At its core, omnichannel marketing is integrating both traditional and digital marketing channels that customers use. Doing so customers have a seamless way of engaging with a brand or company across a broad spectrum of ways. Whether it’s via email, an app, social websites, television, billboards, pamphlets, on-site promotions or even radio, the goal is to reach the target audience.
A brand or company will have to find omnichannel marketing strategies that find their target audience the best. Simply flooding our customer’s attention is not good enough. If you cast a wide enough net you will probably catch everything apart from the thing you want. And even when we retain the attention of our customers we need to be present for their needs no matter what channel they use.
For example, when we set up a phone number on a radio ad, an email address on a pamphlet or even a sticker on a billboard the lines of communication must always be present. This way you get a deeper level of personalization no matter who our customer is or what channel they used to reach our company or brand.
Now let’s explore the challenges and benefits of omnichannel marketing, the most effective strategies, current trends and what the future holds for omnichannel marketing.
Benefits And Challenges Of Omnichannel Marketing
We will start with the benefits:
- The analytics we get from Omnichannel marketing make it a lot simpler to interact with our customer data. We identify what channels yield the most results. This can lead to a more focused marketing strategy and an eventual reduction in costs and an increase in revenue.
- Using omnichannel services customers are able to use self-service. A recent study shows that almost 73% of customers want self-service technology. This way feedback is processed faster and more efficiently leading to a better brand service and product
- Omnichannel shoppers are more reliable and usually use multiple channels for their purpose. They spend about 15% more than the rest and consume more items.
- One of the biggest challenges in omnichannel marketing is budgets. Omnichannel marketing can demand a lot of technological upgrades for a brand or company plus additional training. This can be costly.
- Data managing can be tricky across different channels. The system must be well built in order to sort the data properly. Capable and well-trained staff are imperative so that the omnichannel experience is intuitive and user-friendly.
- It’s incredibly difficult to retain the brand message. Consistency across all channels requires great collaboration across the entire network. Conflicts can arise if one channel is prioritized over another.
Effective Strategies in Omnichannel Marketing
One of the best strategies in online shopping is the ability to return an item back if the customer is unsatisfied. Almost 67% of all online shoppers check the return policy before they make a purchase.
Some customers like to order from a store or have an item shipped from one store to another. The key is getting the product to them from any channel. The key is to be as flexible as you can.
Have an interactive awards program that encourages customer loyalty. Whenever a customer uses one of your channels reward them and add them immediately to an app. This will inspire your customers to interact with your channels more than any other company or brand. Be careful to implement this strategy well, as Woolworths bungled theirs 4 years ago and it cost them a lot of business.
You should let your customers pick up where they left off. You have to assume that your customers use more that one device for their shopping needs. Maybe they saw your products on their smartphone and wanted a closer look at it from their computer.
Current Trends in Omnichannel Marketing
The biggest marketing shift happened in the attitude of marketers. Before the focus was on campaigns, while now the focus is on customers. Something that needed to be done all along, but was impossible with the tools at that time. Communication with individual customers with a more personalized experience is now key.
More vendors will be entering the market with an increasingly affordable packaged solutions driven by AI. Small businesses with unique products will need much more semi-automation as more customers prefer to interact with businesses online. Mobile purchasing of products consists of more than 49% and we see this trend only rising.
As more brands and companies engage personally with their customers, they will become more humanized. Just saying buy our product or service will be increasingly more difficult. That’s why we see a rise in Instagram and Facebook stories. They engage with their customers in a completely different, personal and creative way. A single generic message just doesn’t work anymore. Companies are building a community of active members and gathering around most loyal to the brand. These are brand advocates, who boost their company’s brand and message both through online and offline channels.
Our current technologies have brought us closer to our customers than ever before. They are fragmented on a wide spectrum and so we need a different approach. The old way of marketing and communicating with them has become obsolete. If we ignore current trends we ignore our future customers. Omnichannel marketing is the future, uniting all channels (online and offline) and technologies under a single banner. It isn’t something that’s done easily, it takes great effort and considerable cost, but it does pay off. Basket abandonment is about 70%, as customers get more distracted or decide not to go ahead with the purchase. In that case, you can send your customers an email with a discount, or give a notification in your app. Customers enjoy a seamless experience, and at the same time companies enjoy greater customer retention.
Take a look at your company or brand and assess how you can evolve and interact with your customers so it benefits you both.