A hundred years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine the hold technology would have over the entire world. Today, the world never seems to sleep. One way or the other, it is always online.
In such times, businesses are faced with the challenge of providing their customers with a fool-proof experience. The omnichannel approach holistically works to develop business techniques from the consumer’s point of view. It can be quite tricky to master as it is often confused with integrated or multi-channel marketing.
Let us take a detailed look at omnichannel to break down what it really is.
Omnichannel marketing is revolutionary in that it places the customer rather than the product at the core of the marketing efforts. It is a cross-channel marketing discipline which aligns content delivery across a variety of marketing channels with the aim to provide consistent content experiences across the consumer’s journey.
Omnichannel marketing basically addresses and acknowledges the fact that the contemporary consumer is no longer limited to any singular marketing platform. Therefore, it strives to deliver a smoother purchasing experience to consumers regardless of channel, platform, or stage of the buyer’s journey.
In this way, customers can make a purchase wherever they are. Instead of treating channels as independent silos, omnichannel marketing accounts for spillover between all channels.
In totality, omnichannel removes any boundaries between various sales and marketing channels for creating an integrated, unified whole. The variations between channels—social media, on-site messaging, mobile promotions, email, and instant messaging—disappear. This offers customers a single, unified commerce experience.
In simpler words, omnichannel isn't a multi-spoke approach. Instead, it merges the worlds of emails, websites, social media marketing, retargeted ads, and physical locations. It then leverages all avenues in which a customer may engage with a brand to provide personalized products, offers, and messages.
The main aim of omnichannel retailing is to provide a personalized experience to the customer and to place the consumer at the heart of commerce.
Both multi and omnichannel marketing involve selling across various digital and physical channels. However, the key difference between the two is how the customer experience is linked across those channels.
A conventional multichannel retailer may have physical stores and a website. These two channels are normally siloed and have limited interaction with each other.
Brick-and-mortar stores normally have their own stock for selling to customers, which is separate from the stock available on their online store. Because of this, items purchased in store must also be returned to the store physically. Likewise, online purchases must often be shipped back for returned items. If you are a multichannel consumer, your offline and online interactions with the retailer will be entirely separate. Offline and online interactions are completely separated.
A recent study went through omnichannel data and revealed that the number is similar between consumers who visit stores physically and those who prefer shopping online. While there are some generational differences in preference, the study largely shows that consumers are now floating between both physical and digital experience.
In omnichannel retail marketing, it becomes easier for consumers to switch between different channels. Those marketing for omnichannel understand that today’s consumers do not view a brand in silos. They prefer having multiple connections with the retailer and expect this journey through the omnichannel engine to be seamless.
Today, customers want their retail experience to be unified whether it is online, through social media on smart devices, or in-store. The modern customer is intelligent and makes their own way through different channels: each one is important.
So the main difference lies in the omnichannel connection which allows all the channels to work together. In this way, no matter which channel the consumer chooses, the journey remains smooth and unified.
The omnichannel business model is quickly gaining popularity. Consumers are now more connected than before and expect increased convenience during the retail experience. They don’t stick to any one channel but hop around instead.
During this process, they use a variety of mediums and devices, including tablets, smartphones, apps, and other avenues. They physically visit stores to check for offers and then cross-check social media for any further discounts. They read product reviews and make purchase decisions. They also want shipping flexibility, in case they decide not to pick up their purchase (or return it) from the store. Most importantly, they wish their experience to be ultra-smooth and personalized to the core.
Savvy businesses are rapidly taking advantage and have begun to invest majorly into omnichannel for retail marketing. This has increased owing to the fact that investing in omnichannel marketing tends to pay off big time.
Omnichannel engines allow businesses to gain detailed insights into consumer behavior across different channels. This allows them to paint a comprehensive picture of what their customers need and want. They are able to gain a better understanding of their consumers, allowing them to set targeted promotional content and engagement campaigns towards particular needs of each channel.
Consequently, there is a major difference in sales. According to Harvard Business Review, omnichannel consumers spend 4% more each time they shop in store and 10% more online as compared to single channel consumers. Moreover, with each additional marketing channel they used, they tended to spend more money. So, overall, your business is bound to grow through this strategy.
Creating an efficient strategy requires integration between different departments of your company. The following stakeholders are involved in marketing for omnichannel:
Each person in these departments must understand the goals and objectives of the omnichannel initiative.This will make it easier to shift your marketing strategy as needed, and allow for less work down the road.
Ultimately, your omnichannel business model must include a strategic plan which builds a coherent, smooth experience across various platforms for your consumers.
The first step in creating an omnichannel strategy is research. First, you must have a detailed understanding of how your consumers interact with your business. Where your website is concerned, this includes looking at various aspects including traffic volume, traffic sources, bounce rate, page views, etc. Your in-store data will also be valuable. The building blocks that will help drive your business engagement (and corresponding metrics) include SEO, SEM, a mobile-optimized website, targeted email campaigns, social media, and ad integration.
Many companies around the world are working hard to achieve the right omnichannel marketing level. These brands are pulling different channels together for a holistic purchasing experience.
The following are key examples of omnichannel marketing:
Sephora is a makeup behemoth. The cosmetic shopping experience is brilliantly spread out through the brand’s omnichannel initiatives. There are different opportunities provided to Sephora customers both in-store and online.
Another great example in the realm of omnichannel marketing strategies is of Starbucks. A coffee shop may be brick-and-mortar, but Starbucks has really been able to push the boundaries further and beyond. There is a Starbucks application which allows customers to avoid long queues by ordering in advance. The app puts the coffee shop POS in the hands of the customers, allowing them to peruse the menu, customize their drinks, and view the estimated preparation time.
When a consumer pays through a Starbucks card, rewards accumulate. The customers can also locate nearby Starbucks stores, view the menu, send gift cards, and even identify which song is playing in the store. This strategy is as good as it gets.
Amazon has also spread its wings across physical stores and has simultaneously pushed itself into the entertainment industry through Amazon Originals. The company is famous for experimenting across different channels to see what works and what does not.
The company’s Alexa-enabled devices have allowed the customers to speak their order and find it on their doorsteps within two days or, in some cases, within an hour.
A family’s typical day can involve Amazon in a variety of ways, from sharing wish-lists online, watching TV, and playing or streaming music. Amazon has uniquely embedded itself in its customers’ lives.
It is a fact that many businesses' omnichannel user experiences still have quite a long way to go. Smaller companies may take time to grasp the entire concept and adopt it. However, we are not far from a world in which even the smallest of the companies will be able to engage directly with their consumer audience—regardless of where they are and what they are doing.
Looking for a POS platform that offers the best technology for omnichannel marketing? Revel's solution is convenient to approach, and provides a plethora of features to help you turn your business model into an omnichannel one. Learn more about how we can help. Request a free demo with one of our representatives today!