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October 13, 2016

An integrated customer journey built on diverse digital touchpoints may be closer than you think. McKinsey reports that, in the next five years, we're likely to see a radical integration of the customer experience across digital and physical channels that will set companies up to become digitally powered, experience-led businesses. For brands, creating an effective, integrated omnichannel experience that's built on a foundation of digital touchpoints is no longer optional, it's a must—but which touchpoints should you pay attention to moving forward?

Let Your Analytics Engine Steer Your Strategy
An effective, integrated customer experience is powered by an insights engine. According to a case study reported on by the Harvard Business Review, the creation of a customer insights engine involves multiple stages that focus on developing a comprehensive 360-degree view of your customer. Determine the strengths and weaknesses in your current analytics setup, which may include web analytics, behavioral data, customer intelligence, and market research, for example. Then, create a plan that will help you close any gaps and let your data streams converge into one holistic analysis.

Collect Better In-Store Attribution Data
As brands work to close the gap between their in-store experience and digital touchpoints, in-store attribution becomes a critical part of understanding the customer journey. Mobile Commerce Daily reports that last year, mobile alone influenced more than $1 trillion in sales—yet just a percentage of those purchases happened online. In many cases, consumers use mobile devices to conduct research or compare prices, but ultimately purchase in store. In-store attribution technologies are rapidly improving, according to Search Engine Land, and brands that collect better in-store attribution data will be able to more effectively target the experiences that reflect both online and offline behavior.

Leverage Real-Time Customer Information
With geolocation, brands aren't wondering where customers are and what they're doing—they know. Geolocation makes it possible to market directly to consumers, as well as to collect information on their foot traffic within a retail location. In the future, brands can expect full integration between geolocation technology, customer search, and information that's used on the brand side to deliver the experience. Explore new uses of geolocation technology to further personalize your brand experience.

Create Your Next-Generation ExperienceEvery brand's integrated experience will look different. Having a clear blueprint for what you're trying to achieve will help bring the right technologies, marketing approaches, and analytics into focus. Imagine a typical customer's purchase journey, then assign tools to each step. For example, say you're looking to provide an experience where buyers browse product data on their smartphones and then hit an in-store call button that summons an associate (who knows where each customer is in the funnel and exactly which products they're interested in)—what kinds of technologies and strategies would you need to employ?

Understanding where you're headed and how to integrate distinctive digital touchpoints is the first step to creating a compelling solution. The customer journey is rapidly changing. Brands have more data, technology, and insights at their disposal than ever before. By setting a clear vision and understanding the possibilities of each digital touchpoint, it's possible to craft a customer experience that will bring buyers back again and again.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?
1. The digital landscape is changing. McKinsey predicts that, within five years, we'll have a fully integrated customer experience.
2. Evaluate your current insights engine and technology stack. Identify gaps that could prevent you from achieving your vision.
3. Future trends will be driven by technologies such as geolocation, analytics, and in-store attribution.
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