In a world where smartphones are ubiquitous and 76% of adults living in advanced economies have a world of information at their fingertips, it should be no surprise that the future of marketing lies in tapping into the customer’s online experience.
Ecommerce multichannel marketing—consistent brand presence across multiple online and offline channels—is an essential tool for modern businesses. However, many businesses are not using it to its full potential.
When most shoppers use multiple channels to browse products, the companies without cohesive multichannel marketing are alienating a significant part of their customer base.
Despite acknowledging the importance of multichannel marketing, a surprising number of ecommerce businesses also acknowledge that their marketing is ineffective. Only 11% of brands in the CMO Council’s 2019 study felt that their multichannel marketing was effective.
Businesses with successful multichannel marketing understand that the model relies on a deep understanding of the customer’s habits—their reliance on their mobile devices, their immersion in online channels, and their attraction to personalized customer service. These nine tips are easy to put to work and can immediately improve online sales.
1. Use a digital operations platform
The easiest way to optimize your multichannel marketing is to use a digital operations management platform. A Digital operations platform can implement all of these tips in one go, by centralizing business data and creating a marketing plan that is unique to your brand.
Digital operations platforms (DOPs) vary from vendor to vendor, but they all allow the customer to synchronize marketing across multiple channels.
A huge part of this is the ease of data collection and collation offered by DOPs—the platforms allow for a holistic business approach where data is shared across channels. With accurate data analysis an effective DOP can positively influence production, supply chains, customer expectations, pricing models, automation, and AI.
For brands that are just starting out, a DOP might feel like a big commitment. In that case, these tips can help achieve some of the same effects.
2. Identify your target audience
A multichannel shopping experience is an essential part of the modern customer’s shopping journey. But who is the modern customer?
In order to effectively market to the ‘modern customer’ you first have to identify your target audience. You are not marketing your product to everyone on the internet, and some channels will be much more effective for your brand than others.
The modern customer is connected, flexible, and fickle. They have an average of 5.54 social media accounts, and 85% browse at least two channels while shopping. Fortunately, brands can collect data from their existing customers and form a picture of the customer’s persona.
The brand can then tailor advertisements to match the customer’s expectations, age, demographic, and leisure time. Brands that prioritize customer service are more profitable than companies that don’t.
3. Identify your target channels
It’s no use identifying your target audience if you then market your product on channels that they don’t use. Part of identifying your audience is identifying which channels they use, but also which channels they consider more trustworthy.
If you’re marketing your product to older shoppers, you might focus your campaign around email and Facebook. If your target audience is teenagers, you might use Snapchat – 41% of 18-35 year olds use the app daily – or TikTok.
Similarly, older shoppers are more likely to consider personalized emails as trustworthy sources, whereas younger shoppers might find TikTok stars more relatable.
Increasingly, shoppers are relying on AR to inform their purchases. In an environment where physical stores are becoming less common, AR offers the in-store experience alongside the convenience of online shopping.
4. Be Consistent—for the customer, consistency builds trust
For the customer, immersed in the online experience, it’s easy to lose trust in companies that could be mistaken for scams. When a competitor’s website is just a click away, the customer is unlikely to risk investing time and money in a company whose social media appears slapped-together or sloppy.
Logos, tone, chat services, and content should be consistent across all channels. Services like mobile bots can help ensure this consistency: When the data they collect is compiled and synced by a mobile app, it reduces the scope for human error.
5. Use dynamic remarketing
Dynamic remarketing is the reappearance of your brand on the customer’s devices after they have already left one marketing channel. This might be as simple as a targeted ad appearing on their Facebook after they have left your website, or as complex as a personalized discount code appearing in their inbox for the items they saw on a promoter’s Instagram story.
Often, dynamic remarketing takes the form of banner ads.
Dynamic remarketing includes event-triggered marketing, which can reduce customers’ cart abandonment rates by noting when they leave a website without completing a purchase and then offering incentives to entice the customer to return. These incentives might include discounts or promotions, and might be time-sensitive to encourage the customer to feel like their immediate purchase is the best deal for them.
6. Partner with influencers
This strategy works well alongside both identifying your target audience and using dynamic remarketing. A brand that knows its customers and understands their social media use will be able to identify influencers who can significantly boost product exposure.
Customers who are not specifically looking for your product will do everything they can to avoid your ads. However, if your product appears on the channel of someone they follow, they are more likely to keep watching.
Influencers with established fan bases come with a cohort of potential customers who trust and admire them. Instagram is great for this type of promotion, and is predicted to continue to grow in popularity.
For brands who are just starting out, celebrities might be out of reach. However, micro influencers can often be just as effective. Micro influencers have smaller followings but often offer more personalized interactions with their followers.
For a small sportswear business, a micro influencer might be a personal trainer at the local gym. She wears and promotes the sportswear, and because her clients know and trust her, they also trust her endorsement of the product.
7. Explore user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is content offered to you by your existing customers. If your brand has an app, the most important UGC will be the app rating. More than three-quarters of people read the reviews before downloading an app. Reviews also influence the app’s visibility and placement on the app store.
UGC can be encouraged by giveaways or other incentives for the customer to offer feedback, as well as sponsorships or sponsored reviews in industry publications. It can also be boosted by your partnerships with influencers.
8. Track your campaigns
It may not seem like a flashy marketing trick, but the data you collect from each set of ads can be invaluable when creating the next set.
Make sure you can compare the results of each campaign: If a certain channel is recording less traffic than another, then it might be worth cutting the ads on that channel and increasing the budget for the channels that are getting hits.
Data showing website customer experience allows brands to tailor their search results, navigation paths, seasonal variability, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for maximum campaign efficiency.
Some DOPs can track this data for you—ecommerce platforms like Shopify offer reports, analysis, and business planning advice as part of their plans. A flexible site like a Shopify ecommerce store can be particularly effective when optimizing SEO as it allows brands to edit tags, meta tags, collections, products, and descriptions in the browser.
9. Differentiate your demand-capture campaign from your demand-generation campaign
Tailoring your marketing to the customer is essential, and there is no bigger difference than between the customer who is already interested in your brand and the customer who has never heard of you before.
Your interactions with the latter should encourage them to become return customers, while your interactions with the former should increase their enthusiasm for your brand.
When working to generate demand, your focus should be on piquing the customer’s interest and convincing them that interacting with your brand is incredibly easy.
The process of getting a customer to ‘sign-up’ is called onboarding, and should be a positive experience for the customer. However, the process requires careful management. A 2019 study by the BBC discovered that the Uber Eats onboarding process was too easy, and allowed fake restaurants to sign up to the service.
Is your brand ready for multichannel marketing?
Multichannel marketing results in a significant increase in sales, and successful ecommerce businesses take advantage of this. Tools like DOPs, dynamic remarketing, UGC, and campaign trackers are effective at achieving consistency across channels. Pair these with attention to the customer and personalized advertising, and your ecommerce multichannel marketing will be unstoppable.