As customer behavior evolves in our ON(FF)LINE world, marketers and brands will need to re-imagine digital experiences, bring desktop, mobile, tablet, and email into one holistic experience—an omnichannel experience—that engages customers across channels and devices. So far, multichannel strategies have engaged customers on various channels in isolation, but as a stand-alone experience with no contextual engagement across channels.
Omnichannel marketing unifies the customer experience across all the platforms and devices that customers use to engage with a company, for an integrated user journey and experience. It is important for brands to use an omnichannel strategy in order to create and deliver a smooth journey across channels, align the message, design and set goals.
“If the goal is to deliver a better online customer experience across the entire online journey of a customer, then omnichannel marketing can get the job done”.
The idea of omnichannel marketing is to design and deliver unique messages for each communication channel, while retaining the brand’s messaging-consistency, through contextual and individualized messaging.
Why Omnichannel Marketing Matters
Omnichannel marketing is all about creating a positive experience for the customer, reducing churn, improving revenue, and delivering a positive brand reputation.
Starbucks is a brand that got this right. Most coffee shops see a long queue before customers can place their orders. But for customers who are on a tight schedule, it would work well, if they could walk into a coffee shop, collect their order and walk out without having to spend any more time than necessary. What Starbucks did was create an experience where customers could place their order and pay online—then walk into the cafe, collect their order, and be on their way. In doing so, the coffee brand not only enhanced customer experience but also improved its revenue by pursuing an omnichannel strategy.
What Is the Difference Between Omnichannel, Multichannel, and Cross-Channel Marketing
Terms such as omnichannel, multichannel, and cross-channel have often been used interchangeably. And they seem to mean the same thing—using multiple channels to acquire, engage and retain your customers. While they may be the same in essence, there is a unique differentiator. In multichannel marketing, all the communication channels work in isolation with no connection between any of them, whereas, in cross-channel marketing, there are very selected communication channels that are connected.
Omnichannel marketing, in its true sense, is a more mature strategy that cohesively and harmoniously integrates every channel to create one uninterrupted journey for customers.
Is Omnichannel Marketing Popular?
According to a study by Harvard Business Review:
- 7% of the customers were online-only shoppers
- 20% of them were store-only shoppers
- A mind-boggling 73% of them used multiple channels throughout their shopping journey
Did you know that customers who used more than 4 channels spent 9% more time in the store than the ones who used a single channel? This clearly shows how customers use multiple channels on their path to purchase and brands need to engage them at every touchpoint.
Having an omnichannel customer experience is no longer a jargon or a choice. Brands that are looking to improve customer acquisition, retention and personalization need to reshape and reimagine their customer journeys.
60% of millennials seek consistent brand experiences—whether in-store or online. So, when looking at the bigger picture, it’s vital that you take your omnichannel marketing strategy seriously to offer a positive experience to your customers throughout their journey.
Building an Omnichannel Marketing Campaign
It’s important to remember that every company should create its own omnichannel marketing strategy—something that is unique to the brand’s goals. Several departments can be involved in the development of the brand’s omnichannel strategy. Wondering what teams to involve in the creation process? Here’s a generic list:
- Customer Support
Once these departments have given relevant inputs and ideas, you can start building your very own omnichannel model. Including these departments early on will make the process easier and it will become less of a headache down the road when you get people excited in the beginning.
What Makes the Perfect Omnichannel Experience?
The first step is to understand your customer. We’re not just talking about online/offline behavior, but a deeper understanding that looks at the pain point of the customer—could be their unwillingness to stand in a queue or being unable to find what they are searching for on your website. This calls for a deeper understanding of customers, which can help you observe the platforms your customers prefer using, purchasing behavior, and also how they engage with your brand across each touchpoint and across channels.
How does this level of understanding help?
It can help you identify all the right touchpoints, so you can deliver individualized experiences at the right place and at the right time. In addition, it will also help you identify some of the common deterrents on a customer’s path to purchase.
Building the Perfect Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
When looking for ways to create a perfect omnichannel marketing strategy, you need to focus on improving people’s experience of interacting with your brand on multiple channels. How consistent and relevant is the experience across your website, mobile app, email, and messaging channels? Is the customer able to find what they are looking for, or are they able to get the relevant information that will help them in their purchase decision? This calls for a reinvention of the omnichannel marketing strategy.
Here’s what brands can do:
- Build the customer experience plan – get to know the channels your customers are using, how they behave across these channels, but above all how to deliver a consistent and contextualized experience across touchpoints.
- Put the data to good use – a vital point of reference is the CRM data, it’s worth more than gold. Behavioral pattern data, online search behavior, and user-intent insights can be a great identifier of customer behavior and a great tool to create solutions to address their challenges.
- Treat each customer’s journey uniquely – Once you’ve analyzed the data, you can easily categorize users into different user segments based on certain behavior patterns. This level of micro-segmentation will help you create individualized journeys for each customer segment. You can even reduce churn by using the data in the right way.
- Focus on contextualized engagement – The make or break deal of an omnichannel marketing strategy is getting the context right. If one of your customers were to get an irrelevant message or a notification at the wrong time, the chances of this customer engaging with you are diminished. Ensure that the context of your message is relevant to the user and the engagement happens at the time when they are most active, and on the channel, they engage the most.
- Adopt a customer-centric approach – What sets omnichannel marketing a class apart is making the customer the center of attention. Throughout your customers’ journey with your brand, across channels and devices, they must be given a personalized and relatable experience. If your customers aren’t coming back to you, then it’s not a relationship, but a one-time transaction. Omnichannel marketing focuses on building relationships–which means putting the customer first.
Omnichannel Strategy in Action
We’ll take the example of an automobile manufacturer to illustrate how an omnichannel strategy plays out. Remember, the crux of this strategy is to reach out and engage with the customer on the right channel at the right time. Customers seek engagement, as long as brands can engage them with contextually relevant messaging, customers will continue to engage with the brand.
In this example, a user arrives at the car manufacturer’s website and browses a certain category of cars. The aim of the car manufacturer (brand) in this situation is to make the user move on from browsing to booking a test-drive. In this instance, however, the user leaves the website without taking the next course of action (booking the test-drive).
Now, the goal of the brand is to continue engaging the customer and bring them back to complete the test-drive booking. But in order to accomplish this, they will need to reach out to the user strategically, engaging them on the right channel with the right messaging. Any irrelevant communication in this phase can potentially harm the chance of the customer returning to the website.
This calls for an omnichannel marketing tool
What the car manufacturer needs in this instance is a marketing platform that can deliver an omnichannel experience to the user who did not complete the test-drive booking.
Insider has a unique AI-powered customer journey builder tool—Architect—an omnichannel solution that makes use of predictive segments to tailor real-time journeys based on the intent of your users, understands where users are most active and identify touchpoints where users drop-off. Ultimately, this helps in refining the user journey while improving key metrics and reducing churn rates.
With the help of Architect, the car manufacturer can start engaging those users who have dropped off with a timely strategy—engaging them across the web, email, and ad channels.
For example, a custom omnichannel journey for the car manufacturer will look something like this:
- Two hours after the user has dropped, a mobile web push notification is sent to the user’s mobile device reminding them of their plan to buy a certain car. Or, relevant must-read information on what to consider when purchasing a new car.
- If the user has still not booked a test-drive then a second reminder—a desktop web push is sent to the users desktop browser reminding them to book a test-drive or having the dealership bring the car to them for the test-drive.
- In case the user still has not booked a test-drive, the third layer of engagement, after waiting for two days, can be built into the journey. This time the user can be targeted on ad channels, such as Facebook ads, or Google ad words.
You see, in this way, the user feels a consistent messaging from the car manufacturer across the channels that they engage with and devices they use.
Why Your Brand Needs to Adopt an Omnichannel Strategy Sooner Rather Than Later
In today’s digital world, where the competition for customer acquisition and retention is higher than ever before—in a world where the customer is the king, being able to cater to the individual needs of your buyer both online and offline is crucial to the long-term success of your brand.
Adopting an omnichannel marketing strategy not only enables you to engage customers with the right content on the channel and at the right time, but also improves on other key metrics such as conversion rate, reduced churn rates, higher Average Order Value (AOV) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Access to multiple channels and devices on the part of customers also means that competing brands are incessantly eyeing for customer attention everywhere. You do not want to be left out for lack of an omnichannel strategy that can seamlessly engage customers on their preferred channel and device.
Insider’s platform was built to help brands engage their customers effectively across channels and devices, by improving key metrics and reducing marketing wastes by focusing on the right strategies. Through a combination of our various AI-driven tools, Insider can take care of the heavy-lifting allowing brands greater freedom in building conversations and communication strategies that foster long-term relationships.
If you’re curious about how you can design and deliver an omnichannel experience to your customers, talk to our industry experts by requesting a demo.
Learn more about related concepts
- Conversion Rate Optimization
- ROI of Personalization
- Optimizing Average Order Value
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
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