The modern-day consumer expects to be able to view your products online, download exclusive offers to their phone, while they browse in-store, and then be able to easily share their purchase on their Twitter feed. Today, marketers are facing the challenge of converting the always-connected consumer. In a recent report from MIT, 80% of store shoppers check prices online, with one-third accessing the information on their mobile device while inside the actual store. Many businesses recognize the need for an omnichannel strategy but stop short of developing a plan to maintain a consistent brand image across channels.
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What is Omni-channel?
Omnichannel is defined as a multichannel approach to marketing or sales that offers a seamless experience to customers, irrespective of where they choose to shop(shopping online or in a brick-and-mortar store). According to the Harvard Business Review, 73% of customers prefer to use multiple channels when they shop.
We’ve come up with a simplified 4 step strategy to help you develop your plan.
4 Step Omni-channel Strategy
Create a Seamless Experience on Mobile
45% of consumers prefer a combination of online, mobile, and in-store shopping (eMarketer). But if you are strictly online, it’s an absolute necessity to optimize for mobile. 72% of mobile users say it’s important that websites are mobile-friendly Search Engine Watch). As of last year, more than half of all American adults own a smartphone (Pew). More and more consumers are starting to shop online either through a mobile or tablet, with the time spent on a mobile device surpassing time spent on a desktop last year (eMarketer). The first step in moving towards an omnichannel experience is creating a mobile experience. Make your site mobile-friendly, with large visuals and simplified navigation to help mobile users quickly find what they are looking for.
Focus on the Customer Experience First
40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels (Internet Retailer). At the core of your strategy should be the consumer. Personalize the experience at every step possible. Utilize a social login tool in order to gather insights and create a complete customer profile. Collect data from social networks APIs for structured data, verified email addresses, birthdates, and unstructured data, interests, likes, friends, and more.
Manage User Data
54% of marketers revealed that the biggest inhibitor in establishing a consistent omnichannel customer experience is not having a single view of customers across channels (Retail Systems Research Institute). More important than gathering user data, is sorting through and organizing the ‘big data’. Standardize all information gathered from a variety of social networks in order to maximize the full potential of personalization. Ensure you have the right infrastructure in place to store massive amounts of data and the ability to access it quickly as well. Organized data makes it easier to scale marketing efforts and target the right customers, at the right time.
Engage with Customers Across all Channels
Actively engage with users to foster user-generated content, boost SEO, increase referrals, time spent on site and ultimately conversions. Once the channels are in place, easily engage with users on each channel with social. Run social contests within social apps or onsite. Interact with users onsite with ratings and reviews. 90% of consumers would recommend a brand after interacting with it via social (IAB, 2013). Furthermore, 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online (Business2Community). Reward users for cross-promotion to further drive engagement to every channel.
What Defines a Good Omnichannel Customer Experience?
These are the five key aspects that contribute to a good omnichannel customer experience.
Today’s customers look for a shopping experience where they can shop without the hassle of spending too much time. This means convenience is not a benefit – in fact, it is one of the most important requirements for an excellent customer experience.
Maintaining consistency is important when implementing an omnichannel strategy. Creating experiences based on a unified brand presence is part of building a strong brand your customers recognize.
Customers are looking for consistent communication from the brands they are loyal to. As a result, brands that keep customers updated generate higher ROI.
How to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
You can build a strong omnichannel marketing strategy. Here are some things to consider as you do:
Understand your customer’s behavior–Find out how customers behave across all channels and how much time they devote to each platform. Spend quality time to create a comprehensive plan as to how you want the experience to be like throughout all touchpoints.
Utilize data while strategizing –Using data will help you better understand your customers’ online search behavior and, based on that, you can plan a suitable solution to address their preferences.
Categorize the buyers and personalize the journey –After analyzing the data, you can categorize our customers based upon common behavior patterns. From there, create a personalized journey for each type of customer.
Send the right message to your audience –Context is a crucial part of omnichannel marketing strategy. Sending the right message to relevant users when they are most active on the channel helps you to best engage with them.
Go for the right marketing automation tools –Opt for the marketing tools that help you execute, monitor, and measure your strategy. Do your research and gather relevant information before selecting the one that’s right for you.
Become a customer-centric organization –A customer-centric organization helps the business engage with customers. If your employees are not trained to focus on the overall experience of customers, no marketing tool or strategy will prove to be beneficial.
Leverage customer data and insights to personalize the omnichannel user experience and create an authentic, immersive customer experience that is sure to increase brand loyalty and lifetime customer value.