The experts all agree: omnichannel marketing is key to customer loyalty in ecommerce.

That’s why it’s so surprising that the majority of B2C marketers have yet to achieve a true omnichannel customer experience. According to the 2017 Ecommerce Holiday Report, 86% of ecommerce marketers have still not executed a full omnichannel marketing strategy for their brand.

If you’re behind on your own omnichannel strategy, this should comfort you somewhat. This means it’s definitely not too late to get your brand on track with a better ecommerce marketing strategy. In fact, it means there’s a huge opportunity to get ahead of the pack and start planning your omnichannel approach today.

But why exactly is it so hard to effectively deliver an omnichannel experience? We dug into the numbers to find out why so many B2C marketers are struggling with omnichannel in 2017.

By the numbers

For the 2017 Ecommerce Holiday Report, hundreds of ecommerce leaders shared their omnichannel marketing plan for this holiday season. But the data clearly shows that most teams are unfortunately not prepared to market across channels this year.

A full 40% of marketers have no strategy for omnichannel at all, while 46% are working on a plan. Of the group surveyed, a mere 14% of B2C marketers have executed a full omnichannel strategy for their brand. This report shows that while omnichannel may be a trendy topic in the ecommerce world, it’s not affecting day-to-day operations for most B2C marketers just yet.

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What’s behind this trend?

It’s important to understand exactly why B2C marketers are struggling to coordinate campaigns across multiple channels and devices. However, the answer is complicated. For some marketers, omnichannel is simply not a priority compared to the daily grind of growing an B2C business. Marketers often just don’t have the time to think long-term and put together a full strategy for omnichannel.

For other marketers, the real challenge is accessing the customer data. Omnichannel is difficult to execute because you first have to understand exactly how your buyers behave across every single channel and devices. This is challenging because of the sheer volume and frequency of customer engagements in B2C. The customer journey is more complex than ever in a world of shopping across online and physical stores and multiple devices per person, customers interact with your brand in more ways than most think, including:

  • Your company website
  • Email marketing
  • Online targeted ads
  • Social media
  • Mobile apps
  • Customer service
  • Physical store

This struggle to correctly identify your customers as they move across multiple channels means you can’t effectively market to them. You need to know that the same buyer is clicking on your Google or social media ads and opening your emails in order to share the right message to drive a new purchase. This need for understanding is at the core of the struggle for all omnichannel marketing and overall customer experience.

Strategic omnichannel marketing

Because of this challenge, the key to a coordinated, omnichannel marketing strategy is a B2C CRM. A B2C CRM automatically unifies all of your customer data across channels, helping marketers fully understand who customers are and when and where they last interacted with your brand.

With that data in hand, it empowers you to more easily create an omnichannel strategy. Once you know that your best customers tend to browse your product on their mobile phone and later open an email, you can build out a strategy that takes advantage of that behavior exactly. But without understanding the data on your customers’ behavior first, you’ll be hard-pressed to build out an effective strategy.

The struggle to execute an effective ecommerce omnichannel strategy is real, but it’s not impossible. Your brand can be one of the chosen few that successfully executes a targeted omnichannel program for buyers. Since other B2C marketers aren’t doing omnichannel just yet, it’s a huge opportunity for your brand to step up and stand out.

Eric Keating

Eric Keating is the Vice President of Marketing at Zaius. When Eric isn't thinking about marketing or sales strategy, he’s likely to be found with his wife and daughter, exploring the White Mountains with his dog, Barley, or brewing beer at home.