What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Customers have always been at the heart of the business and without them, businesses fail. How a business engages with its customers often determines its success. Connecting with customers and keeping them has always been a challenge.
As a marketer, you hear new terminology as marketing progresses. We have moved between single-channel, multichannel, cross-channel through to omnichannel marketing. This can make you feel lost in the marketing world, leading to questions such as:
- Is omnichannel marketing a fad?
- How will it help my business?
- Is it the same as multichannel marketing?
- How do I put it in place?
- Is it worth the investment?
This can lead to a lot of confusion, worry, and stress.
What exactly is omnichannel Marketing?
The simplest definition is:
“Omnichannel marketing focuses on delivering a consistent, personalised experience for shoppers across all channels and devices.”
But isn’t that the same as multichannel, I hear you say. True, both are marketing strategies that use several marketing channels, but that is where the similarities stop.
Multichannel puts the brand at the centre of its marketing activities, spanning several channels. The brand message stays static. Data used is siloed from each other, which means channels are independent of one another. Each channel has its own marketing department which uses its own data. The department has its own plan, strategy and KPIs. The focus is on how a customer action is completed through a specific channel.
For example, a keen golfer is part of a Facebook golf group, an advert pops up for a promotion on golf balls. The golfer clicks on the advert, directing that person to the website where they can buy the golf balls. The golfer decides to purchase some. The promotion is only available by clicking the Facebook advert. A channel-specific action has been completed.
Omnichannel puts the customer at the centre of an organisations marketing activities. The concept is to provide a seamless customer experience. Customers encounter integrated brand messages and customer touchpoints as they progress through their journey. Integrating data allow departments to work together, providing a personalised experience.
An example of an omnichannel experience could be where you are browsing Instagram for fashion ideas. You find a look or an item(s) that you like so you click the post re-directing you to the item(s) on the website.
After adding the item(s) to a favourite’s list they become reserved. A confirmation is sent notifying you of your reservation and when the item(s) will be ready to try in-store. A notification is later sent through an app or an email notifying you the item(s) are ready to try on. You make your way to the store: you receive a notification as you approach the store about where to go to get your reservation.
After trying on the item(s) you decide not to purchase. A few days later, a notification that new items or styles that may be of interest have arrived in store. You have been retargeted.
The experience has several stages. You decided you have a need so started doing research, in this case, on Instagram. You have decided on what you like, which leads you to browse the website where the item(s) are sold.
They are added to your favourites list, you decide that you would like to try on the item(s). You visit the store and decide not to purchase. All these actions have provided the brand with data on your preferences.
The data collected during this engagement is integrated to deliver a personalised shopping experience. This includes notifying you the items are reserved, where to find them in-store and new styles you may be interested in.
Several channels used include the brand’s app, Instagram and even email. This makes the engagement within that brand seamless and personal
Why should I switch to an omnichannel strategy?
You may look at omnichannel thinking this looks great. But will it be expensive to put in place, train and get organisational buy-in from all levels? True, it can be a significant change. It’s a shift in organisational mentality across all levels, starting from the ground up.
Organisational goals and KPIs must change along with employee mindsets. This can be difficult to ask when they have worked so hard towards specific departmental goals in the past.
There are lots of benefits to providing an omnichannel experience. In 2019, Omnisend analysed over 2 billion campaigns sent in 2018, identifying some clear trends. The key finding showed that customers responded positively to an omnichannel strategy.
Organisations using three or more marketing channels earned 18.96% engagement and those who use a single-channel campaign only received 5.4% engagement.
Engagement doesn’t guarantee revenue. Campaigns that used three or more channels earned a 250% higher purchase rate, compared to those that use a single channel.
Customers who engaged with omnichannel campaigns bought more often. On average they spent 13% more than those who engaged with single-channel campaigns.
According to Deloitte’s Digital Influence study in 2016, 56% of all bricks-and-mortar purchases were preceded by some form of digital engagement. Highlighting that customers opt to click and collect.
The International Council of Shopping Centers revealed in America that 39% of shoppers plan to use click and collect, a 5% increase from 2015.
These key findings are from American studies. However, according to JRNI’s Third Annual Modern Consumer Report in 2019, these findings stay consistent across the globe.
Customers are more discerning about which brands to shop with. They are bombarded with messages from brands they have engaged with in the past.
An example would be you browse a website. The next time you visit your social media you will receive many social media adverts on your profiles. All from one brief engagement. The result is that customers are being more selective about who they give their custom to.
Employing an omnichannel strategy helps you create bespoke customer engagements. These engagements can separate your brand from your competitors.
By using omnichannel marketing to engage with customers, you can capture more data. You learn more about your customers. This helps you develop brand messaging centred around the customer.
This leads to better trust between customers and brands. It creates positive customer engagements and increases customer satisfaction. Crucially, it helps you stand out from your competitors.
It is important to remember that omnichannel marketing isn’t about using every channel available. The focus is to use the data collected to help you engage with customers using the most appropriate channels with an integrated brand message. This ensures your activities have continuity and are seamless.
The question is, why wouldn’t you consider an omnichannel strategy? You may feel it is a significant organisational change. However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives, and you’ll become a stronger brand by employing this strategy.
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