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The seamless marketing experience: why omnichannel?

February, 2019

With quality as a given expectation, customers seek meaningful experiences and interactions with brands. As we mentioned in last month’s blog, businesses are now facing an experience economy, where customers pay for the experience rather than mere goods. The Customer Journey starts from the first encounter with the brand to visiting your website to buy the product. With the rise in social media’s dominance in the past years, businesses have recognized the importance of securing a foothold on all these platforms, known as multichannel marketing.

While multichannel marketing ensures that the brand will reach its audiences on all platforms, it does not necessarily create a seamless journey between offline and the online channels. The customer will see the brand’s message, content, and advertisements online, yet they might feel disconnected when they visit the actual shop or online store. OmniChannel Marketing refers to the creation of a seamless experience for the customer during their journey. For example, let’s say a potential customer, Sally, spots a catchy advertisement while scrolling through her Facebook feed. She will click to see more and will probably land on the brand’s page, which would then prompt her to make a visit to one of their stores. When she physically enters the store, she opens the brand’s website to browse through the items she liked. This prompts a pop-in ad about a latest product available or discount. That would be an example of a successful omnichannel experience that transports the customer through their buying journey in a seamless and natural flow.

In fact, small additions such as including free Wi-Fi in stores that allow the customers to easily access the brand’s social media pages or website can go a long way in improving the in-store experience. Not only did 72% of customers state that the in-store experience is the most important channel when making a purchase, but also 71% of customers use their smartphones to visit websites or apps while shopping for the purpose of looking at items and/or answering any last-minute questions they may have. The importance of creating an integrative and interactive experience for the customers through omnichannel marketing also translates in the major difference in customer retention; brands with omnichannel marketing retain 89% of their customers compared to 33% retention rate for brands without an omnichannel strategy.

So with all that in mind, how can your brand improve its omnichannel marketing strategy?

1. Categorize channels according to their place in the customer journey

While it is important to be on different channels for optimal exposure and reach, being everywhere can lead to omnichannel fatigue. Wrong content on wrong channels tires out both customers and marketers; the former due to their oversaturation with campaigns, and the latter because of unrewarding but increasing efforts to improve the success of these campaigns. The key is not being everywhere, it is being on the right channels that your customers are on and customizing the content of each channel depending on where it is in the customer journey.

2. Humanize your brand by telling its story and giving it an identity

How do people form close relationships? By knowing each other’s stories and creating a connection. The same applies to your business. Customers want to know the backstory of the brand and what it wants to achieve; they want to know how the business started, what passion drove its creation, what problems it wants to solve, and what values it stands for. It’s important to give this story a personality through a unique voice that is reflected consistently in all the content you produce. Yet, as with all relationships, it is a two-way street, therefore it is important that the company also listens to and engages with the stories of its customers.

3. Maintain a consistent message between the offline and online

The store is often the last stop in a customer’s journey, with the possibility of being a detrimental one if their journey doesn’t end with a successful purchase. This is obvious, but the tricky part behind it is for the brand to ensure that all the pre-purchase momentum it created online is carried through to the store. If the customer gets disillusioned because the real store is different from the image the online channels portrayed, they’re more likely to turn and leave. By continuing the brand story you started online into the physical store, you help create the seamless shopping experience that your customers crave. A brand can leverage the in-store experience through maintaining their messaging consistently offline and online, while facilitating the customer’s move between them through free in-store Wi-Fi, mobile guides, etc.

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