Omnichannel Marketing in 7 Minutes
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You visit a website and add an item to cart, without checkout. A few days later, you receive an email from the eCommerce store with a discount code to purchase the item in your cart. This is omnichannel marketing at play.
These days, customers have higher expectations from eCommerce businesses. They want to interact with your brand across multiple channels, and they expect the same experience across the board. To win as an eCommerce business, you need to provide one unique, streamlined, seamless, and connected experience to your customers across digital and physical channels. Omnichannel marketing can help you achieve this.
Omnichannel marketing explained
Omnichannel marketing integrates all your marketing channels — both online and offline — and uses them to deliver one continuous, seamless experience to your customers. It speaks to the intersection between the digital and physical — the intersection between the typical brick-and-mortar store and digital experiences, as well as the intersection between an eCommerce store and digital experiences alike.
Omnichannel marketing requires you to understand the customer journey and create an integrated, personalized, and seamless experience across multiple channels and devices. It goes beyond your social media or website but also involves examples such as email marketing, automated text messaging, or social media click-through integrations. Some examples of this are:
- A customer visiting a physical store and receiving an SMS or email on their phone with promotions of that brand while browsing
- Receiving a cart-abandonment message via an automated text message through SMS, Facebook Messenger, or email
- Social media integrations of a posted product photo on Instagram with a click-through link to the product on your website
- Remarketing of viewed products through banner ads in mobile apps and social media (e.g., Instagram stories)
- Shops selling their products on social media sites (social selling) such as Instagram Product Posts, Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Shop, or Pinterest Shopping
Omnichannel marketing vs. multichannel marketing
The major difference between omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing is how the channels work.
In omnichannel marketing, the channels are seamlessly integrated, so they function as a continuous system and create one experience for customers. Customers can switch between channels with zero effect on their experience. They can start a conversation on Twitter and continue it via email seamlessly.
In multichannel marketing, each channel operates independently from other channels. Customer interactions happen simultaneously across the various touch points, but the channels do not operate as part of a whole.
|Channel Focus||A division between channels each with separate strategies and storylines. Overall, creates a separate experience||Complete integration of multi-channels all voicing the same strategies, storylines, and experience|
|Channel Scope||Across retail websites, in-store, website and mobile channel||Across retail websites, in-store, social media, website, mobile channel, and customer touchpoints|
|Degree of integration||Separate||Integrated completely|
|Channel Management||Per-channel||Across all channels|
|Level of personalization||Separate personalization||Integrated personalization|
Benefits of omnichannel marketing
Having a consistent and seamless experience as customers hop from channel to channel (which they do) allows you to deliver connected experiences and build deeper connections with your customers. This yields several benefits for your business like:
1. More sales
Shoppers who are targeted with omnichannel marketing spend more money than customers who interact with your business on a single channel. In 2021, Symphony RetailAI examined 421 million shopping baskets and discovered that grocery shoppers exposed to omnichannel marketing spent up to 20% more than store-exclusive customers.
More sales increase your business cash flow and profit margins, providing enough monetary resources to scale your eCommerce store.
2. Better customer insights
McKinsey’s Next in Personalization 2021 Report states that “Seventy-one percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And seventy-six percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.”
You need customer data to do personalization right. Omnichannel marketing provides a large data pool from which to draw customer insights. You can collect customer behavior data across multiple channels of interaction — from social media to email and purchase history data on your website.
3. Higher customer retention rates
A 2019 report by Omnisend shows that customers targeted with omnichannel marketing are more likely to make repeat purchases than those targeted with single-channel marketing.
Customer retention is even more important for eCommerce businesses looking to scale. It’s cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. And existing customers spend more money and are more likely to shop new products from your store.
Omnichannel best practices
The key to successful omnichannel marketing is knowing your customer, to the point that your marketing strategy is subtle and unnoticeable up until the customer makes their purchase. Keep these three best practices in mind when adopting an omnichannel marketing approach for your eCommerce business.
1. The customer always comes first
Omnichannel marketing is customer driven, so to do it right, you must understand your customers and their behavior patterns.
Gathering data on customer interactions can help you understand their overall experience with your brand, shopping behavior and what the customer journey looks like. And there are several ways to achieve this:
- Collect demographics and persona insights from your CRM software.
- Conduct customer feedback surveys to better understand their pain points.
- Use SEO and SEM data to know what search terms your customers are looking for.
2. Mobile-first experience
The majority of the omnichannel experience is actually driven by mobile devices. A Think with Google report states that “70% of smartphone users who bought something in a [physical] store first turned to their phone for information about that purchase.”
To create better mobile experiences for customers, aim for your website to load in 0–4 seconds. You can use PageSpeed Insights and Mobile Speed Test Tool to measure your store’s mobile speed. If your eCommerce store is too slow, you can optimize page speed load times through lazy loading for images and a content delivery network.
Lazy loading means that the most important elements for your website’s functionality load first before the images, allowing users to start navigating your store as soon as they get there. A content delivery network delivers your store’s content to shoppers via the server closest to them, which makes your website load faster.
A reported 65% of shoppers prefer content in their language, even if it’s poor quality. Nobody wants to feel like a fish out of water, especially your customers. If your eCommerce store ships internationally, what better way into your customer’s hearts than to speak their language?
Internationalization starts with optimizing your content and channels for the local languages of customers in different communities, and you can do this easily in your content management system. But to be truly omnichannel, internationalization must go beyond the website — whether that be through language-specific reviews or currency conversions and local preferred payment options. Social media pages are a prime example of contributing to the local community with country-specific pages collaborating with local influencers, using the language and lingo, and engaging with the community through storytelling.
Examples of eCommerce businesses doing omnichannel right
Want to key into omnichannel marketing but not sure where to start? We’ve selected some of the best examples of eCommerce businesses excelling in omnichannel marketing to inspire you.
Van Heusen is one of India’s biggest stores for business and casual clothing. To reach its customers, the store merges online and brick-and-mortar marketing.
Van Heusen’s digitally immersive store enhances shoppers’ fit and fashion experiences. Shoppers can see the latest fashion styles through the store’s digital signages. The store has an AI-powered size stream that provides shoppers with their exact body measurements in just a few minutes. They can try outfits out virtually and get real-time advice from AI and in-house fashion experts.
After checking out an outfit in the store, customers can purchase the customized item from any online store where Van Heusen items are in stock, whenever they want.
Why it works: It delivers a personalized shopping experience for customers in an efficient and convenient way.
Founded by Johnny Pastos, Pastos.co is a sustainable furniture company based in Sussex using omnichannel marketing to drive customer acquisition and sales. The company hand-makes furniture to order from reclaimed wood and has recently launched a small (set to grow) homewares section.
Pastos.co uses social media to drive sales and customer acquisition. On its Instagram shop, it regularly shares images of new furniture with a direct link to the website and Etsy store, where customers can purchase the item. It also promotes these images to boost their reach and get them in front of more potential customers.
Customers can also join its email list to get early updates on freebies, discounts, and the latest items in the store.
D2C brand Imagine Woodworking has seen success with omnichannel marketing across email, SMS, paid and organic social (on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), search, and even Zoom webinars.
It has over 7,000 subscribers on its YouTube channels, where it regularly shares educational videos plus links to related website content. Customers can also shop items directly on Instagram or via its website, which is also linked in its Instagram bio.
Speaking of the results, Zach Grove, co-founder of Imagine Woodworking, said, “To measure all of the efforts of our omnichannel marketing, we recently implemented a post-purchase survey to ask our first-time customers: ‘How did you first hear about Imagine Woodworking?’ We now know that 35.14% of our new customers mention YouTube, 8.11% mention Google/search, and so on—with 11 different sources in total. If we didn’t market in an omnichannel way, we’d be leaving a ton of revenue on the table.”
The Bay is one of Canada’s largest retail stores. Its Holiday Your Way campaign on TikTok is one of the most successful omnichannel marketing examples.
Users scan branded TikCodes found in any The Bay physical store, social media channels, or even the website. Then they can enter the online Holiday Your Way challenge, share their personal holiday content, and be featured on The Bay’s content platforms.
The company used popular TikTok creators to drive awareness for the campaign. It also curated an online retail store where users could browse and purchase trending items from the campaign.
According to TikTok, the Hashtag Challenge had close to “1 billion video views, with 196 thousand video creations from 86 thousand creators and an engagement rate of 11.52%.”
Implement omnichannel marketing faster when you go headless
Going headless means detaching your website’s content hub from its frontend (what users see and interact with). With this independence, you can deliver the same content entries to multiple channels simultaneously, so your customers enjoy the same experience no matter where or how they interact with your brand.
You can go headless with Storyblok. Storyblok supports multiple omnichannel marketing features like internationalization, seamless content management and delivery, and data insights gathering. Brands like HappySocks, Adidas, and Pizza Hut Australia are using Storyblok’s headless CMS to organize their content in one central place.