Omnichannel marketing has become a huge topic in marketing and ecommerce circles over the past few years. While it seems like everyone has their own vague definition for what the term might mean, many get it confused with other terms floating around.
Luckily today, we’ve got the full explanation of what omnichannel marketing actually is, some statistics on how it works for ecommerce, and some useful tips for getting started.
Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that aims to create a seamless shopping experience from the first touchpoint to the last, regardless of the channel your customer is using.
While that seems like it’s vague, that’s because it can be implemented in a variety of ways. The point is that every time a customer has an interaction with your brand, or a touchpoint, it needs to feel like a continuation of the previous one.
How is this achieved? By making sure that every time your brand is in front of your customer’s eyes, no matter what channel they use, the message that you’re sending is relevant to that customer.
You might be thinking, “Wait, so I need a lot of channels? Isn’t that multichannel marketing?”
The short answer is not quite.
The biggest difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing is where the customer lies in your strategy.
Multichannel marketing means having a unified message across all channels. However, that message isn’t necessarily going to be relevant for each individual customer. It might be relevant for the vast majority, but there won’t be the level of minute personalization you get with omnichannel marketing.
Personalization is where omnichannel marketing has yet to be beaten by any other marketing strategy. That's because it places your customers at the center of the entire marketing structure. At every touchpoint, your brand's messages adapt to exactly what your customer needs, as well as the channel they choose to communicate with.
By placing your customer at the center of your marketing strategy, not only is every message appropriate for the channel but also relevant to exactly where they are in the customer journey.
And, sensibly, the better their experiences are when interacting with your brand, the more interactions they will want to do. That allows you access to more and more data. When integrated into a powerful omnichannel marketing tool, that data will lead to better personalization and, consequently, more sales and better brand affinity.
Unfortunately, shifting to an omnichannel marketing strategy isn't as simple as identifying more channels for your customers to enjoy and making them available. To truly adopt an omnichannel approach, you need to make significant changes to the way you do business. Otherwise, you'll be spending on a simple multichannel strategy that won't be capable of bringing in the results you expect.
Yes, it will definitely be an enormous endeavor, but one that will lead to tremendous growth for your business. Besides, there is software made specifically for this purpose and will cover all the details of running an omnichannel business. Your role will be to get your business ready for it.
Here are the most crucial steps you need to take:
Restructuring your marketing processes to become customer-centric requires the participation of every person in your company, not just the marketing team.
Everyone has to work together, and every position has a role to play in terms of collecting customer data. Every person also needs to learn how to harness that data to personalize each and every customer interaction.
The benefits of placing customers at the center of your strategy eventually trickle down to everyone in your company.
Your marketing team is able to craft the most relevant offers, your sales team knows how best to close those deals, and your customer service team knows exactly how to respond to your customers' needs as well as keep conversations consistent.
The data you collect from all your customer interactions is a goldmine, but only if you know how to use it to your advantage. To start, audit your entire customer experience. Go through the purchase process as a whole and interact with all your available channels.
Additionally, you can gather feedback from your customers so that you can make improvements based on their actual experiences and opinions. By doing all this, not only will you gain insights on what your business can improve on, but you'll also get a full appreciation of how to use your data at each step of the purchase process.
Once you have a better appreciation for your customer journey, you can use your data to craft messages that aren't just relevant to where the recipient is on their customer journey but also suited to their preferences.
Depending on the platform you're using, you could also use your data to develop automation workflows to reach your customers with the right message at exactly the right time, and with practically no effort at all.
It can't be stressed enough that the core of a successful omnichannel strategy is personalization. And, part of personalization is knowing exactly who your customer is and how best to communicate with them.
To achieve that, you need to segment your audiences into different interest groups, which makes it easier to tailor your messages to elicit your desired action.
Depending on how capable your tool is when it comes to segmentation, you should be able to target your audiences in great detail. You could even create dynamic segments that change according to where your audiences are on the customer journey.
For example, you can pinpoint those who haven't purchased from you in the past 30 days and reach out to them with a relevant message accompanied by a great offer. Then, given the data you have on their preferred communication platforms, you'll be able to reach out on precisely the right channel that's most likely to prompt a purchase.
Omnichannel works, but it will work differently for different businesses. No matter what, you need to build a strategy that's suited not just to your store but, more importantly, your customers. Start with what you already know about your business and your audience, and use that to guide you through each of your processes.
As you collect more data, you'll want to keep analyzing them. Doing so will help you actively improve your business and, consequently, your sales.
You'll want to test often and test everything. Experiment with different subject lines, content, format, offers, etc. Test your segments and determine whether you can segment in even more detail for even better targeting.
Also, test your channels to learn how best to use each one. Over time, the insights that you gain from the data you collect and analyze will lead to the perfect formula for how to market your business.
Today, as more and more companies (both large and small) have successfully adopted an omnichannel marketing strategy, there's no longer any doubt as to whether or not it works.
The question you should really ask is whether it's worth the effort because shifting to an entirely different marketing structure will require some serious work. Also, what kind of results can you expect from the shift?
We studied the difference between marketers who used one channel (almost always email), and those who used three channels or more within an omnichannel campaign. Within those omnichannel campaigns, we found three main benefits over single-channel campaigns.
There are plenty of factors that can affect the results you get from adopting an omnichannel approach to marketing.
But, think about this for a moment: Across all industries, marketers who use at least three channels to communicate with their audience enjoy a purchase rate that's 287% higher than those who limit themselves to a single channel.
That's a 14.8% increase from what it was in 2018, and it's expected to continue growing as customers become accustomed to using multiple channels.
On top of that, not only are customers more likely to purchase from multichannel brands, but they also spend more. In fact, recent statistics show that marketing campaigns run across at least three channels prompt buyers to spend 13% more than on single-channel campaigns.
This means that not only are omnichannel customers spending more often, they’re also spending more, period.
Ecommerce marketers have the most to gain from this approach. According to recent statistics, adopting an omnichannel strategy allows them to enjoy retention rates that are 90% higher than what they typically got from a single channel.
And, because it's easier (and cheaper) to maintain loyal customers than to continuously seek out new customers, you won't just end up making more money but saving more as well.
So, the numbers show that being present on more than three channels means customers are not only more likely to make a purchase but also spend more on your brand, AND make another purchase in the future, the shift to an omnichannel marketing strategy is definitely worth the effort.
It is only through an omnichannel marketing approach that you can offer your customers a consistent experience across all touchpoints. If you do this successfully, you don't just boost customer engagement but also your users' affinity for your brand.
They'll love you more for always giving them satisfying experiences that are relevant to whatever channel they choose to communicate with. In the end, all that leads to better sales.
It might sound overwhelming to maintain a good presence on multiple channels and get them all working in unison to provide a seamless experience to each of your customers. However, all it really takes is the help of the right tool.
With the right choice of omnichannel marketing software, you can manage all activities on all your channels, all in one place. Then, you'll only be limited by your vision as a marketer and entrepreneur.