There was a time when an omnichannel strategy wasn’t even a thought. Shopping was mainly done in-store and rarely ever online. All it took was some clever punchline, perhaps a flyer… But things began getting more complicated.
Soon, digital channels began taking the place of traditional advertising. Various software platforms sprung up that offered everything a brand would need to create an online business out of a brick-and-mortar store.
And somewhere around there, an idea had emerged. But let’s just take it from the top first.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Let’s get the definition of omnichannel marketing out of the way first. What is omnichannel marketing really, and why is an omnichannel strategy needed for eCommerce?
So, omnichannel is a marketing method of selling throughout all available channels, without the customer experiencing any friction. The process is seamless and includes a physical store location-provided that exists- a website, all of the available devices, customer care, available inventory, and so on.
If you need to visualize the omnichannel marketing process, it will look a little like this:
As the graph above shows, everything starts with the desire to buy. The prospect will go through the brand’s social media, see the product, check the eCommerce store, and finally end up purchasing the item in-store.
Why Omnichannel Strategy?
There is only one reason you should invest in omnichannel marketing and create an omnichannel strategy around your brand. It’s that one:
The stat above shows it pretty clearly: Marketers that use three or more channels can boost their engagement rate by as high as 250%, as opposed to single-channel marketers. Omnichannel scores are better at customer retention, purchase rate, engagement rate, and anything in-between.
Building an omnichannel strategy for your eCommerce store works way better in terms of retention and conversion and can even increase average order value and help you reach the sales KPIs you set when starting out.
#1 Omnichannel Strategy and Proper Channels
Okay, you may want to go omnichannel, but is your audience up for it? Are they prepared or even used to shopping online?
If not, then don’t waste any time and effort on something like that. You see, the boost on engagement we mentioned above, as well as the maximized conversion, are things that can happen only if your audience allows it. So, your first step in crafting your omnichannel strategy is to study your audience and competition. Be where your customers are and use what they use. If, for example, your audience frequents Instagram, you can make money off Instagram, if they frequent Pinterest, nothing’s stopping you from creating a profile and your next board and so on and so forth.
Your data is the second place where you’ll find everything you need. Study your customers carefully, see what characteristics emerge, and create and enhance your buyer personas. The platforms your ideal customers would frequent, are the platforms you need to frequent as well.
Of course, it goes without saying that what is presented on your platforms needs to be shown on your eCommerce store and your brick-and-mortar store. Picture this: You see a beautiful shirt on a Facebook ad. You click on the ad, only to see that there isn’t any stock left and that you can’t order it online and pick it up from the store itself. If you want it, you’ll need to go to the store. That way, you’ve just created a displeased customer and minus one sell.
But what happens if the vast majority of your audience doesn’t frequent Facebook or Instagram and likes email newsletters with offers and a trip to the store? You’ll need to send the same offer through email and provide the shirt at the store. It’s essential to deliver the most on the platform where your audience is most interested and engaged.
#2 Omnichannel Strategy Equals Organized Departments
This statement is only logical if we consider that omnichannel marketing is supposed to provide a seamless experience. You need a siloed structure where all departments will be able to communicate and operate with each other and not separately.
Let’s take Sephora, for example. The beauty retailer has managed to create one of the best omnichannel marketing experiences. Starting from the app, the prospect can see which Sephora is closest to them and browse the products they’ll need to purchase. This action can gather data. After that, they can enter the store. The data stored in the app will show the customer everything they need to know, from a store map to the exclusive deals. While in the store, a prospect can try products on, using Augmented Reality devices, iPads, and, of course, the assistance of Sephora’s make-up artists. If the customer needs a sold-out product, one of the employees can order it and have it shipped to the customer directly.
All this interaction gives the customer the attention they need, while it provides feedback to the rest of the departments. More orders for a specific product means that more of it needs to be in stock. The sales team will need to know that kind of data to be able to sell. The tech team and the analysts will need to present that data to the sales team. And finally, ordering the product in larger quantities is a job for the team that deals with vendors.
Departments that are connected and communicate independently will eventually lead each team to understand customer intent and satisfy precisely that, in their way. That way, each team will understand what their part is in the grand scheme of things -in our case, in your omnichannel strategy. Not to mention how much less MRR churn your store is going to experience.
#3 Omnichannel Strategy and Content
Content is king. Every marketer is saying that and, for the better part, they’re right. Proper content can work wonders for your omnichannel marketing strategy. Your content can keep things stitched together and help you manage your social media platforms and channels where your brand sells seamlessly. In the end, this content will make you relevant and recognizable.
At this point, we should state that uniformity in content doesn’t mean duplicate content across platforms. A brand needs to be versatile and create content that will match the platform used. A person would change the way they speak according to the audience listening. The same goes for brands: They need to be ready to create content that will engage the audience frequenting their chosen platform, without losing their tone of voice.
According to the graph above, a consistent tone of voice can make your brand achieve the following things:
- An emotional connection with the customers. 65% of customers said that a brand’s tone of voice sets the mood and makes the customers feel they’re part of the audience of a brand that cares.
- According to 64% of the survey-takers, a consistent brand tone increases the trust between the prospects and the brand. A brand that showcases its values through its tone is perceived as one that would love to build a strong relationship with its customers.
- A consistent brand tone that is consistent across platforms can increase revenue by 23%.
- Your tone consists of more than just words. A brand’s visuals, the colors used, the imagery, all of this is content. According to the infographic above, the colors a brand uses can improve recognition by 80%.
A unanimous tone creates a seamless experience, which is the main point of omnichannel marketing.
Take Starbucks, for example. They’ve got one of the best omnichannel marketing strategies in existence. You log onto the Starbucks app and get a free drink upon signing up for their customer loyalty program. You can then walk into the Starbucks closest to you and pick up your drink. If, while standing in line, you realize that there’s not enough money in your loyalty card, you can just reload it while waiting in line and have it ready by the time you reach the counter. Now, observe the app’s interface: It’s got the characteristic green color, the calm tones, and clean, minimalistic imagery. The process of signing up is as simple as ordering at Starbucks. Finally, the characteristic green color is there. The experience this type of content creates is one that makes the customer feel like they never even left the store.
Let us circle back to what we mentioned before, though: Make sure to match content with the platform you’re going to use. You don’t need to change your tone of voice or taglines for that. But you’ll need to keep in mind the following principles: A Facebook post could include a link to a landing page you have designed to convert. Take a look at the example below:
If you click on this ad, you’ll get redirected to a landing page, designed to convert. You’ll see the same brand tone, the same brand colors and the promise of the $500 coupon the ad makes:
We mentioned Facebook for landing pages. For one reason: Facebook, as a platform, is used by audiences that can and will engage with text/image-based ads, as opposed to Instagram. An Instagram post would be better off with an influencer video. Here is the point where you’ll need to change your content to match the channel. Keep the same colors and offer, but create different types of content. Since the audience of each platform is diverse, they will engage with different things.
Finally, keep two things in mind:
- Always test everything. Scan your data, study those carefully, and create content that is relevant and will engage your audience.
- Create content that will be optimized for SEO, primarily semantic SEO. This will allow you to rank for content that will express your audience’s real intention, thus giving you extra credibility points.
#4 Segmentation Is Key
So, you’ve gathered the data I mentioned before, and you’ve studied those to come to a conclusion. Now, it’s time to see what type of segments are essential for you to sell more and, eventually, reach the numbers mentioned above. Use behavioral triggers first. Perhaps add some geo-location to the mix. These things will help you target the ideal customer for the perfect deal and the best email marketing campaign. But it’s not just that. By adding geo-location to the mix, you can offer personalized product suggestions in-app and show the closest store to your customers, according to their location.
One Final Thought
To achieve all of the above, you’ll need extensive market research to find the tools and platforms that are best for you. But the most important thing to achieve omnichannel strategy greatness is always to test, optimize for mobile and check your data. Lastly, try out new, effective tools like blackbee. It provides you with a comprehensive overview of relevant competitors, their product assortments and pricing strategies. For example, you can track how other suppliers behave in the price-intensive phases before and during large discount campaigns. With a solid database and accurate analyses, you can optimize your market performance with minimal effort.
Our market analysis experts will gladly advise you on the tailor-made blackbee Insights solutions without any obligation to buy. We look forward to hearing from you!