True omnichannel marketing is tough to do well.
If it wasn’t hard, everyone would already be doing it. But, according to the 2017 Ecommerce Holiday Report, 86% of ecommerce marketers have still not executed a full omnichannel marketing strategy for their brand.
That’s despite the fact that research from the CMO Council and Netsertive revealed that 94% of marketers think that providing an omnichannel customer experience is crucial to business success. A study from IDC also showed that consumers who shop on multiple channels have a 30% higher lifetime value. So if you’re not doing it, you’re missing out on real revenue.
However, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re one of the 86% who don’t have a full omnichannel marketing strategy. Maybe you’ve tried, but you still struggle to perfectly manage and coordinate the myriad of different channels and devices that customers use to interact with your brand.
Well, we’re here to tell you that it is possible and achievable — but only if you get your house (i.e. data) in order first. Follow these strategies carefully, and you’ll find that omnichannel ecommerce marketing is well within reach.
What is an omnichannel marketing strategy?
First, a quick clarification on what we mean by an omnichannel marketing strategy. You might have heard of multichannel marketing, which was the predecessor to omnichannel marketing.
Multichannel marketing recognized that customers were using a variety of channels to interact with your brand, including mobile devices, social media, your ecommerce site, and many other platforms. It then attempted to communicate with, inform and sell to customers across all these channels. What it lacked was a consistent and coherent approach. The message consumers got from email marketing differed from the one they received on social, which differed from the one they received from direct mail or in a brick-and-mortar store.
However, customers don’t shop in channels — that’s a word and concept that only marketers use. So if your customers are receiving different messages in different channels then you’re not doing omnichannel marketing right. Omnichannel marketing syncs up all marketing channels to deliver a consistent and seamless shopping experience, no matter where your customers interact with a brand. It nurtures customers as they make their way back and forth across different channels and devices, communicating clearly and consistently for a better user experience.
What’s stopping the adoption of omnichannel marketing?
Clearly, not many companies are actually executing an omnichannel strategy. The reasons for this are many, but often tie back to technological challenges. According to research from Rakuten Marketing, the factors standing in the way of creating an omnichannel marketing strategy are:
- Lack of resources and investments required to succeed
- Lack of analytical and technical resources to make sense of data
- Difficulty integrating data
- Lack of communication between marketing agencies and/or vendors
- Lack of C-suite buy-in to the value of omnichannel
- Siloed organizational structure
We can add to this the major challenge of knowing your customer. You may think you have a rough idea of what your customers want, like, and need, but do you really? Let’s take a look at how you can overcome these challenges to implement an omnichannel marketing strategy.
Get a single view of your customer
The customer journey today is incredibly complex, with consumers hopping from one channel to another in a tangled web until they finally reach the checkout. At the moment, it’s likely that all this customer data is caught up in a multitude of systems — from ecommerce platforms to marketing automation to paid ad platforms, etc.
If you are to truly understand how to target your customers across all channels and devices, you need to pull the information from all interactions and touchpoints — from anonymous browsing to the moment customers identify themselves — into one place for a single view of your customers. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to get a clear idea of the sheer number and frequency of customer engagements across channels and devices. With a B2C CRM, you can bring this data together to know exactly when and how your customers interact with your brand, what their pain points are, and what speeds up the customer journey and drives a purchase.
Execute marketing across channels
Now that you have the customer data you need, you can begin to actually execute on your omnichannel marketing campaigns. You can now create a campaign that is coordinated across channels and different devices with a consistent message. You should, of course, customize the message slightly to each channel. Instagram, for example, should have a great visual ad, while your email may focus more on the written copy. However, it should all be tied together with the same branding, message, and offer to create consistency.
With a B2B CRM, marketers can bring together a wealth of information from all marketing channels and campaigns into one place, creating a dynamic customer segment based on accurate and up-to-date customer information. Then, you can automatically push out a campaign to that segment when buyers hit a specific triggered behavior. This allows you to personalize campaigns — this could be personalized email messages based on:
- Products they have bought in the past
- Paid ads based on items a customer has abandoned in their cart
- Push notifications to alert the customer of a sale of an item they bought before
Whichever channel you use, the message will be consistent, personalized, targeted, and more likely to resonate with buyers.
Outdoor apparel company United By Blue used an email marketing campaign to let their customers know about items that happened to be in the sale at that moment, as well as offering the discount in store. While this is technically offering a multi-channel experience, it could be far more effective if they offered the same discount across multiple channels, targeting the same exact list of buyers, no matter where they engaged with the brand. By backing up your email marketing with Facebook, Instagram, or Google ads as well as push notifications, more buyers will be sure to see your message. This omnichannel experience significantly increases the probability that they buy.
Test it, measure it, and invite feedback
Omnichannel marketing is not a perfect science by any means. Some campaigns will resonate on one channel, and fail on another. Because of this, you need to test out campaigns across channels and devices and measure them to see what is working. Be prepared to be agile, and make changes on the fly (especially key if you’re perfecting this strategy during peak times such as Black Friday). Ask for feedback from your customers on what they liked, and why they bought from you (or didn’t).
Based on this feedback, you can segment your customers in order to better tailor and personalize campaigns in the future and deliver an experience that is optimized for channel and device. Then, you’ll start to get real results from your omnichannel campaigns.
When you’re able to automatically pull together your data from all the different channels and devices your customers use, as well as make sense of this data, and use it to inform, automate, and optimize future marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to better serve customers with a consistent, cohesive and seamless omnichannel ecommerce experience.