Why You Should Use Omnichannel Marketing
Many Channels – One Key Message
You might already know what content marketing is, and you might actually be using context marketing, but what is the step after that? The step where you provide a seamless, integrated customer experience. The step where your customers, no matter where or how they choose to engage with your business, will have a completely seamless experience.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing puts the customer's needs first. It is a sales and marketing approach that is intended to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether they are using a desktop, a tablet, a smartphone, or even offline in a brick and mortar store. Omnichannel merges at-home, in-store, and mobile commerce and, as the name implies, engages customers through all channels.
Once upon a time consumers were reliant on local businesses. If Jim wanted to buy a new telephone, a radio, or maybe a new washing machine, he would visit the local electronics or home appliance store, consider his options, and buy the product that looked the most appealing to him.
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As the internet became more prevalent, Jim was no longer dependant on the local selection of washing machines. Jim suddenly had the opportunity to browse for whichever product he wanted, conduct research across online stores, and wait with the important purchase until he had found the exact right washing machine for his needs.
The online shopping experience has continued to evolve since those days. Now, in 2018, Jim is a well-informed consumer. He can still choose to buy his washing machine at the local appliance store, but his options are much broader. He can also use his smartphone, or even his smart TV. He might have found the right washing machine by reading an inspirational interior design post on Pinterest, in a newsletter, or through an ad in his favourite digital digest.
The fact that Jim can now be introduced to the perfect washing machine through so many different channels also means many more opportunities for marketers to connect with and engage customers like him. Yet this also makes the process a lot more complex in terms of trying to keep interactions, brand messaging, and your intent consistent across multiple channels, offline or online, ensuring a seamless and fluid experience for the consumer.
This is the challenge of Omnichannel Marketing.
Omnichannel vs. multichannel
Keeping track of all the business and marketing buzzwords is not an easy task these days as the internet and the overall marketing landscape continues to evolve, and new channels pop up on a regular basis.
Omnichannel Marketing, Multichannel marketing, po-tay-to, po-tah-to. They are often confused, but it is important to keep the distinction between them in mind when trying to engage consumers through different channels.
Multichannel: Refers to businesses using multiple channels in their marketing, for example social media, web, email, radio or print, to engage their target audience. When businesses take a multichannel approach, they use two or more channels to communicate.
In many cases, this means multiple campaigns in separate silos with different messaging. Multichannel marketing is often not concerned with giving the customer a seamless or consistent experience through every channel.
Omnichannel: Refers to businesses using multiple channels, same as with a multichannel approach, but where omnichannel differs is in its consistency and focus. The key for marketers is to make sure customers experience the same look and messaging through every different channel or device.
This ensures a seamless, fluid customer experience between all channels, and makes it easier to engage those customers on their own terms. Additionally, omnichannel refers to interconnecting systems between channels, allowing a customer to, for instance, use a digital app in a physical store.
5 Reasons Why You Should Use an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Omnichannel marketing works because it means you put the customer's needs before anything else. They decide when and where they want to engage and interact with a brand or a business, and they are always met with the same look and the same messaging no matter what channels they prefer.
- It will simplify and clarify your marketing
- Your brand and business will become more trustworthy
- It will support your customer retention efforts
- It will motivate buying behaviour
Omnichannel requires you to reject the silo mentality and drive cooperation between departments. Omnichannel goes both ways, and you cannot provide a seamless user experience if the company's strategies aren't aligned - thus a proper omnichannel solution also means more effective internal workflows.
And there is a clear fifth reason to invest in omnichannel marketing: Your bottom line.
A Worldpay report reveals that omnichannel customers spend between 50-300% more than single channel shoppers
Based on these numbers, the omnichannel method will soon be the standard for all digital companies selling products and services on the web. That's why it pays off to invest now.
4 Recommendations Before Implementing an Omnichannel Strategy
Implementing an omnichannel strategy is not an easy task. We have chosen the 4 most important considerations that we think you should make before you start implementing an omnichannel strategy.
1) Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes
Review the experiences your customers go through when engaging with your business and brand. Try to interact with your own company through its social media presence. Order one of your own products, sign up to your newsletter, or even call customer service if you have it. Make sure that the customer experience is seamless, effective, and that your messaging is as consistent as you want it to be.
2) Segment your audiences
Who are your target audiences? What channels do they use? What kind of jobs do they have? What kind of lifestyles do they lead? Use marketing automation to collect data that you can use to build customer personas and optimise your different customer journeys. Enhance this data with business intelligence through Digital Experience Platforms such as Aesir - upgrading your customer experiences has never been as easy and approachable as it is now.
3) Create content that addresses your target audiences
Your content has to be valuable and provide the exact information your customers are looking for, exactly when he or she want it. If you use a Digital Experience Platform like Aesir, it is easy to set up A/B split testing on many different content types, from Calls-to-Action to blog posts and much more, making it possible for you to ensure that you always content that is meaningful to the people who visit your website.
4) Listen to your customers and respond
If you listen and respond to your customers, it will be a huge boon for your various departments, from customer service to product development. You have to be able to react to your customers’ needs if you want to keep them coming back again and again. Many customers use different devices in one single transaction – make sure that no matter which device Jim uses, he will not lose the washing machine that he added to the cart on his phone when he boots up his laptop at work.
Omnichannel Customer Journeys
There is no denying that the omnichannel strategy will only become more relevant over the next few years. Because it is designed for the customers' benefit, the natural result will be that customers will reject experiences that aren't as meaningful as others. In fact, we are already there.
The growing presence of portable devices and growth of public networks means that customers will continue to expect more from their digital experiences. The difference between physical and digital interactions will become smaller, and even cross over in many cases.
Because omnichannel is not just a seamless experiences across devices, it also represents new forms of interaction between them. Imagine this hypothetical scenario:
- A customer gets an idea for a project that they wish to fulfil or products they want to purchase
- The customer searches for any local deals and shops where they can find what they need
- Through your SEO and marketing efforts, the customer will see results from your store corresponding to their search
- They visit your website, quickly find what they are looking for through contextual analysis, add products to the cart or their wishlist, and decide to visit the physical store to investigate further
- The customer's journey continues via an app. The customer "checks in" at the store, and with omnichannel interconnectivity, employees know exactly what the customer is looking for
- Employees are now able to offer even more personal service to the customer, and the app allows the customer to view their products in 3D through an AR showroom in the store
- The customer makes a purchase, and the products are delivered. The customer also books professional assistance with installation through the app
- Given what you know about the customer's journey, you are able to send them personalized mails about their purchase - tips, guides, webinars, etc.
- The customer can upload pictures and videos via the app and share blog posts or other inspirational tips to other customers through your website's community features
This is just one example of the extra levels of engagement that are possible with an omnichannel solution. Current technology allows us to deliver similar journeys for thousands of customers at the same time.
Omnichannel Marketing is based on a simple principle - putting the customer's needs first. If you can pull this off in a way that fits your brand, you can turn your business into a competitive pioneer in practically any ecommerce market.
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