Companies around the world are searching for a way to create omnichannel experiences for their target audiences, which connect all types of devices, online experiences and in-person interactions for a complete and fluid relationship. While the benefits are clear and modern trends show that customers have increasing expectations concerning omnichannel experiences, many companies find it difficult to know where to start or where to put their focus in omnichannel experience strategies.
Mobile is the fulcrum that omnichannel experiences pivot on due to its ability to connect audiences whenever and wherever they are. While laptops, Internet-of-things-enabled devices, in-store beacons and more create a network of omnichannel experiences, mobile devices are what truly connect all of these elements in order to make this experience happen.
If you are considering how to develop an omnichannel experience for your company, the following four elements will play crucial roles in finding success. However, effective omnichannel experience creation requires a strong platform. A properly constructed and flexible mobile platform can help prepare businesses for continued integration of experiences. Without one, it may not be possible to create a true omnichannel experience that satisfies both your needs and the needs of your target audience.
Four Key Elements of Omnichannel Built on Mobile Devices
The ways in which mobile helps to create or prepare for omnichannel experiences, and how businesses should use their mobile platform to create omnichannel experiences, include:
1. Gateway into Internet of Things
Mobile devices connect with sensors and devices anywhere you go for true IoT connectivity. Businesses should begin building their mobile apps and various other pieces to quickly connect and communicate with one another for a fast and natural approach to IoT in both a person's home and in in-store experiences.
Because mobile devices go everywhere with a person and are given access to a wide variety of information due to app usage, they are best equipped to connect with other IoT-enabled devices at any moment and to use collected data to trigger and inform the actions of other nearby devices. The amount of technology making up the worldwide Internet of Things will only continue to increase as time goes by, with Gartner reporting that there will be approximately 8.4 billion different IoT-enabled units by the end of 2017, which is a 31 percent increase from 2016, and an estimated 20.4 billion units by 2020. Only by building a properly integrated mobile platform can your company have the ability to become part of the Internet of Things, which users will come to expect in the coming years.
2. Inter-Device Movement
A true omnichannel experience means consistency and fluidity between all types of devices, no matter the location or content, and also includes in-person interactions that leverage online history for informed and effective communication. Frequently, mobile devices play the largest role in these experiences, as they are often the one device that goes everywhere with a person, and according to Harvard Business Review research, 73% of those they surveyed in a recent study switch between multiple channels during their customer journey.
A strong mobile platform will be able to transition between any device seamlessly for real omnichannel experiences. When crafting a mobile platform, ensure that user IDs carry over across devices to ensure seamless transitioning.
3. Voice-Activated Assistants
Mobile voice assistants that are integrated with at-home voice assistants mean your personal AI can be everywhere you want. The current state of assistants like Alexa and Siri show that while these voice assistants are not quite past the stage of being an interesting addition to the omnichannel experience, they will eventually become an essential aspect of most companies’ digital presence due to their continued advancement and integrations with more and more applications.
According to Forrester research, 60% of US adults online already use online messaging, voice, or video chat services, showing the increasingly common usage of voice-activated assistants. Mobile platforms will need to be integrated with, or be ready to integrate with, voice assistants in order to embrace an increasingly common aspect of omnichannel.
4. Bots That Learn Your Needs
When bots are integrated with mobile tech, they can learn daily habits and interests to provide info when you need it, wherever you need it. Brands should begin integrating bots into their mobile services so they can become a natural part of everyday life, such as Apple's Maps app, which learns daily routes and provides instant updates when connecting with your car. Doing so creates a natural and helpful assistant.
Strong mobile platforms allow bots to travel with you, allowing them to better understand your daily needs and habits in order to leverage machine learning. While bots will often take actions in your home environment, their integration with smartphones and other devices through mobile platforms will help shape fluid omnichannel experiences that occur wherever you go.