The importance of an omni-channel strategy for retailers…….but what is omni-channel?
Retailers have been adopting a multi-channel approach to product marketing for years with great success, however more recently retailers have been given the ability to engage with customers and gather consumer data from a number of channels which they can then use to remarket across other key channels. By engaging with customers via multiple endpoints, enables the retailer to get the maximum possible level of exposure and sales on the whole all whilst ensuring a completely seamless experience for the customer.
Adapting an omni-channel strategy means that you are effectively focusing your marketing efforts on your most important and profitable customers, these are the ones who shop with retailers both online and instore which is essentially the key to a productive marketing strategy. Put simply, retailers need to stop treating their digital and in-store marketing activities as separate entities, digital doesn’t just drive ecommerce sales, it also drives people into the store too. This means that retailers need to ensure a completely seamless transition as consumers move their browsing from channel to channel and thus enabling customers to convert through any channel.
E.g. in some high street retailers, the store employees will all be armed with iPads which they can use to get the most up to date product information for customers browsing in the store, place an online order on behalf of the customer if an item is out of stock and have the order delivered straight to the customer’s home the next day. Or some organisations run campaigns via mobile apps whereby purchases can be made via the device itself which data instantly been updated across all other platforms.
Not only can omni-channel allow customers to make a purchase via any channel, but it also allows retailers to collect valuable information about the shoppers and their buying behaviour enabling retail marketing teams to produce a tailored and effective strategy. Collecting online data for online marketing activity is a straightforward notion, but what about collecting data from in store shoppers that we can then use to send an e-shot, show a facebook ad, or TV ad? Have you you ever been shopping in a high street store, returned home and received an e-shot, seen a TV or Facebook ad from the store that you’d just purchased from and thought it was a strange coincidence? These retailers have successfully retargeted you through an omni-channel marketing strategy using connected store software.
The key to successfully engaging omni-channel shoppers is by truly understanding them and analysing their browsing data effectively. How do they engage with each platform and where are their key influencers? Armed with this dissected information you get then reach them with the the marketing material which is the most likely to provoke conversions.
It is essential that retailers consider omni-channel in their marketing strategy in the coming years to ensure that they meet the increasingly demanding expectations of customers and use the data available to them to produce a productive marketing activities that drive sales through any possible channel. Those that don’t consider omni-channel soon will most certainly get left behind and your competitors will continue to take a bigger slice of the pie whilst yours gets smaller.
Wake up, sit up and pay attention to what is happening in the market around you.