Omnichannel marketing addresses the current trend in maximizing brand engagement and unifying the customer shopping experience. Marketing has evolved far beyond traditional channels to become part of a seamless process designed to move customers through the sales funnel no matter how they choose to shop.
To take advantage of changing consumer behaviors, your business should embrace omnichannel marketing. It’s the job of companies to make it as easy as possible for customers to move between channels without interrupting the cohesive feeling of consistently engaging with a strong brand.
Boosting Business with Omnichannel
Developing an omnichannel marketing strategy may seem daunting, but statistics show clear benefits for businesses willing to invest:
- A 2016 Business Insider article reports 47 percent of shoppers engaging with brands across 10 or more channels to make at least one purchase per week compared to those with only 4 channels of engagement.
- RewardStream blogger Rob Goehring cites an infographic reporting omnichannel customers spend 93 percent more than those shopping online only and 208 percent more than in-store shoppers.
- A 2016 Business2Community infographic shows that strong omnichannel marketing can help companies retain 89 percent of their customers versus only 33 percent retained without such a strategy.
The success of omnichannel is based on the ease with which consumers can move from desktop to mobile to in-store shopping without any disruption or loss of cohesiveness.
Making Data Work for You
Big data has become the key source of customer information for the modern business. Every time a customer interacts with your brand in-store, on your website or through social media channels, you capture information about their shopping habits. The increasingly accessible nature of analytical tools and the ability to divide this data into understandable segments allows you to monitor engagement levels and purchasing behaviors and plan appropriate marketing strategies.
Weaknesses in your omnichannel approach become clear when you monitor the complete customer experience. By comparing which channels get the highest level of engagement and drive the most conversions to those with poor performance, you can make adjustments to better reach your target audience. If one particular part of the purchasing funnel has a high abandonment rate, it’s a clear sign improvements are needed to increase purchases.
Picking the Perfect Platforms
Monitoring data reveals the platforms where your ideal customers spend most of their time. When you know where people are already shopping and making social connections, it’s possible to hone your marketing efforts to a targeted set of channels from which your business can gain the most benefit.
Consider how your audience currently interacts with your brand. Do they take time to read longer blog posts, or do they prefer small “nuggets” of information such as those on Instagram or Snapchat? Work to position your brand as an influencer on channels designed to deliver the types of content in which your audience shows the most interest.
Remember your physical location is also a platform in the omnichannel universe. When hosting special events, give customers the opportunity to interact using social media. Take advantage of the growing live video trend with the tools available on Facebook and Instagram, and encourage customers to post related content in their own feeds using a dedicated hashtag.
The Power of Mobile
Both mobile shopping and mobile payments are increasing in popularity, and a greater number of consumers have come to expect companies to cater to the mobile lifestyle. Nowhere is the speed, ease and seamless experience characteristic of omnichannel marketing more important than in the mobile sector. Customers on the go are looking for ways to make purchases as quickly as possible, including the ability to order food or drinks on the way to their favorite restaurants so that the order is ready when they arrive.
Trends such as beacons and electronic price tags are bringing mobile and in-store shopping experiences together. Beacons are small devices utilizing Bluetooth connectivity and detailed customer data to send relevant marketing messages to consumers’ phones while they shop. Electronic price tags installed on shelves or products make use of the same data and light up to draw attention to items consumers are likely to buy. Personalized deals are delivered along with these prompts to maximize sales potential.
The Changing Face of eCommerce
With so many channels intersecting, eCommerce no longer takes place strictly online. New eCommerce development trends include more businesses fulfilling orders from store inventory rather than shipping from warehouses to speed delivery, greater use of “ship to store” options and easy access to account information across platforms and devices. Since consumers sometimes choose to shop online and make their final purchases in stores, monitoring inventory of the most popular items is crucial. Integration of this and other consumer purchasing data from all the channels will allow your business to communicate better with customers and foster increased engagement.
Building a Successful Omnichannel Campaign
To leverage the power of omnichannel marketing, focus on:
- Putting the customer first
- Creating a strong brand image and presence across all channels
- Emphasizing ease of use on all devices
- Making the purchasing process as streamlined as possible online and in-store
- Prioritizing the customer experience
Discuss your strategy with employees in your brick-and-mortar store to ensure customers always receive the service they expect. If necessary, train staff members to use software and devices to collect and retrieve data and tap into the connectivity of the online and in-store experience for each customer.
The ultimate goal of omnichannel marketing is a higher engagement of your customer and more conversions for your business. Data gives you a clear understanding of your target audience, so that you can integrate the buying experience across channels, create a consistent brand image and deliver exactly what each customer wants. A dedicated omnichannel campaign fosters customer loyalty by offering consistency and stellar service, and the businesses most willing to adapt to changing consumer behaviors are those with the greatest chances of success.