Engage Customers in an Omnichannel Experience
Picture this scenario.
After some period of contemplation, you finally decided to buy that smartphone you’ve fancied for some time now. You even read thousands of reviews to reinforce your choice.
You visited the retailer’s website to look for the model you’re eyeing and checked list prices and other info.
Satisfied, you dialed the retailer’s contact number and got an immediate answer from a very courteous salesperson. He confirmed the availability of that model in stock.
He gave you a tip though – use their app instead and make your purchase from there. He said you’ll be surprised by the added discount and a whole bunch of freebies when you use their new app.
They gave you the option to either have your new gadget delivered to your doorstep or skip the delivery fee and pick it up at one of their branch stores instead. You decided to take a little walk.
After a while, you finally got your new smartphone, some surprise freebies, and awesome omnichannel shopping experience.
The example above described how companies today make use of multiple channels or touchpoints to engage with the client. From voice, digital, and online to mobile transactions, the client is met with a seamless network that allows them to receive the same level of customer experience from one engagement portal to another.
More and more companies are jumping on the online bandwagon. Who can blame them, as estimates show that as much as 95% of purchases by 2040 will be made online. With more than 85% Aussies connected to the internet and over 12.1 million on social media, people Down Under are catching up on eCommerce with an expected $29,569M AUD revenue for 2019.
As a Melbourne business consultant, I myself am a proponent of ramping up on your digital marketing prowess, to stand out and transform your business from being a digital drab to fab – and the best place to launch from is through Omnichannel Marketing.
Multichannel Marketing vs Omnichannel Marketing
With lots of new terms flooding the market, it’s important that you should first understand and distinguish what Omnichannel Marketing is from other forms, particularly Multichannel Marketing. There are similarities between the two but it’s important to clearly understand the subtle differences.
From the term itself, you can already surmise that Multichannel Marketing basically means connecting or interacting with customers through multiple or several available channels with the goal of delivering the same marketing message throughout.
Omnichannel Marketing, on the other hand, is similar to Multichannel Marketing in the same sense that they make use of multiple platforms, but Omnichannel takes it up some notches higher. With Omnichannel Marketing, customers can have a seamless shopping experience as they move from one integrated platform to another.
The Omnichannel Experience
The current marketplace finds consumers that extend their shopping behavior even while on the go, whether they’re physically inside a store, or shopping through their mobile devices – or both at the same time.
Strange? Not really.
A recent report from the MIT states that while 80% of shoppers check online resources first for prices and other information before they physically step inside the store, one-third of these same shoppers continue to do mobile searches for information even while they’re already inside the brick-and-mortar store.
A similar study affirms this and reports that up to 82% of shoppers treat their smartphones as their personal shopping assistants while doing their shopping inside a physical store.
Why is this so? Two-thirds of these shoppers say that these stores do not really provide enough of the information they need, and so they rely more and put more importance on their smartphones rather than their in-store experience.
With these changing scenarios in the customer journey, small and medium business owners should rethink, transform and adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy to keep up with market demands.
The goal is to use a multichannel sales approach that can deliver a more personalised shopping experience to customers. In this system, customers can move from being in a physical store, then transition seamlessly to a mobile phone or device.
The results? Well, the following amazing stats won’t lie:
– An engagement rate of 18.96% for Omnichannel compared to the 5.4% rate of a single-channel platform
– Customers who interacted with brands through three or more channels will make purchases more frequently by up to 250%
– Not only will these customers buy more frequently, but they would also even spend more per order by as much as 13% more on average as they interact with the brand through multiple channels
– A customer who buys more frequently and spends more on purchases will most likely come back and repeat these purchases again by as much as 90%. Retention rates will subsequently increase to 66.12%, compared to 34.8% rates single-channel marketing campaigns can churn up
Begin Your Omnichannel Marketing Strategy with These Steps
So, now you’re convinced of how powerful an omnichannel marketing strategy can be, and as your business consultant, I can only motivate and guide you to take these necessary steps to develop your plan:
1) Get a Clear Understanding of Your Customer
Every marketing journey starts with the customer, and an omnichannel strategy requires the same. You must first get a firm grasp of your targeted customers online behaviors, buying patterns and purchasing preferences. There are several social media listening tools available, as well as for analytics tools where you can gain a deeper insight into your web traffic and SEO performance.
2) Establish a Mobile-First Approach to Customer Engagement
A mobile-first approach to customer engagement is essential to an omnichannel marketing strategy. While consumers spend more time on their mobile devices than their desktops, they’d prefer websites to be more mobile-friendly.
Now, more and more consumers prefer to do their shopping online than doing it in a physical store. But if they do need to be physically in a brick-and-mortar store to make purchases, they’d prefer that they could maintain in-store shopping with online and mobile channels.
3) Level Up to a Fully Integrated Marketing Technology Arsenal
Omnichannel marketing requires a multi-channel marketing approach to customer engagement. As a business coach, I usually advise clients that there is no one-size-fits-all formula to cater to all customers. Each customer is unique so one has to adjust to cater to these intricacies.
First and foremost is to have a responsively-designed and mobile friendly website. Then, you need to invest in other tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications, Content Management Systems, Web Conferencing Solutions, Analytics and Data Visualization Solutions, and a Marketing Automation Platform.
We’ll discuss each of these tools in future articles. Promise.
4) Optimize Your Channels to Give Clients a Customer-First Experience
Once you have the tools in place, you can now start and optimize them to give your clients a customer-first experience whenever and wherever. Just giving a personalized shopping experience alone can boost sales by up to 40%, so the effort in doing so is really worth it.
Optimize and personalize your email marketing campaigns. Make use of the power of social login tools to give you better insights on your customers’ full profile, including personal networks, interests, important dates of note, and other unstructured data available.
5) Engage Walk-In Customers with Social Media
There will always be customers who prefer the physical route so take advantage of this by connecting and continuously engaging with them through Social Media and other online channels.
Tools like Facebook’s Place Tips can be a useful tool that you can capitalise in to give your clients information on your business, check-ins, landmarks, recommendations, and other useful information. You can also take advantage of Facebook’s Local Awareness adverts as well as their free analytics tool called “Local Insight”.
6) Maintain a Single Voice when Engaging Clients in All Channels
The power of an integrated multi-channel approach in Omnichannel Marketing is only effective if you maintain a single voice when you engage with your clients in all channels. You should have a unified and well-coordinated branding across all channels.
This includes maintaining the same look and feel throughout the multi-channel platform. The elements of branding that you present and portray in your real-world store should also be present in your other channels as well. Each channel should portray the same product, options, and message all throughout.
Take the Omnichannel Marketing Opportunity Now
According to a report from Consultancy UK, Australia is already in the tenth position in the worldwide eCommerce sales tabulation, going head to head with powerhouses like the UK, China, and America. These figures will most likely increase as user penetration will most likely hit over 80.8% in 2019 and 89.2% by the year 2023.
eCommerce giants like Target, Kmart, Amazon, Woolworths, and Coles are taking advantage of the Omnichannel experience to gain even more from their clients. Now, technologies are available to small and medium businesses, allowing them to jump the bandwagon and take advantage of omnichannel marketing as well.
From the statistics and scenarios I’ve presented earlier, I can say as a business coach that the customers are ready and are very much responsive to a multi-channel and omnichannel form of engagement with brands.
So, what are you waiting for?
Make the move now.