According to a survey carried out by Aspect Software, businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates than businesses that don't. Fifteen years ago, the average consumer typically used two touchpoints when buying an item, and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touchpoints, with nearly 50% regularly using more than four.
Another survey found that companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. Also, 77% of strong omnichannel companies store customer data across channels, compared to 48% for weak omnichannel companies.
It's clear that omnichannel marketing can be highly effective. But what is omnichannel marketing, and how can your business implement it if you're not already doing so?
What is Omnichannel Marketing? (+5 Tips for eCommerce):
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing centers around the needs of the customer, delivering them a personalized message. You use all of your channels to create a unified experience for each customer. These include both traditional media and newer digital channels.
With omnichannel marketing, each channel interacts to create a unified voice and message for a brand. Often, the brand will reach a customer with different channels as they pass through the stages of their purchasing cycle.
The modern consumer is omnichannel. They seamlessly change between channels throughout their day. They may start their day by looking at Facebook, then open their Instagram app. They may then check their emails. They then head off to work, with the radio playing as they go. On their way home from work, they may stop at the supermarket, seeing screeds of point-of-sale advertising before heading home. For the evening trip, they may choose to play music on Spotify or listen to a podcast. That evening they may turn the television on and possibly read a newspaper, although most likely in an app on their phone or tablet.
With today's intelligent marketing, they may experience touchpoints with eCommerce brands on any, or indeed all, of these channels. In many ways, these channels all merge to create a unified brand voice.
Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing
Consumers are not going to purchase from an eCommerce company the first time they encounter them. In some ways, this applies to all businesses – consumers are always wary of paying for unknown experiences. But it is far less risky to buy a hotdog from an unknown street vendor than it is to send money to somebody you have never heard of online. This means that eCommerce stores have to fight particularly hard to establish awareness. Using omnichannel marketing can assist with this process.
Omnichannel campaigns have been shown to be highly effective ways of making sales. Omnisend found that marketers using three or more channels in their marketing campaigns earned a 90% higher customer retention rate and 250% higher engagement and purchase rates. Also, customers in an omnichannel experience with three or more channels are likely to spend 13% more than those who experienced just one channel.
Comparing Omnichannel and Multichannel Marketing
Many people confuse omnichannel with multichannel marketing – both involve brands making touchpoints with consumers across multiple channels. However, there are clear differences between the types of marketing.
Although both omnichannel and multichannel marketing involve using multiple channels, omnichannel marketing requires a clear integration of your marketing efforts between your channels. They interact in such a way that a customer receives a seamless marketing experience. For instance, they don't receive identical ads on each channel, nor are they so different that they may as well be separate campaigns. However, each channel operates independently in a multichannel marketing campaign, isolated from the others, not attempting to give a unified customer experience.
The customer is at the center of the omnichannel marketing model. All marketing by a brand to that customer must coordinate and tell part of a larger story in a seamless, unified way. This means that a customer can access information from any of their channels, as there is unity between them.
Customers like consistency between channels. They view your brand as being organized and that you pay attention to the fine details. Your branding on your Facebook page should match that on your LinkedIn page, your newspaper ads, your website, your YouTube channel, and even your office building. Although some channels, such as radio and podcasts, may lack the visuals of the rest of your marketing, the audio matches the soundtrack styles of your other media, such as your television advertising and TikTok videos. Omnichannel marketing focuses on the small details, ensuring individuals face a consistent experience.
Multichannel marketing has the company at its center. The brand uses multiple channels to deliver essentially the same message to a broad audience. There will inevitably be some overlap and duplication, but multichannel marketers use this to reinforce their message. Each channel delivers the company message to the consumers independently of other media. One negative effect of this for consumers can be saturation marketing which can create negative thoughts towards your brand.
Omnichannel marketing takes a more intelligent approach. It recognizes when a consumer has seen a message on one channel and adapts what it delivers on another channel. For example, suppose a customer positively reacts to a Facebook ad for a product and makes a purchase. In that case, the brand will stop pitching the product on other channels and instead message something relevant post-purchase. Omnichannel marketing involves a far higher level of personalization than multichannel marketing does.
5 Tips for eCommerce Businesses Implementing an Omnichannel Strategy
1. Get Your Whole Team on Board
You are unlikely to create a fully unified experience if your team doesn't recognize the importance of doing so.
An essential part of this is ensuring that all of your team have access to customer data. If your customer is going to be at the center of your marketing, then your team members need to understand your customers. Marketers need this data so they can send the right messages to customers at the best times.
However, for marketers to succeed, they need involvement from the rest of your team. Your production and purchasing teams need to understand your customers' product needs and wishes to ensure that they have suitable and desirable goods available for customers to purchase. Your customer service team, indeed, all customer-facing staff, needs to understand their customers' concerns and ensure that they have consistent conversations with each customer.
You can't have your departments working in silos – they need to interact and work consistently as one large team.
2. Research Your Customers
Of course, for this to work, you need to know your customer base well. Ideally, you should learn everything you can about your customers.
You can begin this process by investigating what the customer experience is truly like. For example, if you run an eCommerce store, go to your site and see how easy it is to navigate. Make a purchase at your online store and examine the experience. Imagine if you were a first-time user. Would it be a positive, unifying experience? Is your branding consistent throughout the whole experience? Is the process simple and easy to follow? Remember that you are looking at the entire experience. This should include everything that happens from the first time a potential customer searches for your product type or visits your website and all marketing touchpoints until the post-sale stage. Include any ads that follow them on social media as well as any post-sale emails you may send.
Make a point of gathering customer feedback. Ensure that you ask for comments at different stages of the purchasing journey, not just when they have made a purchase. For example, you will want to talk to people who came to your website and then moved on without buying anything to understand their reasons for moving to another site.
3. Target Your Messages and Use Personalization Extensively
An essential requirement for omnichannel marketing is that you carefully target and personalize your messages. One practical way of achieving this is by using the data you collect to segment your lists. You can accomplish this particularly easily with email marketing, as most email marketing platforms allow you to send to different lists depending on various criteria you set. You can also relatively easily target your ads on social media like Facebook and Instagram.
You can segment on many criteria, including demographics, psychographics, and geographical location. You can also segment on campaign engagement and shopping behavior, such as where your customer is in the purchasing cycle when they last purchased one of your products, their shopping patterns, and the like.
When you segment your lists, you can ensure that you send appropriate messages and not generic, irrelevant ones.
4. Measure Relevant Data
Using quality data is essential to successful omnichannel marketing. You need to ensure that you track the correct metrics to indicate the success of your campaigns. For instance, you will be far more interested in engagement statistics than raw follower numbers. Similarly, you will want to establish the percentage of the people you present social ads to who click on them and take action.
Use your CRM data, social listening data, and online search behavior to establish an in-depth overview of your customers. You can use all this data to segment your lists to create personalized journeys for your clients.
5. Regularly Test Your Strategies
You can improve the quality of your data by continually testing your processes. Be prepared to make regular changes as the result of your testing. Over time you will discover which of your messages appeal to particular audiences.
Facebook advertisers regularly carry out A/B tests on the effectiveness of potential ads. You can also use these tests, or more complex multivariate tests, with many email clients, comparing the efficacy of different emails, or even just email subject lines. You should continually test all facets of your messages, including messages, headers/subject lines, images, times, etc.
Survey your customers to discover what they genuinely think about your marketing message. Does your campaign come across as personalized and relevant, generic and boring, or indeed intrusive and creepy? Regularly update your processes to help you ensure that you are targeting your promotions correctly to all types of current and potential customers.