Omnichannel marketing might seem like just another buzzword, one that doesn’t mean much more than a regular multichannel strategy. But there’s really so much more to it than the mere use of multiple platforms.
Combined with marketing automation services, an omnichannel strategy could actually be the most efficient way for a company to engage their target audiences and drive sales. But properly shifting a business to this novel marketing scheme requires a solid understanding of what it is, its benefits, and the critical steps for implementation.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is the use of multiple channels to communicate relevant and perfectly-timed messages to your customers. That definition may seem simple enough. But, to make the most out of this strategy, it is critical to get every aspect right.
A truly omnichannel business isn’t just available on multiple channels, but is able to provide seamless experiences between each. No matter where your customers choose to reach out to you, the experience needs to be consistent. Choosing the right channel is also appropriate for brand-initiated communications. Through this strategy, you’ll know which channels are the most effective for each of your customers.
Detailed segmentation allows you to group your audiences into specific categories in order to reach them with personalized messages. In omnichannel businesses, you’re not only able to pinpoint the most effective channels but also what messages will elicit the best responses.
Additionally, every touchpoint in an omnichannel organization will have access to every customer’s communication and purchase history. So, if a customer raises a concern over the phone one day and then visits a physical location on the next, they will receive relevant service based on updated information.
Timing is essential to an effective omnichannel strategy. Reaching customers with the right message and on the right channel is not enough. You’ll need to make sure you craft your communications in the context of where each customer is on their buyer’s journey. In most cases, this can be achieved through marketing automation, which uses software to trigger relevant messages at exactly the right time.
The Value of Omnichannel Marketing
Although omnichannel marketing is beneficial to all types of businesses, it has proven its value in companies engaged in retail and ecommerce. In particular, this strategy is incredibly effective because it:
Addresses Consumer Expectations
Consumers are now mobile and present on a variety of platforms. They expect brands to keep up, and reward those who do with their patronage. That doesn’t just mean making your business available to communicate on the platforms they’re on, but actually providing seamless experiences between each channel.
According to research by UC Today, an omnichannel service is something that 9 out of 10 consumers want out of the brands they support. Additionally, businesses achieve 250% higher customer engagement rates on omnichannel campaigns than those limited to single channels.
Accommodates Current Buying Behaviors
Because consumers are active on a variety of platforms, the entire customer journey can take place across multiple channels. Influence and research typically take place online while 73% of consumers shift between channels to complete purchases. In fact, according to Google, 85% of consumers start their shopping journey on one channel and complete it on another.
Given these significant shifts in customer behaviors, the value of an omnichannel strategy is undeniable. The inability to adapt to these trends will quickly make you irrelevant to today’s savvy consumers.
Boosts Year-on-Year Revenue Growth
Adapting to current consumer behaviors and expectations by shifting to an omnichannel marketing strategy definitely allows you to boost relevance and engagement rates. But, is the impact to your bottom line worth the effort? Absolutely! That’s because omnichannel businesses don’t just achieve higher conversion rates but also higher average customer spending.
According to a study published by the Harvard Business Review, omnichannel customers tend to spend 10% more online and 4% more in-store every single time they shop. Additionally, when they interact with a brand online before shopping, they tend to spend 13% more when they finally complete their purchase.
Increases Customer Retention
Because an omnichannel strategy provides a better experience overall, customers are much more likely to become lifelong patrons. On average, omnichannel businesses are able to retain 90% of their customers. That’s a huge leap from the 34.8% average retention rate that single-channel companies typically achieve.
Considering that customers don’t just spend more on omnichannel brands but also support them for longer, it’s no surprise that every customer provides so much more value. In fact, customers of omnichannel businesses have a lifetime value that’s 30% higher than those of single-channel businesses.
How to Implement an Omnichannel Campaign
Identifying the channels your audience is most active on is a good place to start. But, implementing an omnichannel campaign involves three crucial steps:
1) Overhaul Your Business
Restructuring your business is a critical first step to shifting to an omnichannel strategy. Although it will undoubtedly be difficult and tedious, it is necessary because the structure of an omnichannel business is centered on the customer rather than the organization. To achieve that, you need to centralize your data and how your team accesses it.
Through this new structure, your marketing team is better able to craft relevant messages while your merchandising team can be more agile in procuring products that will generate the most interest among your customers. Most importantly, your customer support team will be able to provide assistance in the context of every customer’s purchase history, preferences, and buying behavior.
Additionally, you need to get your entire team on board in order to provide consistently delightful customer experiences across all your touchpoints. By centralizing your data and getting every member of your team on board, your company will be able to provide a deeply personalized service, which is the essence of what omnichannel marketing really is.
2) Imbibe a Customer-Centric Culture
Developing a customer-centric culture isn’t just about getting your team onboard a new operational structure. For an omnichannel strategy to work, you need to keep your customers at the heart of everything you do. That means ensuring you capture all essential data and even taking additional steps to gather customer insights that might prove useful. Customer engagement platforms can help to implement customer oriented approaches.
The data you get from all your customer interactions should inform everything that you do in the pursuit of providing highly relevant and personalized experiences. This will also help you target your messages appropriately and select the best channels for communication at every interaction. That inevitably leads to better engagement rates and, eventually, better sales.
3) Measure Your Results
As with every other marketing strategy, you’ll need to measure your results in order to keep improving. Every aspect of your campaign can be measured and will prove to be valuable in your pursuit of progress. But optimizing your campaigns isn’t just about determining whether what you’re currently doing is actually working. It also involves testing variants of your campaigns to discover little tweaks that could bring in significantly better results.
In the end, omnichannel marketing is all about the ability to provide the best experiences to your audiences in a way that will yield better brand affinity, better sales, and better customer retention. All that can be achieved through the strategic use of data across all available channels.
How Marketing Automation Enhances an Omnichannel Strategy
Marketing automation involves specialized software designed to run specific tasks in your marketing strategy. Its greatest value lies in giving you the ability to reach your audiences with the right message at exactly the right time. Combined with an omnichannel strategy, it allows businesses to more efficiently engage their target audiences.
Through automated workflows, pre-specified messages are sent to customer segments when triggered by an action. For example, you can program your software to automatically send greetings containing discount codes to subscribers on their birthday. Plus, the more advanced your software is, the more targeted or detailed your segments can be.
Detailed segmentation could be based on a variety of things like where they are on the customer journey (e.g., people who have spent over $100 on your store within the last 30 days), certain behaviors (e.g., people who add products to their carts but don’t checkout), or specific characteristics (e.g. people who like to buy dresses). This is essential to marketing automation workflows because it allows for more relevant communications, leading to higher sales.
In ecommerce, the value of automation workflows was driven by email marketing. Rather than reach out to individual subscribers with personalized messages, marketers learned how to use software to achieve the same objective without manual intervention. Today, automation workflows are no longer limited to email. As omnichannel marketing becomes more mainstream, businesses are learning to automate their campaigns across a variety of channels, including SMS and social media.
Given its scope and vast potential, an omnichannel strategy is hardly just a marketing scheme. Along with marketing automation services, it really is a novel approach to how businesses are run in order to reach, convert, and retain audiences more efficiently as well as more effectively.
Omnichannel marketing goes far deeper than a simple multichannel strategy. It is a dynamic, interconnected marketing world – providing an immersive experience to your audience, bringing a new level of personalization and building a better affinity for your brand, superior customer retention, and of course, an increase in sales.
It does take some time and effort to provide a truly omnichannel experience. But with the help of powerful software specifically designed for this purpose, along with the strategic use of your collected data, you can certainly achieve it – for the long-term benefit of your customers as well as your business!
- Omnichannel Marketing Guide – 3 Steps for Implementation - 11. August 2020.