You’re looking to buy a new outfit. Maybe it’s because you have a party coming up, or you’ve suddenly realized you have worn the same shirt three days in a row. Whatever the reason, it’s time for something new. Now ask yourself, how do you choose what you’ll buy? Will you browse online before heading to the store? Will you check out a catalogue and then order from the company website?
The fact is, there’s no one way that people interact with a brand. People visit company websites, social media pages or the stores themselves. There are so many different options it’s hard to predict the patterns of consumers. With so many different devices and channels, marketers struggle to provide a seamless experience. In order to improve their marketing strategies and execution, they need to understand the journey consumers take when making decisions. That way, they can go about creating an multi-channeled approach that is consistent and complementary. This is called omni-channel marketing, the idea of creating a seamless marketing experience across multiple channels.
Omni-channel marketing is a perfect example of how big data can help marketers. This data can provide deep insights into customer behavior, which allows marketers to improve their overall omni-channel strategy. They can learn if catalogues lead to in-store sales or if social media engagement predicts online purchases. Even further, they can learn which features people prefer, and use that information to optimize their channels.
Here are five recommendations for marketers looking to improve their omni-channel marketing efforts:
Walk in Your Customer’s Shoes
Smart companies understand the user experience from start to finish. They regularly review this experience from a customer’s point of view. These companies have researched how consumers look for products, investigate companies, make purchases, and share their reviews and recommendations. As marketers learn which devices or sites are preferred for each step of the experience, they can optimize accordingly. For example, if most people purchase from the company’s website, marketers should simplify its checkout process. On the other hand, if people are researching their products on a social media page, they’d be wise to ensure their content is current and that they’re monitoring and responding accordingly.
This is where big data analytics can really help improve a company’s omni-channel marketing strategy. Technology has brought us to a point where we can measure customer behavior over time and recognize the strength and success of different campaigns and individual tactics. We can learn from shopping habits and what works best online and in-store. There’s a wealth of information available to marketers and they should be tracking everything that’ll further their cause. In addition, businesses would be smart to invest in the right software to handle and process all of this information. Big data services like Oozie help co-ordinate and execute tasks stored in big data frameworks like Hadoop.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Marketing and Sales
The benefits of improving marketing and sales efforts are the most obvious, but there are a number of other functions that could benefit from the results of listening and observing consumer behavior. Product teams, research and development, merchandising and customer service could all be improved in the process.
Respond on Prefered Channels
As mentioned earlier, people may use different devices and channels for different purposes. For example, a person may browse on their tablet, and select items they like, but then only make the purchase on their laptop. Companies need to make sure if they have a checkout menu or shopping cart, that it translates to all devices. That way if someone adds items to a cart on their phone, they’re still there when they log into their computer. Companies could even email customers if they’ve left items sitting in their shopping cart, and incentivize them with discounts or other promotions.
It may be cliché, but the sooner a company acts, the better. Those who make best use of this information and optimize their omni-channel marketing strategy will reap the rewards. Poor execution will deter customers who are looking for an easy experience. They won’t hesitate to go somewhere else if the process is too complicated. The easier, and more tailored, marketers can make it, the more likely people are to respond positively.