Omnichannel is a buzzword that has been around for a while. While some brands will claim that they’re an omnichannel retail business, very few actually practise it to its full potential.
With so many marketing channels at your disposal, it can be hard to know where to invest time and money. It can be even harder to create a seamless customer experience across those channels.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what omnichannel actually is, together with its benefits. We’ll also look at some proactive measures you can take to start making your shopping experience truly omnichannel.
What is omnichannel ecommerce?
Omnichannel is the art of providing a seamless experience across your marketing and retail channels, regardless of whether the customer is shopping on a mobile device, desktop computer, your website, via a marketplace or in your brick-and-mortar store. The idea of omnichannel is to provide a unique and continuous purchasing experience.
Much like any marketing strategy, omnichannel marketing is all about synchronising your channels with a holistic approach. However, traditional marketing strategies are often disconnected from one another.
Omnichannel is all about making sure each strategy and channel is connected and shares information. By this, we mean that no single channel, retail platform or marketing campaign should stand alone; to be genuinely ‘omnichannel’, they must all be integrated together.
What benefits could you reap from an omnichannel marketing strategy?
When you integrate all of your marketing channels into an omnichannel strategy, you’ll be creating an optimised experience of benefit to both you and your customers. There are obvious customer benefits to omnichannel, as well as financial advantages for your brand. These include...
Because omnichannel involves all of a merchant’s marketing and advertising channels communicating together, you can optimise when and what to show to the customer. This kind of optimisation of ad delivery can help to significantly improve return on ad spend (ROAS).
An omnichannel approach can also bring improved financial returns for your organic channels, by delivering a higher chance of organic engagement and a better return on investment (ROI).
A superior customer experience
Customers expect a best-in-class experience across multiple channels. By providing this high-quality customer experience in an omnichannel strategy, you’ll be helping to improve customer loyalty.
Loyal customers will create user-generated content (UGC), write reviews, increase your average order value (AOV) and improve lifetime value (LTV).
Enhanced brand visibility
Most ecommerce stores will agree that brand positioning and visibility are crucial aspects of their marketing. By integrating an omnichannel strategy, you’ll be going a long way to improving the visibility of your own brand. You’ll be able to accomplish this by displaying the brand at the right times, on the right channels and to the right customers.
Because such a strategy doesn’t require you to bombard your customers with spam-like ads, the customer will see the brand visibility as organic and connect with it on a personal level.
Optimised data collection and analysis
Synchronising all of your marketing channels into an omnichannel experience allows you to analyse customer behaviour across all platforms and channels. This is important as it allows you to better understand your target audience and optimise sales channels to improve ROI.
How does omnichannel differ from multichannel marketing?
There are obvious similarities between omnichannel and multichannel marketing. But the main difference is that multichannel marketing places the brand at the centre of the strategy, whereas an omnichannel approach gives the customer this central role.
With multichannel marketing, the brand’s goal is to drive as much qualified traffic to their website as possible. While this is unlikely to boost conversion rates, it can be counted on to improve sales. This is common practice throughout the ecommerce world, simply because it is relatively easy to implement.
The goal with omnichannel marketing, though, is to improve the customer experience both online and in store. This ultimately helps to improve brand loyalty, AOVs and the LTVs of customers. While an omnichannel strategy is much more complex to integrate, it can bring much bigger rewards than a multichannel campaign.
How can you create an omnichannel experience?
The task of creating an omnichannel experience may seem daunting at first. There are, however, some basic steps you can take to get yours off the ground. As with all marketing strategies, it’s important to plan ahead and make strategic decisions. Without planning, you’ll end up flying in the dark and won’t be able to measure the strategy’s success properly.
Choose your marketing channels
It’s very tempting to start using all channels to get your brand and products in front of customers. But it’s important to remember that omnichannel doesn’t mean using all channels. Omnichannel is about using the channels that your customers are on to provide a personalised experience.
Do your target audience and market research to find out which channels are best to start with. True omnichannel is about being everywhere that your customers are. However, it’s important not to jump into every channel straight away; instead, gradually build up and optimise your strategy.
Map out the user journey
Once you’ve picked the initial channels and platforms, you’ll want to map out the user journey. This personalisation aspect of omnichannel is probably the most important part of the strategy.
Unlike multichannel, omnichannel places the customer, rather than the brand, at the centre of the marketing strategy. So you should map out the user journey, online and offline, with the customer at the centre of everything you do.
Where the user is in the sales funnel at any one time will dictate what messaging they see. It’s important to keep the messaging, images and content fresh for each part of the sales funnel. This will help with brand recognition and engagement rates.
Analyse and improve
With every marketing strategy, the only way to improve is to test and analyse – and the situation is no different as far as omnichannel marketing is concerned. Reporting on ads, emails, customer service channels, social media engagement, physical store purchases and other online engagement will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of the sales funnel.
Only by continually testing and improving, can you move forward with your omnichannel strategy. Improving your ROI and brand positioning will free you up to reinvest your time into other channels to further strengthen your all-round omnichannel strategy.