Did you know nearly 90% of consumers regularly hop between a brand’s channels while they’re shopping? They might end up making an online purchase even when they’re standing in line at the brick-and-mortar location or use their smartphone as a personal shopping assistant while they’re at the store. As a result, businesses must offer consumers a consistent customer experience from touchpoint to touchpoint. That’s where omnichannel marketing strategies come in.
Omnichannel marketing recognizes the importance of meeting customers where they are and uses this information to enhance the customer journey through increased flexibility. The strategy attempts to transmit a consistent message across channels/devices and allows customers to use multiple touchpoints within a single purchase. At Anthem Software, we can provide guidance on how to successfully implement omnichannel marketing in your own business, creating unique experiences for your customers and maximizing your ROI.
What Are the Benefits of Using Omnichannel Marketing?
Most brands today, large and small, will agree that an omnichannel approach yields the best results. Although it takes time and effort to establish and implement a successful omnichannel experience, doing so provides a host of benefits. Consumers today are bombarded with marketing messages from all sorts of brands, and, as a result, they’re becoming increasingly selective of the brands they choose to engage with. Offering a seamless omnichannel experience can serve as a unique differentiator.
Omnichannel marketing can drive sales, enhance retention rates, and provide a more cohesive brand identity. When consumer experience is at the heart of your marketing, customers are more likely to make a repeat purchase. Although repeat customers may constitute a smaller portion of your consumer base, they contribute on average 40 percent of a company’s revenue. Additionally, having data analytics on each channel allows you to build more targeted campaigns and optimize media spend.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
So, what is omnichannel marketing? Have you ever spoken with a customer representative through Facebook for product information, then went to the company’s website to purchase the product? If so, you’ve reaped the benefits of successful omnichannel marketing, which seeks to provide a smooth customer service experience. Omnichannel marketing focuses on seamlessly integrating different communication channels that businesses use to communicate with their customers.
Omnichannel marketing focuses on seamlessly integrating different communication channels that businesses use to communicate with their customers. With successful omnichannel marketing, customers can research, buy, and get support for products across various touchpoints without barriers. In this way, omnichannel marketing breaks down barriers between in-store, social media, mobile, email, web, phone, and live chat shopping experiences.
What’s the Difference Between Omnichannel Marketing and Multichannel Marketing?
Traditionally, many marketers have promoted their businesses using a multichannel marketing approach. However, thanks in part to the explosion of social media and technology applications that have created more channels for consumers to use than ever, many businesses are moving from multichannel marketing to omnichannel marketing. Omnichannel marketing removes the silos present in a multichannel marketing approach, integrating these multiple channels to create a seamless customer experience from end to end.
Multichannel marketing focuses on maximizing the performance of specific channels, each having its own goals, budget, and organization in isolation. Omnichannel marketing recognizes that consumers often hop between channels (e.g., retail stores, computers, smartphones, tablets, in-store kiosks, and social media sites) within a given transaction. In omnichannel marketing, customers can use these various channels and devices at each stage of their purchase journey.
How Does Omnichannel Marketing Work?
With omnichannel marketing, once a customer engages with a brand by clicking an ad or visiting their website, each social channel becomes a tool to continue communicating the brand’s message. Each platform is now updating based on the customer’s last experience with your brand, and each touchpoint is creating a unified experience. In providing customers with different ways to engage with your brand, you’re making it extremely convenient for them to talk with you. Here’s an example.
A customer visits your website after seeing an Instagram ad. They add a product to their cart but do not purchase it right away and leave the site. The abandoned cart ads on their social feeds remind them to check out, possibly followed by discount incentives. Retargeting ads continue to provide informative content that reinforces their interest. Once they have purchased, you can get feedback, reviews, and even referrals. Post-purchase follow-up can then turn them into repeat buyers.
What Are Some of These Channels?
Facebook and Instagram are great for priming your audience via strategic content (engagement, conversion, retargeting ads). Placing your products on Amazon promotes convenience, trust, and speed. Email is ideal for follow-ups, promotions, and customer service inquiries. Text marketing enables more retargeting capabilities, like abandoned cart reminders and order status updates. Messenger lets you communicate with customers outside of operating hours. YouTube allows you to retarget website visitors and individuals who have looked up keywords relative to your product.
It’s important to remember that consumers can be highly informed and even skeptical with search engines readily available and diverse platforms at their disposal. Your business should provide answers and solutions on the channels your customers use and trust most. Blogs and podcasts are other great platforms to get genuine messages across.
How to Leverage Omnichannel Marketing in Your Business
As discussed, omnichannel marketing focuses on the customer experience rather than the channels themselves. Implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy in your business requires you to consider how your customers interact with your brand. Data collection and analysis are essential first steps. You should have an understanding of when your target audience is most likely to engage with you and on what devices, what type of messaging resonates best with them, and what products and features they’re looking for.
The next step is to create a customer journey map for each audience segment, evaluating the steps between the customer discovering your brand and making a purchase. Once you understand the consumer side, you should then examine your business itself, establishing clear guidelines for cohesive messaging that’ll be adhered to across each channel. The last step is testing and optimization, considering budget, target audience, various KPIs, and media mix.
Common Mistakes in Omnichannel Marketing (and How to Avoid Them)
Even with the finest marketing tools and plans, many business owners face challenges in implementing a seamless omnichannel experience. However, you can avoid some common mistakes. For instance, ineffective strategy, whether in implementation or content, can leave the consumer experience feeling disjointed. You should take a data-driven approach and place the customer at the center. Additionally, you should understand your customer profile, know how they shop, and create relevant content for each buyer and channel.
Measuring and making use of data is another area for pitfalls. First, measuring the success of touchpoints in isolation won’t give you a holistic image of how you’re performing; you must consider them part of a whole system. You should also measure your KPIs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Additionally, you must know how to take action based on the data you receive.
Omnichannel Marketing Strategies and Best Practices
Knowing what to avoid, here are some other tips to keep in mind during and after executing an omnichannel campaign:
- Know your buyers and understand their journey
- Utilize the channels your customers use most frequently to interact with you
- Select marketing automation tools that best fit what you need them to do
- Only send messages relevant to the user at a time that’s convenient for them
- Continuously assess your effectiveness and make adjustments accordingly
Examples of Successful Omnichannel Marketing
The Starbucks rewards app is an excellent example of omnichannel marketing at its finest. First, you get a free rewards card to use when making purchases. Starbucks customers can then check and reload their card via phone, website, on the app, or in-store. Additionally, you can use the app to pay and receive reward points that can be applied to a free coffee. Ordering in advance also allows you to skip the morning line.
Walgreens is another great example, with their mobile app serving as their primary tool for brand communication. Customers can use the Walgreens app to check and refill prescriptions, then pick them up in the store. The app also displays in-store inventory, letting customers know which location they should visit.
Implementing effective omnichannel marketing strategies isn’t easy, but today’s small businesses must stay ahead of the competition. Multiple advantages have been associated with adopting the omnichannel marketing approach, including increased sales levels, improved perceived brand image, willingness to pay higher prices, increased brand loyalty (demonstrated through repeat shopping trips), and positive word-of-mouth marketing. Cross-channel integration also promotes improved trust, higher customer conversion rates, and greater opportunities in cross-selling.
The more technology advances, the more it becomes integrated into our daily lives. As consumer behavior changes, businesses will need to move from thinking about the desktop experience, the mobile experience, and the tablet experience to pursue one integrated, holistic approach.