Omnichannel marketing is like a buzzword nowadays. It refers to the multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience. The customer can be shopping online either from a desktop or mobile device, via phone, or in a brick-and-mortar store, and the experience will be seamless.
For small and large business organizations, the challenge now becomes how to create an omnichannel marketing strategy across multiple channels to meet the customer demand and capitalize on the opportunity.
No wonder that online shopping is getting so popular.
According to emarketer, 39% of the millennial in the US alone have confirmed that they browse and buy only from online shops. The trend is likely to be the same across the world.
From an ‘super shop’ like Amazon to dedicated portals for grocery, fashion, etc., the eCommerce industry is becoming very stronger with new players joining the game by every passing year.
According to the prediction of eMarketer, the overall eCommerce sales to increase to $4.058 trillion in 2020 and will form 14.6% of the total retail spending for that year.
According to the report by Google and Singapore-based Temasek, the eCommerce market in Southeast Asia is forecast to be worth at least US$102 billion by 2025.
However, before you start focusing on the strengthening of your online channels, remember that a lot of your target customers still browse, shop or do both offline in a nearby brick and mortar shop. For example, the study by CouponFollow reveals that while the US millennial shop online, a lot of them still browse in physical store before purchasing online.
What is Omnichannel Marketing Strategy?
Omnichannel marketing is when you create a full unified and seamless brand experience, no matter what channel your customer uses to connect with your store.
Today, to feel comfortable enough to make a purchase, a customer needs some touch-points with a brand on average. Which means each and every time your customer connects with your brand, they move a little further towards purchasing.
Omnichannel marketing strategy ensures that each of those touch-points provides the same experience with the brand.
For example, an omnichannel brand would provide the same look, feel and experience for a customer that started a support ticket on their store, and then contacted via any social media.
Isn’t it same as multi-channel marketing?
You might be thinking that it sounds just like multichannel marketing! While the two are similar in name, the approaches are quite different.
Multichannel marketing focuses on putting the brand at the center of the marketing strategy and then reaching out to several channels to present to the customers. So for example, an eCommerce store would have marketing operations going on simultaneously across their online store, email channels, social networks, and display advertising.
In omnichannel marketing, the focus is totally different. Omnichannel marketing strategies put the customer at the center of marketing operations, and focuses on creating the same experience across different channels.
That might seem conceptual, but consider this: in an omnichannel marketing strategy, each channel collects customer data based on the channel used, the customer, and the characteristics about the touch-point itself.
Let’s create and see a practical example with a customer journey touch-point map:
- Customer finds your site through organic search and begins browsing blue shirts. Their email is captured with an exit intent pop up offering 20% off. Finally, the customer leaves.
- Then, the customer opens the welcome email with the 20% off coupon and clicks through, looking at red shirts again. He leaves without purchasing.
- The customer gets an email again a few days later with a variety of blue shirt recommendations. He doesn’t click through.
- Just a day later the customer gets a re-targeted ad on Facebook with the blue shirt that interested them the most. He goes to the brand’s Facebook page and asks about shipping costs via Facebook messenger.
- When the customer clicks through an email campaign from the brand and abandons the cart with blue shirts in it.
- The customer triggers an automated email series and is offered a free shipping with their first order.
- The customer comes back and finishes their purchase, triggering a new set of up-selling sequences and automation.
The key point in this practical example is the customer’s behavior and preference influence how their experience changes across channels. It’s clear that they like blue shirts, so that’s what they’re shown. They are interested in free shipping, so that’s how the retailer gripped the sale. As they’ve purchased, they’ve entered into a new segment of customers who have made a recent purchase, and the offers they see will change.
This means that omnichannel marketing creates a unique experience based on each separate customer, and that your channels work together by updating customer information based on the preferences and behavior.
Is Omnichannel Marketing Better Than Multichannel Marketing?
Any strategy that gives priority to your customer is a great strategy- and omnichannel marketing is no different.
By focusing on the customer, you’re centering your entire strategy around your customer.
And when you give the priority to the customer first, they take notice: customers who have an omnichannel experience spend 10% more online than those who only use one channel, study reported that.
Customers today are expecting an omnichannel marketing experience, even if most of them don’t actually know that’s what they’re looking for. What’s more, they’re most likely to stick with a brand when they find it. According to a study, companies that have a strong omnichannel strategy have a customer retention rate of around 90%.
By creating an omnichannel marketing strategy, you’re giving your customer what actually they want. When you do that, not only they spend time more with your brand, but also they become more and more loyal.
Omnichannel Marketing Strategies
Each of these strategies are important to consider when implementing an omnichannel marketing approach. Across these points, you will notice a common thread of using data to ensure a really customer-centric focus.
Keep Your Customers First and Center
The initial strategy is customers come first. The focus remains the same: delivering what your customers want and making sure that they are happy throughout the whole process.
The difference today, is that expectations are on the rise. In the older days, making customers happy simply meant that you provided a quality product that what it promised. As the modern-day supply chain developed, that expectation grew to include not only a quality product, but also when and where it was available to purchase and service.
E-commerce technology and sophisticated logistics then down up the expectations again to include finding unknown products and next-day or even same-day delivery.
Today, customers still want all those things, but they also want to be known and understood. They want a personal relationship with those companies they do business with. They expect businesses to anticipate what they require, offer the discounts they want, and not bother them too much.
Audit Existing Marketing Strategy
Before you assemble your team and start developing a new omnichannel marketing strategy, it’s vital to audit your existing marketing strategy to know what really worked and what failed. While data will give you an insight on things that worked well and the ones that have not, observing how everyone in your organization interact with the customer at different stages will help you to build a better marketing strategy.
Sometimes the most valuable insights can be found in the reviews and ratings that your customer leaves on social media or your store. So, monitor all your channels and think of ways to improve your existing marketing strategy. Think like a customer when you work on the omnichannel marketing strategy.
For example, complete a transaction right from building your online store to completing the checkout process to know where the experience falls short. Does it take too long for the customer to checkout, or are you unable to find your products added to the cart when you refresh the web page? A small fix in the whole process can also improve your strategy. So, spend time for analyzing your existing strategy.
Analyze How Customers Interact With Your Brand
The foundation of an omnichannel marketing strategy is to know your customer well. It is not limited to just identifying the age, gender, and geography of the customer. You have to pay close attention to how your customer behaves online and how they are making a purchasing decision.
Analyze how they interact with your brand and what channels do they use to connect with your shop. By knowing your customer well, you will be able to personalize their purchase journey in a better way.
Segment Audience Smartly
Once you know your customer well, segmenting them becomes easy for you. Segmentation is vital because it helps you to personalize the purchase journey and the communication for your buyer. You can use an array of criteria to segment your audience such as their likes, preferences, online consumer behavior, etc.
The more well-defined your audience segmentation, the more effective will be your omnichannel marketing strategy. With appropriate segmentation, you will be able to plan different campaigns for different customers and personalize the content for each of them.
Personalize the Content Library for Each Channel
90% of the visitors switch between different devices to accomplish a goal, and according to a report from App Annie an average smartphone user uses at least nine apps per day. If you want to drive traffic to your app, you have to target all your marketing channels.
There are different ways to target them – from sending SMSs and emails, to sending push notifications. However, before you target all the channels, spend some time to craft a personalized message for every channel. For example, a push notification message cannot be long as an email copy. It has to be brief and drive the message in as fewer words as possible.
Retarget Your Customer
A customer might not buy from you at the first time. By showing them relevant ads on different platforms such as social media website, you will be able to create a top-of-the-mind recall, which could increase the chances of conversion.
For example, Watchfinder, a luxury pre-owned watch retailer, used re-marketing to reconnect with store visitors. With a highly focused list of visitors showing buying intent, Watchfinder was able to encourage the site visitors to complete a purchase and improve the footfall in their online store. Re-targeting policy helped them to improve their ROI by 1,300%.
Leverage Upon the Benefits of Automation Tools
While you plan your strategy and communication, remember to leverage upon the benefits of your automation tool offers to optimize your marketing strategy. A marketing automation tool help you segment your audience smartly, personalize the messages, schedule your campaign and measure its effectiveness easily.
Be Authentic and Transparent
Delivering an excellent customer experience means understanding your target customer’s expectations, communicating with them honestly, and admitting your mistakes.
Lay out the communication channels clearly. Your customers should have multiple ways to contact with your business, and if there are set service hours, they should be spelled out, including time zones.
Although automated responses have their place in a marketing strategy, establish as many in-person interactions as possible. Remember that your customers want personalized attention and you want to build a long-term relationship.
Test, Measure, & Repeat
While planning an omnichannel marketing strategy, always do an A/B test and measure the outcome to know what’s working and what’s not. Based on the results, you can alter everything like message, images, the schedule, and even the segmentation. Remember to make it a best practice to remain at the top of your marketing strategy.
When things don’t go right, apologize and do your best to make up for the relevant error. Offer a refund if the product didn’t meet the expectations. Notify customers regarding unavailable inventory. Apologize if your system goes down and offer a special discount for customer patience. All these efforts will generate customer loyalty and return revenue in the long run.
At the end of the day, if your company produces a high-quality product and stands behind its service, you’ll get the success. However, if you can communicate what you have to offer to your customers consistently across the multiple channels, deliver the information when and where they want it, and anticipate their requirements on an on-going basis, you’ll do better. You’ll have a company with a dedicated customer following, positioned for ongoing growth and success.
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