Omnichannel marketing has become a valuable asset for smart marketers these days. The proof is in the percentages. Companies with a vibrant omnichannel customer engagement plan see a nearly 10% year-over-year boost in annual revenue. Plus, if your brand utilizes omnichannel marketing, you’re likely to retain almost 90% of your customers. Furthermore, customer satisfaction is about 25% higher for businesses with an omnichannel strategy.
Simply put, omnichannel marketing works, but it’s important to understand why it works. To assist with your strategy, here are three principles you can use as a guide for a successful omnichannel marketing plan.
1. Understand That Omnichannel Marketing Isn’t Multichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing is different from multichannel marketing in the way the channels interact with one another. As its name suggests, multichannel involves multiple channels, but they’re not necessarily connected. For example, you could have a physical store and a website, but marketing campaigns for the two may not work in sync with one another. With omnichannel marketing, they do.
In fact, a customer can have multiple touchpoints with a retailer (let’s say a physical store and a website), but they expect their customer journey between the two to be a seamless experience.
Here’s an example. If you visit Walmart’s website, you can order an item and have it shipped to your home. That’s pretty standard. You can also have it shipped to your nearest Walmart store. The experience becomes omnichannel if you’re searching for a product to find out whether or not your local store has it in stock before you jump in your car and drive there. Additionally, if it’s available, you can reserve that product and pick it up at your convenience—or you can do all this while you’re shopping in the store. Walmart will even tell you what aisle it’s in.
Omnichannel is about making the customer experience as smooth and convenient as possible. When you use as many channels as possible to make the shopping experience easier, you’re creating a happy customer.
2. Create a Consistent, Complementary Customer Experience
Now it’s time to make the customer experience seamless. In the Walmart example, there was an obvious connection between their website and your nearest store. The two played well together. Now, all your marketing channels need to work together in this fashion. That’s what sets omnichannel marketing apart—the relationship between all of your channels.
There are undoubtedly a variety of ways to interact with your business. Maybe you have a physical location, plus a telephone number (perhaps a toll-free customer service line), website or mobile app, social media accounts, mail-order catalog, etc. Additionally, there are going to be a variety of electronic devices used to access your information (like a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc).
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and test your customer experience for yourself. Place an order, go through all the available channels with a desktop and laptop computer, plus various smartphones, tablets—even watches. BrowserStack is one of many available resources that allows you to test your website design across a wide variety of devices. This allows you to see things the way your customers see them. Leave no stone unturned.
You need to be sure you’re giving the customer a consistent and complementary experience across all these channels and devices. Moreover, your direct mail campaigns and your point-of-sale displays need to work hand-in-hand with your email and social media efforts. You need a coordinated marketing plan that influences consumers everywhere they interact with your brand.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of omnichannel marketing gone right.
Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus bases their omnichannel marketing experience on personalization. Their belief is that if you’re not using the customer’s name, you’re not speaking to the entire customer. So that’s a great start.
Secondly, they build their channels to get smarter each time a customer interacts with them. So if someone searches for a specific size of shoe or article of clothing, the website remembers that. Moving forward, it issues search results for those in-stock sizes at a nearby store. If the customer shows an interest in particular brands, they’ll deliver information about any new stock of those brands—plus messaging about relevant local events. Additionally, all of this information is incorporated into email and direct mail marketing campaigns. Pretty clever, right?
Neiman Marcus also does a great job utilizing tech. If you visit a store, you can record a 360-degree video of yourself trying on clothing. You then save it to the Neiman Marcus mobile app so you can check it out later (after you’ve had time to think about it) or eventually buy it online or in a store.
Value City Furniture
Most consumers don’t buy furniture on a whim. That’s why Value City Furniture focused on establishing personal relationships with their customers. Their desire was to answer questions and build upon the emotional and practical reasons people buy furniture. If a customer creates a list of items while shopping online, an employee can access these items and present them when the customer visits a store. After all, people typically like to sit on furniture before committing to the expense.
The process also works in reverse. That’s the beauty of omnichannel marketing. If a customer first visits a store, they might want to “think about it” before buying that couch or dining room table. It’s as simple as adding the item(s) to a digital wish list. They’ve got all the intel they need to make an informed decision, plus just the right amount of hand-holding (their salesperson’s name and contact information) if needed. Naturally, to nurture the omnichannel journey, Value City sends strategic emails or printed mailings to nudge the customer toward a purchase.
3. Use Data to Get to Know Your Customers
Data. It’s what smart marketers are using to make better business decisions and help guide their omnichannel marketing initiatives.
To get a better understanding of their customers, brands have to merge external data sources, like demographics, location, and market data, with their own customer data, like browsing and purchase history. This helps create a precise understanding of who their customers are, what they like, and what they want.
Let’s look back at the Neiman Marcus example. One of the reasons this luxe seller “gets it” when it comes to omnichannel marketing is their resourceful use of data. The company closely explores web analytics such as clicks, page views, and the amount of time consumers spend on each page of their website. This may seem like basic information, but it allows them to make educated predictions about a user’s actions and desires.
Another example is Timberland. The outdoor footwear and apparel retailer collects valuable behavioral data when a customer’s in a store, after they’ve visited a store, and when they’re shopping online. This allows them to continually implement their omnichannel marketing strategy. How do they do it? With near-field communication. NFC, in layman’s terms, is a short message that’s communicated between devices from close proximity. (It’s what powers your Apple Pay transactions.) At a Timberland retail store, a customer can use a tablet to tap on a TouchWall to check out products that aren’t in the store—and then add them to a shopping list, if desired. Timberland follows up based on the customer’s activity.
The coordinated marketing goal for any brand is to arrive at a single view of each customer. When you have one source of verifiable information about a customer, you can make better decisions about how to market to them.
Add Direct Mail to Your Omnichannel Marketing Plan
If you’re striving to create the perfect omnichannel marketing strategy, be prepared to use all of the marketing mediums available to you. That would include direct mail, a channel of proven marketing success. The Data and Marketing Association reports that direct mail is more personal than email. Plus, more than half of all Americans love getting their physical mail every day. Even millennials are into marketing mail. More than 75% of them enjoy receiving it on a regular basis.
MSP can help you achieve your omnichannel marketing goals with the information and advice you need. As one of the most respected direct mail management facilities in the country, we offer solutions for all your marketing needs. Learn more about how our 65+ years of expertise can work for you. Contact an MSP representative to talk about your omnichannel marketing goals today.
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