Picture this – a customer is scrolling through their favourite social media platform and a specific clothing item catches their eye. They click through to the store’s landing page showcasing the product. With the intention to make a purchase, they realise that the item is not available in their size. Fortunately, the ecommerce site lets them know which brick-and-mortar store has the right size where the customer can make their purchase offline.
This is one of many omnichannel marketing examples, an approach that provides customers with a seamless experience across various digital and physical touchpoints. An unavoidable concept in marketing due to the proliferation of technology into the customer buying journey.
Omnichannel marketing is not just another buzzword and we explain why.
What is omnichannel marketing?
As marketing continues to transition from traditional models to digital, marketers cannot ignore the importance of providing customers with a comprehensive view of the path to purchase. By definition, an omnichannel experience is a multi-channel approach that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience regardless of how and when a customer reaches out. Instead of marketers focusing on a single experience based on which platform customers are more likely to gravitate towards, digital marketing teams can opt for an all-encompassing experience that merges both online and physical worlds.
Is omnichannel marketing the same as multichannel marketing?
An omnichannel marketing approach is not synonymous with a multichannel strategy. The latter leverages more than one channel with the aim to reach customers in as many touchpoints as possible.
A multichannel marketing approach allows marketers to let customers choose how they want to interact with a brand. The most widespread forms of multichannel marketing include, but not limited to: email, websites, social media, mobile, print, and billboard advertisements. What differentiates these two is that in multichannel marketing, path to purchase channels are disconnected and work autonomously from each other.
Creating an omnichannel strategy
It is imperative for companies to design an omnichannel strategy that resonates with what they want to achieve and the kind of interwoven customer experience that the target audience expects. Marketers must have a clear understanding of the content customers are consuming and when. Some of the best practices for a winning omnichannel strategy include:
- Know your customers
Gaining insight into customer habits is key to offering a valuable omnichannel experience. Digital marketers can make use of tools that gives them the in-depth data needed to create a strategy that results in customer retention. Additionally, it is essential to gain knowledge of the channels that the target audience prefers, and the platforms frequently used.
- Map out the customer journey
Marketers need to see the ecommerce steps from a customer’s perspective. Which digital point has the most bounce rate? Do customers make it through to the final stage of check out? It is in this step that marketers get the chance to identify any roadblocks and minimize potential friction points.
- Technology tools are a necessity
The right set of tools can assist digital marketers in capturing valuable customer data and use insights to make informed decisions. Digital tools can range from customer relationship management (CRM) to data analytics tools.
Our world is becoming more digital, power has shifted to the hands of customers, giving them complete control over their purchasing decisions. Customers are becoming more connected and digitally-savvy while technology advancements are blurring the lines between online and offline. Marketers need to keep up with the changing times and re-create experiences that meet digital natives where they are – online.