The more technology advances, the more the line between our virtual life and real-life blurs. It is constantly getting more integrated and essential in our day-to-day lives.
With 73% of consumers using multiple channels in their shopping journey, it's time to stop thinking of a desktop experience, a mobile experience, and a SmartWatch experience but pursue a holistic approach.
That's where omnichannel marketing comes in.
Omnichannel also spelled as Omni-channel is a fully integrated approach across both offline and online, unifying everything, from merchandising to fulfillment, marketing, and marketplaces. It boosts revenue by 15 to 35%, increases customer retention, and reduces customer contact costs.
UC Today shows that 9 out of 10 consumers want this seamless omnichannel experience that adjusts based on their journey and is consistent between communication methods. And although this strategy isn't that simple, it is definitely worth your time and effort.
Omnichannel marketing is all about the combined experiences. You run different campaigns across different channels, but they have the same message. In the omnichannel approach, you are everywhere your customers go.
It's not just about providing your customers with multiple ways to buy from you but retaining your consistency, whatever platform they use when interacting with you. Whether they look into your website, your Facebook Page, call you on the phone, or even walk straight right into your shop —they get the same exact seamless experience every time they engage with you, this is the ultimate definition of omnichannel marketing.
If you are wondering what is omnichannel retailing, it refers to removing the boundaries between different sales and marketing channels. This includes marketplaces, social channels, and even brick-and-mortars, allowing customers to purchase wherever they want with a unified customer experience.
Omnichannel customer service is the various interactions between customers or prospective customers and the product provider to facilitate seamless communication. Most eCommerce businesses support multi-channel customer engagement like phone, email, and web. This can be challenging, but it has to be well-integrated to avoid frustrating customers.
At its core, the omnichannel is a multi-channel sales approach that provides customers with an integrated customer experience. But when it comes down to the depth of the integration, it is important to distinguish the difference.
A multi-channel approach provides users with a variety of communication options that aren't necessarily synchronized or connected. But an omnichannel experience connects these multiple channels, so users can move between them seamlessly.
So, omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omnichannel. Whereas on the other hand there are integrated marketing experiences that only focus on digital mediums.
Enabling multiple channels to cast the widest net and get the most customer engagements isn't bad, but connecting these channels together should be the goal.
A successful omnichannel experience can help your business realize the following benefits:
Omnichannel marketing strategy highlights the consistency across channels to ensure your customers see your brand in the same way across platforms and devices. This consistency strengthens your brand recall which encourages purchase across your customer base.
Providing consistent brand messaging and experience across all platforms allows you to fully understand your customer journey. Only by doing so can brands create a personalized experience essential for increasing the lifetime value of customers by 30%.
Strengthening brand recall improves customer loyalty and promotes repeat purchases: the more customers, the more revenue.
Today, your customers not only want quality products, but they expect fast product search, easy price comparison, personal recommendations, and reviews about them as well. For that reason, offering personalized experiences to shoppers is no longer a nice-to-have but a critical must-have. 74% of online consumers are frustrated with content on sites with nothing to do with their interests, and a frustrated shopper doesn't buy.
Here's what to consider in omnichannel personalization:
Much like how proper website optimization requires a cohesive data set about your customers, so does experience optimization. Information like on-site real-time behavior, online and offline conversion history, cross-device activity, and any piece of data acquired about a visitor is vital for maintaining consistent and relevant experiences across channels.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) can embed personalization into apps, interactive screens, point-of-sale, and call centers. They offer full visibility into the customer's data profile and all relevant aspects of his online behavior simplifying linking between the various channels. Businesses can show customers products with specific characteristics that they most likely want to buy. At the same time, they can hide products they're less likely to be interested in.
Watch out from the pressure to be everywhere, as this can often have adverse effects. Instead, look for strategic opportunities from within your data for informed decision-making.
As chatbot interactions are forecasted to generate $112 billion in retail sales, Twine & Tea have used this excellent tool to keep their site visitors engaged and recommend personalized products within chatbots while waiting to connect with a support representative.
Another example from a home decor retailer, they used a guided quiz to better segment their visitors and offer better-personalized experiences.
As you can tell, there is no one path to purchase anymore; the more opportunities you have to engage and influence your consumers, the better personalization you can provide. Of course, this needs some work upfront to make sure the data and strategies are in place to succeed with every new outlet.
Omnichannel marketing uses both digital and traditional marketing channels to deliver a seamless and consistent user experience regardless of the point of engagement. Depending on the journey of each customer, the experience adjusts accordingly to provide a relevant experience.
A strong understanding of where the customers engage helps in how to collect unified customer data and design communication channels to work in concert with one another.
A major difference between omnichannel and multi-channel marketing is the fact that omnichannel is customer-first focused. It evaluates every touchpoint in the consumer journey to facilitate a consistent and engaging user experience.
There is no place for assumptions; a winning omnichannel strategy relies on data and insights about the customer's interests, behavior, wants, needs, demographics, preferences, and goals. Leverage all possible tools to gather data, ask them questions, make them leave feedback, analyze and identify patterns in buyer preferences. All of this will help you understand who your customers are, making it exceedingly easier to deliver appropriate marketing.
By now, you've identified your customers, and you have a cohesive data set about them, its time to choose the tools and solutions you'll be using to connect with them. This step can be confusing, especially with all the software available, but remember to choose based on where your customers are and what they are doing. Some basic solutions to start with can be:
Divide your users based on the most important data points and characteristics to your business goals so you can tackle marketing and re-marketing efforts efficiently. These segments can be based on buyer personas, customer journey, subscription status, etc.
Personalization and 1:1 connection with each user are the core of omnichannel marketing. With the right data points, and tools you can deliver individualized content to recipients to drive revenue, increase loyalty and provide a seamless, consistent experience.
Capturing accurate metrics will help you derive actionable insights to revise your strategy and enhance your omnichannel approach.
Businesses that display stock in their physical locations online can lead to items being sold out in-store while being sold online, which cannibalizes their online transactions. A quick fix to this problem is by reducing the availability of their best-selling items in their online stores.
Sometimes businesses aren't tech-wise equipped yet. At this stage, deciding to implement an omnichannel strategy will provide unsmooth operations.
Depending on the industry, business size, goals, and needs, teaming up with the right partners to provide the best logistics, shipping, and eCommerce services is crucial to omnichannel success.
With "My Disney Experience," there is no more queuing. Visitors can access hotel rooms, transfer shuttles, attractions, and the Disney world only by showing the MagicBand bracelet connected to their credit cards.
Amazon customers can place orders vocally and receive them even within an hour. Thanks to the WI-FI Amazon Dash buttons, users can order their products with a click, no matter which device they access.
They launched an interactive online store with a virtual shopping assistant using technologies like augmented reality to help users decorate, furnish their houses, and buy the products directly.
A U.K. fashion retailer that's combining its eCommerce site, mobile app, and physical stores into a simple, seamless shopping experience.
When customers walk into one of its stores, they'll find sales associates carrying iPads to provide them with on-the-spot, accurate, and up-to-date product information. If something is out of stock, the staff can instantly place an online order to have the item shipped directly to the customer.
Omnichannel is the connection of the multi-channels for a fully integrated shopping experience across all platforms. So there can be no omnichannel without multi-channel, but not all multi-channel is omnichannel.
It is creating a seamless user experience over different channels while maintaining accuracy and efficiency, for example:
A customer sees a pair of blue glasses online, clicks on the link. On the same day, the customer sees an ad on Facebook explaining the importance of blue-light-blocking glasses to protect the eyes from harmful UV rays. After a few hours, the user will be shown an account on IG focusing on better sleep, screen time, and effects of blue light, featuring the blue glasses.
The customer sees an ad of the blue glasses on Youtube and perhaps a Facebook post from a blogger the user regularly follows.
The promotion focuses on the rest of the glasses offered by the brand, not just the blue glasses while the customer is browsing online.
A Facebook post reveals the local stores where the user can find the blue glasses to buy and offering an in-store fitting experience and discount.
The customer goes to the store and buys the blue glasses.
The omnichannel strategy combines and shares user data and insights across all channels to create an ongoing and seamless customer experience.
Whatever your business, it is unthinkable not to adopt omnichannel marketing strategies. Technology has come a long way over the past decade, making it possible and accessible for brands of all sizes. Providing valued customers with a unified experience improves loyalty, increases sales, and helps you achieve greater brand awareness. It is time to make the shift and focus your efforts to increase customer retention and, in turn, revenue.