and mobile apps, those channels function independently. Omnichannel retailers combine all channels in a seamless experience that gives consumers total control over how, when and where they shop.
Effective communication is a key component of the omnichannel environment. Consumers want flexibility and choice in how they communicate with retailers as well as how they shop. Voice calls, SMS text messaging, chat apps, and email all have a role to play in omnichannel retail.
All communication channels must be tightly integrated with each other and with the shopping experience. For example, a customer browsing a website should have the ability to ask a question about a product via chat. If the agent is unable to give a satisfactory answer, he should be able to transfer the communication to a specialist or provide a click-to-call option that transfers the customer to a supervisor. All available information about the communication should be transferred as well so the customer doesn’t have to repeat herself.
Retailers must also be able to gather intelligence about their customers’ communication preferences. If a customer responds to most text messages but not to email, that information should be noted in the customer’s profile. That means the retailer needs to be gathering data from these communication activities.
The problem is that the various communication channels weren’t designed to work this way. Each requires a different sort of infrastructure, and integrating them is enormously complex. Adding all of those features to an ecommerce site or mobile app — that reaches a level of difficulty that borders on mindboggling.
Communication-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) was tailormade for omnichannel retail. CPaaS is a cloud-based software development solution that makes it possible to embed rich communications into a wide range of applications. With CPaaS, developers can add click-to-call and click-to-message features to customer-facing websites and apps, so that customers can easily initiate communications without leaving the app. This functionality can also be integrated with CRM, help desk and other backend applications.
In addition to enhancing communication, CPaaS makes it possible to streamline customer support. Let’s say, for example, that a customer purchases an item online and opts to pick it up at the local store. The ecommerce site gives the customer a projected date that the item will arrive. If weather causes shipping delays, the ecommerce site can proactively notify the customer via text message so she doesn’t make a wasted trip to the store. Because the text messages are generated via software, it all happens seamlessly.
IPC has a consulting practice dedicated to CPaaS. Our experts can help retailers design a CPaaS solution that will integrate with their existing channels and applications. For retailers who need assistance implementing CPaaS, we also have a team of developers who can build, test and implement the software using Mitel Summit, an enterprise-class architecture with robust functionality and usage-based pricing.
Retailers need a comprehensive suite of integrated communication tools to engage today’s consumer. Let IPC show you how CPaaS can elevate your omnichannel strategy.