Setting up an omnichannel strategy needs to be a gradual process. You need to understand your buyers’ personas, map their journey with your brand, and slowly expand into platforms where they are available. The key is to be consistent in your communication and engagement across all platforms and to have a good tech stack to garner data and insights to design effective campaigns.
Are you familiar with the Starbucks Rewards app? It’s quoted as one of the best examples of omnichannel marketing.
Here’s how it works.
Once you get your free Starbucks rewards card, you can use it to make a purchase at Starbucks, across its website, in-store, and on the mobile app. It’s omnichannel because your purchase information gets updated in real-time across all channels.
For example, let’s say you’re standing in line to get a coffee at a Starbucks store. You suddenly realize that you don’t have enough balance in your rewards app to pay for it. You reload your card while standing in the line. By the time you reach the counter to pay for your coffee, your cashier will know that your balance has been updated, and she’ll swipe the card. This is a simple example of how omnichannel marketing works.
Like Starbucks, there are a number of brands out there that have adopted an omnichannel strategy to create a seamless experience for their customers across multiple touch points.
But, the question that often comes to mind is; what is omnichannel marketing? And, how different is it from multi-channel marketing? Let’s find out.
Multi-channel vs Omnichannel Marketing
Multi-channel marketing is a strategy where information is available in silos across different channels where the brand is present. For example, a B2B brand may have its own website, a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn page. And, the information it provides and the customer interactions it holds across each of these channels are available in silos in those channels alone.
Omnichannel marketing, on the other hand, is one where there is consistency in the information that is made available across all channels. Let’s look at an example of how omnichannel marketing works when it comes to customer support. Let’s say an existing client has an subscription to some B2B software. She is experiencing some issues with the software and she wants to solve the problem. If she reaches out to the support team on Facebook, a ticket is raised, and logged into the customer support database. The next time she engages with the brand and talks to support via the customer care number, the support team has a record of her earlier interactions, even if it was through another channel.
This is because the omnichannel system ensures that that particular customer’s interactions (browsing patterns, purchase history, support history, etc.) with the brand across all channels are available in one place for the team. In this case, having the customer’s information in one place ensures that the issue is resolved seamlessly and efficiently without multiple back and forths.
5 Ways to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Experience for Your Customers
If your brand is thinking of trying omnichannel marketing, here are a few things you need to keep in mind;
- Map your customers’ or buyers’ personas across the board
Before you go about setting up an omnichannel strategy, analyse who your customers are, where they are from, their age, location, demographics, and more. For example, for a brand like Sephora, having an omnichannel presence on social media channels, on mobile, on the website and in-store makes sense.
For example, let’s say a customer has browsed through a few products on mobile and added them to cart. Later, when they visit the physical store, they can view their cart items in the in-store tablets, try them on in-store, and purchase them offline.
On the other hand, there are some brands for whom an omnichannel marketing strategy works differently. Orvis is one such brand. Orvis supplies fly fishing, hunting, and sporting goods to its customers. When it researched its first-party data, it realised that most of its customers are 50+, affluent, and aren’t accustomed to digital platforms. To cater to this TG, they equipped all their in-store employees with a tablet pre-installed with CRM software and necessary e-commerce tools. So, when a customer walks into the store, and a product is out-of-stock, the employee can order stock from the backend to be delivered into the store. Similarly, in-store employees can assist their customers in shopping online or in-store, and make online offers available to them.
- Segment your audience
This step is crucial if you have a range of products or services that cater to different audience groups. Segmenting ensures you reach the right customer with the right set of products or services based on their age, persona, browsing patterns, geography, past purchases, purchase intent and more.
- Map out your customer’s journey
Mapping your customer’s journey can help you identify the different touchpoints they are interacting with, and find out where there is a bottleneck before leading to a purchase. For example, if your customer has interacted with your campaign on social media, visited your product site, added to cart, and not purchased the item, you can design campaigns that nudge them to make the purchase. For example, you can create an email campaign with an offer or discount on the products they have in cart, or you can engage with them via chat to find out if they are having any problems in the checkout process and such. Mapping and creating journey relevant campaigns increases the chances of a sale.
- Don’t rush into establishing a presence across multiple channels
Creating an omnichannel marketing strategy is a gradual process. First, you need to understand where your customers are present. Then, you need to ensure you have the bandwidth to be present and engage consistently with your customers across all these channels.
For example, let’s say you are an online retail brand, and you currently have a website. If you’re planning to go omnichannel, you can initially establish a presence in social media channels, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Then, you can build a mobile app, if you find that a large portion of your customers find it easier to browse on phone. You need to take it slow, because if you have a presence in Facebook and LinkedIn, and you are responsive only on either of the platforms, your customers will notice and this might hamper their experience with your brand.
- Create consistent but relevant messaging across all platforms
One of the keys to creating a seamless customer experience lies in ensuring consistency across all channels that you’re present in. This means, while your content and core messaging can be the same, it needs to be altered in a way that it caters to your customers in that particular platform. For example, you can go content heavy in an email marketing campaign, but you need to go photo or video heavy in LinkedIn or Facebook. Making your LinkedIn campaign content-heavy can throw off your customers, and reduce their engagement levels with your brand on that platform.
- Add the right CTAs for each platform
The seamless experience should extend into the CTA you give your customers as well. For example, if your customer interacts with your ad on social media, the CTA should redirect them to the mobile version of your brand, not the desktop version.
A Merit expert adds, “Similarly, if the customer is engaging with your support email, and needs to schedule a call with you, your CTA should redirect them to the link where they can download the meeting app, instead of starting an automatic download. It’s also a good idea to customise your CTA by audience segment, based on certain data inputs.”
In conclusion, creating an omnichannel strategy is not easy because it requires you to analyze data from multiple channels and identify patterns and insights into how your customer or potential customer is interacting with your brand across different touchpoints.
Thankfully, there are apps that can collate these data in the backend and bring up patterns that you can then study and act upon. So, as the last but most important step to setting up an omnichannel strategy, you need to invest in a good tech stack to guide you around the massive amounts of data you’re about to collect from your customers’ journey.
Merit Group’s expertise in Marketing Data
At Merit Group, we partner with some of the world’s leading B2B companies. Our data teams work closely with our clients to build comprehensive B2B marketing contact lists that provide a direct line to their target audience.
If you’d like to learn more about our service offerings or speak to a marketing data consultant, please contact us here: https://www.meritdata-tech.com/contact-us
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