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INDUSTRY OPINION: Who gives the best omnichannel customer experience?

Following the publication of a recent report by multichannel and ecommerce consultants Practicology, which benchmarks 30 multichannel retailers to see how joined up the experience is for customers, the company’s marketing manager, Sam Gaunt, considers the customer experience delivered by jewellery retailers H Samuel and Goldsmiths.

Today’s customer may well visit a retailer’s website before heading to a store, visit its mobile website while in the store, or visit the store and then place an order once they get home.

Retailers have developed multichannel or omnichannel strategies and services – such as mobile sites and apps, click and collect, and store locators – to support these sometimes complex shopper journeys.

Practicology has just published a report that benchmarks 30 multichannel retailers to see how joined up the experience is for customers who use more than one channel to research and complete their purchase. H Samuel and Goldsmiths were included in this research, so I’ve compared the customer experience each delivers.

Websites should support store shoppers

We examined how useful each retailer’s desktop and mobile websites were for research purposes before a store visit.

Goldsmiths’ desktop and mobile sites succeed in supporting customers who want to research online and shop in a store. Both sites feature an easy-to-find store locator and store details pages include opening times, brands available in-store and the functionality to request an in-store appointment.

H Samuel also allows customers to filter their store locator so they can find the nearest store stocking a particular brand.

H Samuel promotes the same offers online and in stores, and shows where an offer is only available online, avoiding disappointing customers who research online before visiting a store. However, when we conducted our research, Goldsmiths’ online and in-store promotions were not aligned.

h samuel store locator allows search by brand

H Samuel

The H Samuel store locator allows search by brand

In-store experience

When it comes to the store experience supporting shopping journeys that also include an online element, both retailers have room for improvement.

When we visited an H Samuel store, its click-and-collect service was promoted, but it didn’t clearly signpost where orders could be picked up in-store.

Goldsmiths didn’t promote its website or cross-channel services at all using in-store signage, but it does offer free in-store WiFi, and also provides e-receipts for store purchases.

Staff members at both chains were also helpful when we asked questions, promoting their websites and explaining how wider product ranges are available online.

Online customer service responses

H Samuel responded more quickly to an email customer service enquiry, replying within two hours compared to the two days it took for Goldsmiths to respond (although Goldsmiths offers a helpful live chat function on its site where a response was immediate).

H Samuel also has a dedicated customer service account, H Samuel Help, as well as its main account, on Twitter.

In our ranking we placed H Samuel just ahead of Goldsmiths, in 18th place and 22nd place respectively. Both retailers are clearly investing to support the new customer journeys that have emerged, but there is still much they can do to make their omnichannel customer experiences more seamless.

  • Sam Gaunt is Marketing Manager at ecommerce and retail consultancy Practicology. You can download the whole report at www.practicology.com/CXreport

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