UX design for Omnichannel

Happy to share my ideas about User experience design for omnichannel services. I hope that it is useful but perhaps it is only basic for you. Feel free to let me know if you like it or not.

First of all, I want to share my definition of Omnichannel. It is a user journey that can be done via more than one channel and the user can switch between channels without loosing his progress, information etc. A seamless switch between online and/or offline channels. I see Multichannel as a user journey that will happen in only one channel but is possible with more channels.

Let’s start with the first design step: the user journey. This is a logical set of activities and needs to realize a small goal. Think about getting inspiration for a sofa or buy a selected sofa. Not to big but also not to small. This can be done with the customers but also for co-workers. Use current (internal) knowledge, field observations and data in setting the steps in the journey. Involve the target group in setting the journey and focus on needs. Don’t step into solutions but use visualization like storyboarding to make journeys more tangible.

Journeys can be placed in a bigger experience map with all the phases of the buying process in case of a customer. Or with a work and development map in case of a co-worker. This map is important because it will make clear where journeys overlap. And that is important to make sure that a touchpoint is clear and simple and not offering to much different functionality and messages.

Then you start to connect each step of the journey to channels like a store, app, call center or other channel. Like I mentioned, it is important to make sure that a customer/co-worker can full fill his need via the channel he/she prefers. Let’s go back to the journey to buy a selected sofa. A customer can select a sofa in the store but also online. Then he wants to get it via a f2f conversation with a co-worker or via a self-serve functionality in the store. But perhaps he wants to pay via mobile. As UX designer you need to think about how the user can do the step in each offered channel but also about how the support is to switch between channels. A profile can help but also a reference number, sending a link, a QR code, face recognition etc.

Users will have the same expectation on your brand in all channels. Personally, I find it extremely interesting how experiments like the checkout-free store like Amazon will influence the same functionality in a digital channel. No answer yet but something to think about.

The base is to have empathy for the needs of your customer/co-workers. Listen to their story, understand their context by being in their reality, feel their pain and analyze the real problem and needs. And then visualize to avoid misunderstanding. Design thinking methods and tools are very useful!

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