What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel Marketing is the integration of a business’s marketing channels that provides customers with a seamless, unified brand experience. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to meaningfully engage with customers no matter the time, device, or channel and to create a cohesive experience that inspires customers to take action, be it on a mobile device, desktop computer or at a brick-and-mortar store.
Omnichannel is more than just the latest marketing buzzword – it represents an enormous shift in the way businesses manage customer interactions in response to a changing business environment. The customer path-to-purchase is no longer a straight line. A purchase that is sparked by a social media post can be followed up with internet research on a desktop and completed on a tablet or in a brick-and-mortar store.
Overall, the benefits of successfully implementing omnichannel marketing strategies include improving the customer experience, improving customer retention and giving businesses more complete insight into the customer lifecycle.
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Multichannel vs. Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing is a multichannel marketing approach, but it is not multichannel marketing. However, omnichannel marketing is sometimes referred to as an advanced stage of multichannel marketing. While both strategies aim to interact with the audience over multiple channels, there is a significant difference in primary focus. The focus in multichannel marketing is on the brand itself, while in omnichannel marketing the focus is on the customer.
Multichannel Marketing: Brand Focus
Multichannel marketing puts the brand at the center of the marketing campaign. It aims to reach customers on two or more channels, giving them a choice on the method of interaction, be it through a website, social media or over the phone. For example, a clothing company might run multiple marketing operations simultaneously over many channels; an email promotion, a social media flash sale, in-store-only discounts, and paid search engine advertising. There is a focus on driving sales in each channel, separately.
Multichannel marketing seeks to cast the widest possible net for customer engagement. The strategy is to expose the brand to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. As a result, different content and messaging may be communicated on different channels, in order to meet individual channel sales goals.
In short, multichannel marketing allows many people to gain opportunities to interact with the brand in a short period of time, but they may receive disjointed messages across multiple channels.
Omnichannel Marketing – Customer Focus
Omnichannel marketing puts the customer at the center of the marketing campaign and aims to elevate customer cross-channel experience. While multiple channels are used, there is a focus on creating the same consistent experience across all channels. For example, Disney – a leader in omnichannel marketing – lets customers buy their tickets online (from a desktop, tablet, or mobile device), use their app to locate attractions or view wait times, and use a smart wristband as a FastPass or hotel room key.
Omnichannel marketing aims to create a heightened sense of brand familiarity and an effortless buying experience by communicating a cohesive message across multiple channels. With a focus on the customer, omnichannel marketing increases potential for high customer retention rate and sales. However, omnichannel marketing campaigns are often complex and expensive.
What Are The Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel Marketing Benefit #1
Integration of Marketing Analytics and Cross Channel Insights
In multichannel marketing, analytics from each channel are stored in silos, with no interaction or influence with other channels’ data. In omnichannel marketing, data from each channel is considered together as a whole. 67% of all retail customers begin shopping on one device and finish on another, or even in-store.
Omnichannel analytics makes it easier to interact with customer data and to see which channels are most successful in leading to a purchase; this can lead to a more transparent marketing strategy and ultimately, reduction in marketing costs. A holistic picture of channel data can help companies better meet customer needs and predict inventory.
Omnichannel Marketing Benefit #2
Increase in Revenue
Omnichannel marketing’s goal is to make an effortless buying experience for the customer. Studies have shown that omnichannel shoppers actually do spend 10% more money online than shoppers who only use one channel. It’s also been shown that omnichannel shoppers purchased 15% more items when they were shopping, compared to traditional shoppers.
Omnichannel Marketing Benefit #3
Increase in Customer Retention and Lifetime Value
In addition to spending more money, omnichannel shoppers are more likely to become long-term customers. Compared to shoppers who only used one channel, omnichannel shoppers had 23% more repeat shopping trips within six months after the initial shop and were also more likely to recommend the brand.
Omnichannel Marketing Benefit #4
Customer self-service is a valuable part of an omnichannel experience – 67% of shoppers prefer using self-service to speaking to a company representative. A digital assistant or chat helps keep a line of open communication with the customer, and allows for a chance to receive feedback about the customer’s experience.
67% of all retail customers begin shopping on one device and finish on another, or even in-store.
Omnichannel Marketing – Challenges & Risks
Managing and analyzing a complex web of channels can be challenging in omnichannel marketing. There are a whole host of problems that come from managing multiple channels, including information silos, technological challenges, consistency across channels, consumer privacy, and fraud.
Budgets are a major challenge in omnichannel marketing. According to one survey, budget was reported as the most challenging aspect of omnichannel marketing and most respondents did not feel like they had the resources to complete a successful omnichannel marketing campaign. Omnichannel marketing can also require technological upgrades for a company, which can be costly.
Difficulty Tracking The Customer Journey
A customer’s journey to purchase can be challenging to track. Managing data across channels is certainly not an easy task; before in multichannel marketing, all channel data was in its own silo and usually did not interact with any other channels data.
Increased Technical Expertise
Marketing across multiple channels poses technological problems, including managing all the data obtained from omnichannel analytics. It’s essential that a company have staff who are capable of navigating IT, and making the omnichannel experience user-friendly and intuitive for customers.
Consistency in Brand Messaging
A consistent brand message is also difficult to achieve in omnichannel marketing. Consistency likely require a great deal of collaboration across multiple departments within a company and channel conflicts are likely to arise, especially when one channel is prioritized over another.
Challenges in Breaking Free of Traditional Marketing Campaigns
Omnichannel marketing may require companies to have a non-traditional marketing campaign. This can be difficult for some companies and may require a shift in company culture, including extensive collaboration between departments.
What Does a Successful Omnichannel Marketing Strategy Look Like?
The most successful omnichannel marketing strategies consider the fact that customers interact with companies across many different channels and platforms, but they expect a consistent experience no matter which channel they use.
Key parts of successful strategies include:
- Accounting for each channel, device, and platform customers use to interact with the company
- Gathering data on customer behavior
- Creating an integrated, cohesive experience across all these channels, devices and platforms, ensuring consistent and aligned messages, objectives, goals and design
- Adopting new and relevant technologies
- Ensuring across all channels that content is user-friendly
- Testing customer experiences and requesting feedback
- Personalizing experiences
- Making interactions as convenient and intuitive as possible
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Shoppers can access smart offers across a variety of channels including:
- Email – A retailer can distribute smart offers via email, taking advantage of the estimated median ROI of 122% for email campaigns – over four times higher than other marketing formats.
- Social Media – Similarly, shoppers can access smart offers through social media, a channel that is ideal for incentivizing customers to help promote a specific product or offer.
- Text Message – Text messages provide customer engagement rates six to eight times higher than email10 with a 23.3% conversion rate.
- Search Marketing – Search marketing, which includes SEO and SEM, can be an effective way of distributing smart offers to customers at the start of the funnel – when the potential customer first shows interest in a product by conducting an online search.
Where is Omnichannel Marketing Headed?
62% of consumer market executives think that omnichannel strategy will be critically important to their company’s success. As omnichannel marketing grows in popularity, new technologies and AI are emerging that can blur the lines between in-person and digital interactions.
Consumers demand for omnichannel experience grows rapidly. Generation Z shoppers are coming into the spotlight and they are less concerned with the ability to try a product before purchase, and are extremely comfortable with ecommerce. They engage in more ads, buy on new platforms, and are more concerned with a brand’s personality than previous generations.
Future shoppers will expect an omnichannel experience when shopping; they will expect to purchase what they want quickly and easily, and will move on to another brand instantly if this is not the case.