Mobile, social and the Internet of Things are transforming the trajectory of the customer journey.

The straight shot from discovery to checkout no longer exists. Instead, it has been replaced by a zigzagging, interwoven path of touchpoints, screens and interactions. 

90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal (Mobify), with consumers using an average of three different screen combinations each day (HubSpot).

Modern businesses are facing the challenge of creating cohesive, relevant user experiences that connect the dots between the growing gamut of channels and devices.

Here are three ways that your business can more effectively navigate this multichannel landscape and serve up meaningful user experiences that support evolving customer expectations.

Step away from the cookies

Third-party tactics were great 20 years ago when ‘nobody on the internet knew you were a dog.’ Cookies helped marketers play a more educated guessing game by filling in data gaps with information around consumers’ on-device behaviors.

Does this sound like a good strategy for reaching consumers that interact directly with your brand on a daily basis via multiple touchpoints?

Today’s digital landscape calls for a deeper understanding of who your customers are and the interests, lifestyles and characteristics driving their behaviors. This requires a single view of consumer identity across devices – which is something that 3rd-party cookies simply cannot give you.

Smart brands are placing increasing emphasis on collecting and analyzing their own permission-based, first-party login data to gain a more current and accurate view of their customers.

Login data ties all consumer activity back to a single user profile across touchpoints, giving brands the ability to bridge channels and devices with more cohesive, relevant experiences.

Think mobile first

By 2015, global smartphone users will reach 2bn (Bloomberg), and local mobile searches are expected to exceed desktop searches. Although it is often referred to as ‘the second screen,’ mobile is, by and large, becoming the first screen.

“My website is already responsive,” you might say. And that’s a great start. But to stay afloat in the future of omni-channel marketing, nothing about your mobile strategy should be “responsive” – it should be innovative.

Leading brands are making mobile a unique, stand-alone piece of an integrated, cross-channel customer journey, rather than a mere reflection of the desktop experience. Take, for example, New Belgium Brewing Company and its Beer Mode mobile app. 

New Belgium has created a gamified user experience that rewards users points for taking valuable on-site actions like viewing new beer pages.

New Belgium amplifies this experience on mobile by awarding points for entering ‘Beer Mode,’ which allows users to choose from a list of personas that will post on Facebook and Twitter on their behalf, making them look busy while they are enjoying their beers.

Embrace the Internet of Things

Let’s not forget that today’s diverging landscape of connected devices does not stop at smartphones and tablets – it is quickly expanding to televisions, toothbrushes and more via the Internet of Things. 

To put it in perspective, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2020, there will be 26bn connected devices on the global network. In turn, Cisco estimates that the Internet of Things will equate to a $14 trillion revenue opportunity. 

The real value here isn’t in your TV’s ability to connect to the Internet. It’s the possibility of each of your devices connecting to each other by recognizing your unique identity, and effectively communicating to provide you with a totally personalized lifestyle. 

Embracing the Internet of Things means making sure that permission-based consumer identity is at the core of each of your products and services, as well as keeping your eyes peeled for ways to add value to the customer experience by connecting with other devices. 

Sleep Number is a great example of a brand that has taken something ordinary – sleeping – and turned it into a connected, personalized experience. SleepIQ technology not only measures your sleeping patterns through your mattress, but it also connects to the SleepIQ mobile app.

The app tracks factors that may affect your sleep, like diet, caffeine intake or having a sick child, and recommends mattress settings to help improve your sleep quality.

In the midst of the dynamic multichannel landscape, one thing is for certain: the sooner your brand figures out how to connect the dots between today’s channels and devices in unified and meaningful ways, the brighter the future looks for your business.