What does the latest buzzword omnichannel marketing mean?
Since you started your business how much has marketing changed?
Have you moved from a traditional marketing strategy, such as direct mail, phone calls, print ads and face to face selling to a more digital approach?
As a customer yourself, you can see how much interaction you have with brands every day (even if you’re not fully aware of it). However, in this digital age, how does a company, or brand keep a strategy, design, and experience across multiple channels?
The answer is omnichannel marketing, and this blog is your introduction to what omnichannel marketing is and why you should start taking notice of it.
The biggest thing we hope you take away from this blog series is that the customer experience is the most critical part of your marketing strategy. So chances are if you have had a great customer experience – you were part of a businesses omnichannel marketing strategy.
For a business to survive in 2019, on onwards, it is essential to move and grow with time. Giants like Amazon, who rule the online retail landscape, will quickly and efficiently take over smaller retailer providers if they don’t gain a stronghold in the digital world.
To understand what is meant by omnichannel marketing, we need to understand the term “channel” and what we mean when we say that in the marketing world.
Marketing channels are generally referred to as the medium that we use to pass information from business to customer.
Online channels include social media, and your website – be that e-commerce or otherwise. Offline marketing channels include print ads, mail, and face to face interactions you have with customers. Each one of these channels SHOULD work together in order to achieve a set of objectives important to your business.
The omnichannel marketing approach uses the marketing channels identified by your business as the most relevant to your target audience, both digital and offline, and connects them through an integrated and holistic approach to marketing that allows your brand to nurture your customers and potential customers through their journey towards increased profits and sales for your business.
At a simple level, the omnichannel approach can be summed up with two very important objectives to strive for:
- Make it easy for your customer
- Ensure you have a unified message across all customer-facing marketing channels
The Evolution Of Marketing Strategy To Omnichannel
Given the fact that consumer behaviours have changed due to the evolution of information technology, a business’s approach to marketing strategy must also change. Until now, companies mostly chose to use a multi-channel strategy that enabled them to engage with their consumers across a range of channels, offering the same information to customers on their website, Facebook page, Instagram account and LinkedIn profiles, but with the ability to access it using the channel of their choice. In comparison, omnichannel marketing is much more about how the customer wants to engage with your business, adding a personalised aspect their customer journey. Meaning that regardless of where your customer stops and restarts their journey an omnichannel marketing strategy allows each of your marketing channels to talk to each other and be aware of where your customer currently is and what they need to move forward.
It is not uncommon to see retail shoppers, in 2019, inside stores using their mobile phone to compare products, search reviews and check pricing. The omnichannel strategy allows for an integrated sales experience for your customer, where they can take advantage of the sales and service of physical stores, while still having the ability to access the information-rich experience of online shopping.
82% Of Retail Shoppers Use A Smartphone While Shopping In Stores. They Use It For Price Comparison, Shopping Reviews And Looking Up Product Information. – Think with Google
The “Omnichannel” customer is an evolution of the multichannel consumer, meaning your omnichannel marketing strategy is merely an evolution of your multichannel marketing strategy. Instead of using marketing channels in parallel, adding new and different content to each site without considering the overall picture, it is time to use them all simultaneously in a way that allows your customer to access information about your business, product or service in a way that respects their time and adds value to their research.
Ensuring you have an integrated CRM (client relationship management) system in place will ensure you get a seamless flow of synchronised information across all channels about your customers, which will, in turn, allow you to use this information to enhance your customer experiences at various touchpoints across their customer journey.
Why is Omnichannel Important To Every Business?
Omnichannel is no longer a buzzword, but a defined concept of an integrated sales experience that brings together the advantages of physical stores with the information-rich experience of online shopping. The origins of omnichannel rise from the notion of “click ‘n’ mortar”.
Most customers navigate between numerous channels and touchpoints before making a purchase. By actively assessing the acquired information from several channels they can obtain the best information and/or deal offered by the channel that suits them best in that moment. Customers will use multiple channels to acquire information about the product or service they are searching for, and decide with whom and from where they will make their purchase based on the ease of communication, information acquired, access to contact, frictionless service and customer reviews.
A hundred different customers will most likely have a hundred different paths to purchase, emphasising the need for seamless integration of all channels and a consistent presence throughout each step of the purchasing lifecycle. For this reason, it is inevitable to have a network of channels, to access the customer in that specific moment at the exact place. Customers who shop across various channels are eight times more valuable in comparison to those who shop just in a single channel (Think With Google 2015).
Meeting high consumer expectation leads to satisfaction and retention. This can be achieved by providing the same information in the same style and tone across the channels. Enhanced customer experience also results in increased customer loyalty and greater customer lifetime value. For shoppers, it is important to be able to move transparently between various channels.
A perfect omnichannel strategy can help consumers to shop online and offline ( e.g. research online – purchase in-store OR shop online – pickup in store) and provide them with seamless shopping experience.
Omnichannel strategy can also provide your business with valuable data, as integrated channels are always collecting valuable information and service data about your customers. This data helps you to map your customers’ journey and assist you to identify any inefficient processes. Filtering all of this information into an integrated CRM systems (customer relationship management system, like Salesforce, FreshSales or PipeDrive) allows you to analyse the data and draw insights from it that allows you to optimise marketing strategies as well as business processes that you currently employ.
By improving business practices, higher customer satisfaction is achieved leading to an increase in customer loyalty. Customer loyalty and retention is the best outcome for every business as we know that it is easier (and cheaper) to retain the customers you currently have over gaining new customers.
Top 3 Things To Consider When Implementing An Omnichannel Strategy
Understand Omnichannel Customers
Today’s customers hold the power of information, as information about products and services can be obtained at any time via search engines. Customers are reviewing everything from product and service evaluations to price, to customer feedback and opinions. Social media, as well as review sites, are now a central space for the exchange of information. 88% of US shoppers do online research before their purchase (Think With Google 2011). Today’s customer will also most likely abandon a task if met with any friction. For this reason, it is essential to have a robust online presence and to create a positive customer experience aligned with customers demands while having a holistic approach to your marketing strategy.
The true omnichannel device is a smartphone. It is an essential customer engagement tool. 80% of internet users own a smartphone and use them on a daily basis to support their at work and at home daily life (Think with Google 2015). Plus, mobile searches trigger additional user actions such as contacting your business or visiting your store. For this reason, mobile searches can have a valuable outcome for any business.
Ensure Seamless & Transparent Channel Integration
Today’s customer barely sees a difference between the online and offline shopping environment and is used to move between both simultaneously. Thus, it is vital to understand the customer journey and the best marketing activities and sales pathways to set up for your specific target audience; otherwise, an integrated approach cannot be easily achieved.
Advertising across channels should maintain the consistency of brand image, and the focus should be on customers, not channels. Effective integration across channels is a difficult task, nevertheless seamless & transparent channel integration is associated with increased loyalty, hence is vital. Also, make sure all departments, including sales teams, are in tune with the strategy.
Clarify The Role Of Each Channel And Link The Channels Appropriately
A coordinated multi-channel offering that provides a seamless experience when using all of the retailer’s shopping channels is the goal of multichannel integration. Such must provide a superior customer experience that is consistent and seamless across channels. It is vital to: clearly define objectives of the channel selection and KPIs, and select/ implement tracking and analysis of the selected strategy.
Omnichannel marketing is a complex approach to marketing strategy (that offers amazing outcomes), combining different channels and various business assets together in order to achieve very specific goals for your business. It is important to take time, do the proper research, and employ the right strategies for the right marketing channels. In order to get this marketing strategy correct you first need to audit your marketing activities as if you were a customer. Look at your marketing channels through the eyes of your customer, take the journey they would go on from research to purchase, and then improve each marketing channel and action they take in order to ensure a seamless and frictionless shopping experience. At the end of your audit the goal is to take a holistic and integrated approach to your marketing activity plan in order to ensure you can meet the objectives and goals you have set for your business.
Look out for more on Omnichannel Marketing over the next month. We will be discussing:
- How to plan and create an omnichannel marketing strategy for your business
- The difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing and the impact on your business
- The biggest omnichannel marketing trends for 2019
If you have anything that you would like to know about omnichannel marketing or marketing strategy for your business feel free to leave a comment below or email Nikki Barnett on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts!