Marketing is undergoing rapid and major changes as it moves away from mass, push-based marketing towards more personalized communication with consumers through the many channels and on the many devices they use. When the path to purchase can start or end at any time, in any location, on any device, it’s becoming more necessary for businesses to provide a seamless user experience across them all.
Google research found that 90% of multiple device owners switch between devices an average of three per day to complete a task. Brands that can assist their customers in completing those tasks whenever and wherever they want to will earn their portion of the more than $1.8 trillion that cross-channel sales are predicted to reach. For this reason, more and more companies are guiding their prospective customers through their purchasing journey with an omnichannel strategy.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing emphasizes a shift in the way people progress through the marketing funnel. It refers to the concept of providing a seamless user experience across all channels relevant to the buyer’s journey. What used to be a one or two-stop experience is now a journey that is spread over days, locations, and channels both digital and non-digital.
Consumers can interact with a brand in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, via a catalog, or through a social media platform. Shoppers can access services and products by calling a company on their phone, by using a mobile app, or from their tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. And because a single customer’s purchasing journey could include every piece mentioned, it is important that all avenues in the consumer’s experience are consistent.
An omnichannel approach to marketing requires the brand to view the buyer’s experience through the eyes of the customer. Companies must orchestrate the customer experience across all of their channels so that it is seamless and integrated. Omnichannel marketing anticipates that a customer may start in one channel and move to another as she progresses towards a purchase.
How to Get Started with Omnichannel Marketing
Place an emphasis on context to be best able to offer information in the right place and at the right time. Understand the types of content your target audience is consuming whether it is your downloadable ebooks or another free resource you offer. Know where in the buyer’s journey consumers find those resources most valuable. Ensure your offerings are optimized for whatever device on which they might be consumed. Understand when your audience is most actively engaged with your brand.
Offer prospective customers suggestions based on their browsing history or their location. Determine which products or services you can upsell and cross-sell. Send abandoned cart emails that are accessible on any device.
This deep knowledge of your customer base will help you provide the most valuable omnichannel experience. By understanding who they are and where they are coming from, you can help them overcome their challenges and meet their goals. Use social listening tools and invite customer feedback for even more information on your customers’ experience with your brand.
Redefine and reorganize internal teams to help optimize your omnichannel strategy. Siloed organizational structure is one of the major roadblocks to successful omnichannel implementation. A comprehensive customer engagement team supported by interdepartmental coordination will allow a fuller understanding of marketing efforts and the technological pieces that make them work.
Identify groupings of tools that can work together to improve the many aspects of your omnichannel marketing. Referred to as a marketing technology stack, these tools might include:
Marketing automation platform
Customer relationship management software
Video/web conferencing solution
Email service provider
Print materials and solutions
Analytics and data visualizations solutions
Content management system
A report from the CMO Council shows that an organization’s relationship with data directly impacts how they understand user behavior. Your customer relationship management software in conjunction with your analytics tool provides the foundation for your marketing technology stack. Together, they allow you to record details of each buyer’s journey from prospect to customer and make informed decisions about your overall strategy.
Understand which data points are most useful and segment your target audience accordingly. You can use marketing automation to capture the information that will help you build productive customer profiles. This kind of data can also be translated into customer use cases in order to build buyer personas that will allow you to target your ideal customers most accurately.
Regularly review the experience your customers go through in order to research, purchase, and connect with your products and services. Test the experience by placing orders and interacting with your company via all available channels. Have these tests should be performed by both external and internal testers. This process will help you understand whether any unnecessary barriers exist.
Be active on your target audience’s preferred channels. People are increasingly using multiple devices to complete a single transactional process. Ensure that you can listen and respond to these interactions no matter where they are taking place. For example, an ecommerce brand should preserve items in a cart across multiple devices. In other words, if an item is added to a mobile shopping cart, that item should still be in the shopping cart when the consumer logs into your site from his desktop computer.
So, you may be asking yourself whether or not omnichannel marketing is really worth the effort. According to several studies, the answer to your question is “yes.” According to one study, users who shop across channels have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who do not. The Harvard Business Review shared results of their study of 46,000 shoppers which reinforce that idea. They reported that 73% of consumers not only enjoy using multiple channels but that they also spent 10% more online those who use only one channel. The more channels people use, the more valuable customers they become.
Omnichannel shopping presents a dramatic shift in how we think about retail, but it's a change that comes with a huge opportunity:
Start your journey by understanding the specific traits of your target audience.
Give your customers instant, relevant information no matter where they are or what type of device they're using.
Redefine and reorganize internal teams to help optimize your omnichannel strategy.
Use your customer relationship management software in conjunction with your analytics tool to measure important data points that will guide all of your marketing efforts.
Regularly review the experience your customers go through.
Be active on your target audience’s preferred channels.
Channel hopping is the way of the future. To maintain stronger relationships with your customers, stop thinking of desktop experiences, mobile conversations, and in-person connections as separate entities. Omnichannel experiences are all about providing a seamless experience no matter how many times a customer changes the shopping channels he uses.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing can help you make sure that your brand is ready to bring the different avenues of your marketing campaign together. We’d love to deep dive into your business to better understand how SDM can help you utilize the omnichannel marketing techniques to offer a user experience your customers will love. We’ll listen, ask a lot of questions, and create a marketing plan uniquely tailored to your brand. Contact us today to get started!