9 Ways to Optimize Your Web Design for Omnichannel Retail

In today’s digital world, it is essential to optimize your web design to provide consumers with a seamless and consistent experience as they interact with your mobile app, website, or social media pages.

Designing your website with multiple channels in mind is a customer-centric approach which benefits your marketing and sales, and 70% of customers spend more on brands with a smart omnichannel strategy.

Not only should consumers be able to interact with your business on all channels, but they should be able to move between these channels seamlessly. This is especially important for eCommerce businesses as we see a rise in app-based and social media shopping, with 98% of customers planning to utilize social purchasing to make at least one purchase in 2024. 

Here are nine ways to optimize your web design to provide seamless access to other channels for omnichannel consumers:

1. Get To Know Your Customers

The first step to optimizing your design for omnichannel experiences is to get to know your customers – who they are, what they want, how they behave, and their pain points – so you can design your website accordingly.

You can use customer feedback, personas, sales analytics, and even competing website design examples to understand better the needs and preferences of those visiting your website. You can also use these to measure how your customers interact across different channels and devices.

When you design websites with AI, algorithms can analyze historical data and current trends to predict future customer preferences and market shifts. This insight enables businesses to adjust their omnichannel strategies to meet changing customer demands.

In addition, it is essential to implement the same level of customer support across all channels so users can access this, regardless of what platform or device they use to interact with your business. 

For example, if your desktop website has an AI-powered chatbot answering customer queries 24/7, your mobile app should also have it.

2. Define Your Goals

The next step of the process is to define your design goals. It can be tricky to create a cross-channel strategy, as there are so many demographics, trends and values to consider. When prioritizing web design best practices, ensure that you consider each channel you’re visible on. This is crucial for creating a consumer journey from the first touchpoint to the checkout.

You need to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you want your brand to be positioned on your website. How do you want to communicate to your customers? Where does your website rank amongst the profitability of all of your conversion points?

You should also have a plan of how you aim to align your website design with your larger KPIs such as business growth, conversion rate optimization and customer retention. How can your website design also enhance these factors?

Lastly, ensure that you have a method of measuring your omnichannel success. This can be done via a competitive analysis, manual data collection or an automated monitoring tool.

3. Link Out To Your Other Channels

To give your customers the best omnichannel experience, you should embed links on your website to your social media content or your app on the app store. This makes it easier and more seamless for consumers to switch through your channels and get more from your business.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is an excellent example of this. Their website includes various social media images with links to their Instagram content and customer posts. This gives consumers visiting their website some enticing visuals and the chance to move from the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises website to their Instagram seamlessly.

Embedded social media content on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' website
Embedded social media content on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' website

Adding social media links to your website often entices consumers to follow you. A follow will only sometimes result in an immediate conversion, but if you continue to use your social media content to reinforce brand values and missions, you may convert them in the future.

Conversely, if you invest a lot of time in your social media platforms, you don’t just want your followers to like your content and scroll on – you want to incite action. Your social media posts should encourage followers to click links to your website and check out your products and services.

4. Design Consistently

Design your website, app and social media platforms to be recognizable and familiar to customers, avoiding any confusion that might disrupt the user experience. Think about defining a look and feel for your brand on one platform and replicating it for all other channels. 

You can create a distinctive look that strongly reminds the audience of your brand by using the same visual style, typography, icons, colors, and layout. For example, if your website’s color theme is light blue and white, make your social media content these colors as well.

However, you should also take advantage of individual channels by tweaking your content marketing strategy accordingly. For example, tutorial videos you post on social media may be much shorter than those embedded on your website.

Amazon is a brilliant example of a top brand with visual consistency across all platforms. Its desktop website is designed perfectly for a larger landscape screen, whilst its mobile app still has the same quality but is designed for a smaller portrait screen. 

In addition, you can put items into your basket on one device, and they will appear in the basket of any device logged into your account, making it seamless for customers to place their orders. Here is a screenshot of my basket on the desktop website and mobile app.

Consistent shopping basket design on different platforms
Consistent shopping basket design on different platforms

5. Design Something Adaptable

As mentioned, sticking with a set visual style is essential for consistency. However, your style needs to adapt to different user preferences, behaviors, technical capabilities or limitations without compromising the accessibility, usability, and readability of your content. 

This includes adapting to dark modes, offline modes (no internet connection), and voice searches, as well as different screen sizes, resolutions, orientations (portrait or landscape), and devices. This will provide the best possible user experience for your customers.

An estimated 300 million people worldwide have color vision deficiency (known commonly as color blindness), which requires color-adjusting tools on websites, apps and social media platforms. Making your design accessible makes it available to more people, which results in higher engagement.

In addition, access to communications technology is a human right, and it’s the responsibility of designers to make sure they’re creating services that fulfill that right for everyone. Many products and services in the EU fall under the European Accessibility Act.

6. Make It Mobile-Friendly

Over half (55%) of website traffic comes from mobile devices. So, designing your website to be mobile-friendly is a top priority if you want to reach a wider audience.

This is particularly important for eCommerce businesses as the app-based and social media shopping trend is still soaring. Consumers now buy products and services through Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and mobile apps.

Global social commerce sales generated $475 billion in 2020 and will generate $3.37 trillion by 2028, growing at an annual pace of 28.4%.

In addition, mobile-friendliness is an excellent ranking symbol on Google, so mobile-friendly websites appear higher in search results, which increases visibility and leads.

Disney’s mobile app and mobile desktop both work and can be intertwined. For example, if you book a Disney holiday from the mobile desktop, your details can be carried over to the trip-planning app, My Disney Experience, where you can plan your entire trip, from where you’ll dine to securing your Fast Pass.

In addition, the mobile app can be used in the park to locate the attractions you want to see, as well as view the estimated wait time for each of them.

My Disney Experience mobile app
My Disney Experience mobile app

7. Coordinate Your Omnichannel Efforts Business-Wide

If you want to streamline your customer’s omnichannel experience, you must first create an omnichannel environment internally to ensure that your business is ready to optimize all purchase touchpoints.

All points of your business must be optimized to see success on your website. This includes your marketing team, sales team and those that deal with customer support. These teams must constantly interact with each other so that each stage of the buying process runs seamlessly. 

Department strategy and your sales meeting agenda should be developed and discussed in tandem to ensure that each touch point is connected to the other. For example, your social media team should speak to website developers and collaborate on calls to action, embedded links and the navigation route a consumer would take from channel to channel online. 

This also goes for your front-end team. If you have a brick-and-mortar store as well as an online website, you must ensure that your front-end team interacts with your customers in the same way as your website, offering the same offers and discounts. You should also ensure that your UX team has access to in-store customer information, as these buying behaviors could also influence how they design the website for maximum conversion potential. 

A great way to start this is to introduce whole-team strategy meetings both in person and remotely, depending on your business. These conversations help all teams align for a smoother omnichannel experience going forward.

8. Omnichannel Personalization

Your website experience should be personalized and adapted to each customer journey. Depending on which touchpoint a customer has interacted with first, they are likely to connect with different types of content, offers and navigation.

For example, if a customer has come to your website from TikTok, they are likely to be part of a demographic that prioritizes visual content and trending social-media-based products. This is in comparison to store-qualified consumers who have navigated from the store to your website. These may be more interested in locally specific products or a range that is well-advertised in your brick-and-mortar location.

One way to ensure that your omnichannel web experience is optimized is to design with cross-channel engagement in mind. Create designs that can be used on multiple platforms, and connect seamlessly at each touchpoint. 

Create content that encourages a call to action on every platform, including your website. However, for each channel, make tweaks. For example, on your website, point consumers in the direction of your TikTok or Instagram page. On social media, point them in the direction of a trending product page for their segmented demographic.

Make sure that you are always social, listening to each platform. The more you know about your consumers’ values and gratifications, the more personalized your web content will be.

9. Focus on Customer Support

Next up, let’s talk about your website’s customer support. Not only do studies suggest that three in four customers will spend more with a brand that offers a good customer support system, but you’ll also improve your retention rate. 

Thanks to today’s technology, providing 24/7 customer support has never been easier. With the help of AI-powered chatbots such as ChatGPT, your customers can ask questions anywhere at any time, and they will be answered in seconds.

This is especially important in an omnichannel strategy, as consumers coming from different touchpoints are likely to have questions about different products, services and deals.

Sephora automated chatbot
Sephora automated chatbot

Take this great example from Sephora. Both their website and their social channel employ chatbots to help answer make-up-related questions. Better still, they even give customers the chance to take their own makeup quiz for a more personalized website experience.

Key Takeaways for Omnichannel Retail

Marketers have learned that using three or more channels in any campaign can earn a 287% higher purchase rate than using a single-channel campaign. In addition, customer purchase frequency is 250% higher on omnichannel than on a single channel.

The question is, where will omnichannel optimization go next?

As we see a rise in video commerce, with 36.1% of UK adults under 35 making a purchase on TikTok in 2023, you must adapt your website to embrace this by adding more videos, linking to relevant TikTok videos, and linking to your products on the TikTok Shop.

As TikTok and Instagram Reels continue to dominate the online shopping sphere, these touchpoints will play a crucial role in influencing your website design. Ensure that you are on top of cross-channel trends and ever-changing demographic behaviors for a chance to provide the most engaging customer experience in 2024.

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Edgar Abong

Edgar is a skilled software developer with a passion for building and evaluating software products. His expertise in software development enables him to provide in-depth evaluations of software products. He can draw out insights about features, functionality and user experience.

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