Do you want to create a seamless ecommerce experience for your customers across all mobile devices and channels? If so, you may want to look into adopting an omnichannel approach to retail.
A recent study of 46,000 shoppers showed that omnichannel retailing works, and that shoppers use multiple channels to browse and research products before making a purchase. While only 7 percent of the studied participants exclusively shopped online and 20 percent exclusively shopped in a brick and mortar location, a whopping 73 percent of shoppers used multiple channels to make a purchase.
If you work with multiple channels but have yet to create a seamless approach to your marketing techniques, we’ll go over how you can make it happen. Learn how to develop an omnichannel approach for retail through these seven tips. But first, let’s talk a bit more about what an omnichannel approach means for the customer shopping experience.
Benefits of an omnichannel approach
Omnichannel marketing can be intimidating, which is why many companies tend to label it as a task they’ll deal with at a later date. But once companies see some of the benefits of omnichannel, it’s not long before they begin to develop their own strategy. Benefits of omnichannel for retail include:
Better understand your clientele
Omnichannel marketing allows you to collect and unify customer data from touchpoints like shopping carts, social media, referral programs, cookies, and point-of-sale systems. As you begin to analyze the data, you can learn more about customer behavior, interests, and expectations to help you strengthen your marketing approach and improve the customer journey.
Improve brand recognition
Consistent branding across all of a company’s channels can increase revenue by 23 percent. And 60 percent of millennial shoppers expect a brand to remain consistent across all channels. Omnichannel marketing by definition creates a personalized and seamless experience for every customer. This leads to improved brand recognition, greater customer loyalty, and increased revenue.
Use fewer resources
When retailers put multichannel marketing strategies into play, organized chaos often ensues. Even with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to maintain order in an industry as demanding and evolving as retail. When you adopt an omnichannel approach, you’ll have more data to base decisions on—and ultimately save time and funds as you make smarter marketing choices that help you achieve a higher ROI.
How Retailers Can Develop and Implement an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Any retailer can develop and implement an omnichannel marketing strategy. If you’re ready to begin your omnichannel journey, follow these seven steps to avoid common pitfalls and make the most of your efforts.
1. Call yourself by the right name
If you only refer to yourself as a brick and mortar store, you’re isolating your customers. Give yourself full credit for what you are. You’re not just a retail store with a website. You’re a retailer. By today’s definition, that means you do it all. You have physical stores, an app for a customer’s smartphone, a website, landing pages, and plenty of other touchpoints that make you more than just a few walls and stored inventory.
2. Remember you’re developing a layered strategy
An omnichannel strategy is all about creating a seamless online experience. But developing the strategy isn’t as seamless. There are several channels you’ll need to consider and questions you need to ask when creating an omnichannel retail experience. We suggest focusing on the following key elements.
- What problem are we solving? When you know why customers want to buy your products, you can boost your product information strategy.
- Why do customers come back? When you know how your products are making happy customers, you can improve your marketing strategy.
- How is my staff performing? When you know your staff’s strengths and weaknesses, you can provide the training and support they need to consistently improve the customer experience.
- How are our products reaching clients? When you know the method and speed in which products are entering customers’ hands, you can improve your delivery strategy.
As you can see, an omnichannel strategy is made up of many elements. You’ll want to have an empowered team to tackle it all.
3. Find your audience
Omnichannel marketing isn’t about tethering every available touchpoint together. It’s about focusing on the marketing channels that your audience spends time with. The strength of an omnichannel marketing strategy doesn’t lie within the number of channels it links together. Instead, its success is measured by engagement. Two channels with heavy engagement will always beat out ten underperforming channels, even if they’re part of your omnichannel strategy.
4. Never prevent a purchase
Can you imagine a customer hopping between your brand’s online channels and, once they’re finally ready to make the big purchase, being unable to locate a shoppable touchpoint? Don’t make a customer do the hard work. If they can’t find a shoppable touchpoint, they’re more likely to seek out another brand than head out on a virtual treasure hunt through your different channels. Wherever your customers are, they should be able to purchase your product. If a channel is part of your omnichannel approach, make sure it’s shoppable.
5. Beautify your brand
A seamless customer experience should be visually appealing. While there are other aspects of marketing that carry more weight, the visual aspects of your brand deserve attention as well. When you use the right color for your brand, you can improve readership by 40%. Don’t be afraid to redesign your logo or switch up the font style on your website. Just remember that consistency is key in omnichannel marketing, especially when it comes to cross-channel visuals.
6. Don’t limit your reach
When developing an omnichannel approach, retailers who started on the brick-and-mortar side often forget that creating a seamless customer experience entails using both online and offline channels in real-time. Extend your reach as far as required to connect with your audience. While this certainly includes websites, social media, apps, landing pages, chatbots, and email, it may also include direct mailings, radio, billboards, and magazine ads.
7. Never stop refining and optimizing
An omnichannel marketing strategy is never complete. You should always be analyzing, refining, and optimizing your approach to keep up with competitors, technology, and consumer demands and expectations. Use business analytics to help you monitor engagement and performance.
Omnichannel marketing for the win
To succeed as a retailer, you must:
- Understand your target audience and their ever-changing shopping habits.
- Improve technology to provide a satisfactory shopping and customer experience across all digital channels.
- Anticipate the future needs of your industry and customers.
This certainly isn’t easy. But when you focus on a customer-centric omnichannel approach, you’re able to understand consumers on a deeper level, stay ahead of technological expectations, and become the brand the competition studies.