The road to making the sale for your business has never been quite so bumpy. Less than thirty years ago, your customer would come down to your local store to browse your products. A one-stop shop (maybe two if it was a really special occasion), that invariably ended in a sale for your business. Fast-forward thirty years however and the “one-stop shop” is nothing more than a distant memory. For consumers, the path to making a purchase can start and end at any time of the day, in any location and on any device. As a result, the potholes and side streets that now face your business when you are trying to close the sale can no longer be dismissed and that is where omnichannel marketing comes in.
What is Omni-Channel Marketing?
Credit: Right On Interactive
Omni-channel marketing is a multichannel sales approach that is designed to provide your customers with a highly integrated and seamless shopping experience.
Whether they are shopping in a brick and mortar store or purchasing online from the comfort of their own phone or computer, your customer’s shopping experience should rarely be one to remember.
Now I can already hear your questions and see the odd looks that you are sending my way after reading that last statement… After all, you should want your business to be remembered… right?
And for the most part, you would be 100% right in thinking that.
However, when it comes to effective omnichannel marketing, your customer shouldn’t even be aware of what your business is doing until you have already done it.
But Why Should My Business Use Omni-Channel Marketing?
Omni-Channel marketing is all about knowing your customer.
Their customer persona, buyer’s journey and their purchasing habits.
Through analysing your customer’s data, you can develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of the motivations and buying patterns that lead to sales for your business.
And with that knowledge, comes immense power.
Research conducted by Google suggests that 90% of individuals who own multiple devices switch an average of three times per day to complete any given task.
Credit: Smarter CX
As a result, the device that your customer’s purchasing journey begins on, will very rarely remain the same device that it will end on.
In turn, the path of converting your business’s leads to sales just got 10x harder than it already was.
Omni-Channel marketing aims to interrelate the channels that you use to connect with your target market, in order to create a holistic plan.
Through integrating your business’s communication channels such as email marketing, social media advertising and SMS alerts, as well as more traditional forms of print and digital media, you can ensure that your business maintains a cohesive and consistent brand image across every channel that you utilise.
In doing so, this will ensure that you are strengthening your relationship with your customers to build meaningful connections with every interaction that you have with them.
Furthermore, analysing the data on your customer’s buying habits will allow your business to understand where “effort” exists in the buying process, thus, allowing your business to pinpoint the key areas where your business may lose sales.
Through removing these potholes of effort that interrupt and prevent your business from generating a sale, the road to converting your business’s leads to sales just got a whole lot smoother.
To put the value of omnichannel marketing into perspective, ZenDesk reported that companies with strong omnichannel marketing had an 89% customer retention rate whilst companies that engaged in little-to-no omnichannel marketing had a customer retention rate of less than 33%.
Thus, the value of a highly efficient omnichannel marketing strategy to your business cannot be understated.
So Why is Omni-Channel Marketing So Effective?
The key to the success of omnichannel marketing in retaining customers and generating sales is due to its ability to identify and remove any barriers that may exist that prevent your customer from completing a purchase.
As a result, using omnichannel marketing in your business will create an effortless buying experience for your customers.
Take Amazon for example:With a self-confessed mission to become the “Earth’s most customer-centric company”, there is no denying that Amazon has adapted brilliantly to incorporate and integrate new marketing channels as they become relevant to consumers.
The company’s Amazon Prime service is a particularly outstanding example of overcoming the key challenges to omnichannel marketing to develop a highly effective omnichannel marketing strategy.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing business’s when they are first trying to introduce omnichannel into their business is the need for data unification.
In order to develop a complete picture of your buyer’s journey, your business must be able to collect and connect data about your customer’s purchases, behaviours and demographics across every device that they use.
Like many other businesses, Amazon collects their user’s data through accounts which enable the company to analyse the data and connect it with a customer profile that is known by the company, regardless of what device they are using.
However, Amazon goes one step further than most companies do when it comes to learning about the buying patterns of their customers.
They have incentivised it.
For customers, investing in an Amazon Prime Membership provides them with discounts at major stores such as Costco and Sam’s as well as receiving free (and fast) shipping on Amazon products.
But for Amazon, the value of these Prime Memberships have a far greater worth than just the membership fees that paid by account holders.
Not only does Amazon Prime Membership eliminate the Number 1 reason for cart abandonment; shipping costs, but the accounts also enable the company to lock-in purchases with as little as two clicks needed to check out.
Through creating a seamless and effortless shopping experience for their customers, Amazon has gained 95 million Amazon Prime Members.
And with these Prime Memberships, Amazon has access to the data of 95 million customers. This means that the company is able to access a wealth of data that they then use to understand their customer’s preferences, customise their recommendations and create a seamless purchasing experience for users across all devices.
How Can I Implement Omni-Channel Marketing into My Business?
Although Amazon has access to significantly more resources than your company probably does, there are still several very important lessons that you should take away from this case study.
Firstly, your business has to be customer-centric. Providing quality customer service is no longer enough to engage and retain your customers. Instead, you must utilise all the data you have available to you about your buyer’s purchasing habits, motivations and behaviours. Through developing a strong understanding of these needs, you can ensure that your customer is experiencing a personalised and responsive interaction. No matter what channel they use.
Just like Amazon, you should go one step further than your competition to integrate your channels business-wide. Through integrating front and back-end operations, you can create depth in your business’s omnichannel marketing strategy. Thus, through integrating areas ranging from marketing to inventory management and the central fulfilment system in your business, you will gain the ability to connect customer data and sales through providing you with a customer with exactly what they want, when they want it.
Secondly, Amazon goes one step further than much other businesses to integrate these channels into their back-end operations as well. This means that the depth of omnichannel at Amazon goes well beyond marketing to include inventory management and central fulfilment in order to connect customer data with fulfilling their customers wants through whichever channel they prefer.
Developing a highly integrated and effective omnichannel marketing strategy is by no means the fastest or the easiest strategy that you will ever implement in your business. But it also has the opportunity to become the most effective strategy that your business uses.
Using customer data, you can create and maintain a cohesive and effortless buyer’s journey for your target market which will ensure that your business coverts lead to sales.
Consider incentivising your membership or subscription offers to make them more appealing to prospective members.
But most importantly of all, an effective omnichannel marketing strategy will ensure that your business maintains and increases your customer retention rates.
With an 89% customer retention rating, why wouldn’t you be using omnichannel marketing?
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