The availability of eCommerce stores makes it popular among large audiences: they are so used to shopping online that they can’t imagine shopping at local physical stores. However, some consumers tend to favor brick-and-mortar stores over online ones.
These different styles of shopping are apparent in the diverse nature of online users, who need to have several options when searching for the best products. As a result, merchants try to please their visitors by providing a seamless shopping experience and launching an omni-channel marketing strategy.
Social media is also adding tons of changes to the way people engage with your business: the use of multiple devices and social media platforms makes your brand more available than ever before. Several years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that Facebook or Instagram would be the most effective channels for customer acquisition. Yet, these platforms have won over the masses and continue to beat every possible record for conversions.
What does an omni-channel strategy mean in this case? The definition of omni-channel goes beyond simply marketing your products through different sales channels. It is about the connection between different channels of customer acquisition. Let’s explore the true meaning of an omni-channel strategy and its application in eCommerce.
What is omni-channel marketing?
As opposed to traditional marketing, omni-channel is a relatively new approach to creating a seamless and consistent shopping experience. It aims to connect online consumers that use different channels while shopping and integrate them under one hood. However, many merchants are not aware that multi-channel retailing doesn’t always mean an omni-channel strategy.
Omni-channel vs multi-channel: what is the difference?
To understand the difference between omni-channel vs multi-channel, we should make something clear: both approaches include selling on different platforms. Multi-channel marketing is based on little interaction between the different customer acquisition channels. Imagine you have two channels where you interact with customers: an online store and a physical one. The former will suit digital customers while the latter will cater to a separate group of clients.
In this case, for example, a digital customer will not be able to return or exchange a product when he comes to a physical store.
Your customers will not have a chance to interact with different multi-channel retailing touch-points while they are separated and do not share a common ground. By comparison, omni-channel marketing examples do not make clients stick to separate channels. It helps the client navigate through distinct channels instead.
In this sense, multi-channel marketing is a part of an omni-channel strategy.
No matter which channel your customers use the most, your brand should be visible through any shopping destination. Omni-channel retail connects coupons, Instagram posts, Facebook shares and buyable Pins and leverages the power of each channel to let customers shop freely and easily.
Every point in your interaction with clients should bу accessible for any customer with his own needs and preferences. In addition, the definition of omni-channel urges merchants to make every point of engagement shoppable.
Your customers should have the possibility to browse your items on tablets, compare the prices on smartphones, purchase them on laptops or in physical stores, leave reviews on Facebook, and download coupons with discounts from anywhere online.
How do you achieve that?
Foster strategies that will help achieve your goals that go beyond the simple definition of multi channel.
5 omni-channel strategies to consider
Once you grasp the meaning of an effective omni-channel marketing strategy, it will be possible to reorganize your business processes and make them customer-oriented. Start by fostering personalized services at each touchpoint with your customers.
1. Target with personalized offers
Focus on the preferences of your clients by analyzing their on-site experiences. Collect the data about their browsing history and include this information in the next email newsletter or in a loyalty program. If you supply each channel with unique, user-generated information, it will be easy to define the overall marketing strategy more precisely.
Personalization is key and acts as a definite identifier of each web activity. It differentiates each user, and makes their needs and wants transparent and easy to capture. That is why any successful omni-channel marketing strategy starts by tailoring your messaging to the personal needs of each customer.
2. Target local users
There is no better way to land more followers and brand advertisers than making them feel unique. If you localize your website, offers, and ads, you will be able to bridge the gap between international and local customers. It is easy to define omni-channel strategies with the help of the word “localization” because it raises customer satisfaction and establishes close ties in all parts of the world.
Think of an investment in localization services to power up your omni-channel distribution network across the globe. For example, you can cooperate with local influencers that gather the most followers and employ them in your marketing scenarios. Another method is to set up local ads that will create hype among the local audience. Even if your brand goes global, spend time studying which trends dominate a certain region.
3. Target mobile users
Fast loading speed and usability of a mobile version of a website is a common feature of the best current omni-channel solutions. The fact that almost 70 percent of all checkouts happen on mobile phones speaks for itself: smartphones and tablets dominate the eCommerce world. If you want to know what the best driver of omni-channel marketing is, the answer lies in going mobile.
To create a seamless shopping experience it is necessary to let visitors shop and browse your products using an intuitive mobile interface. What is more, you can build a dedicated app that will power up the shopping on your physical and digital stores. You can set up a rewards program, ask for reviews, gamify your interaction with users – no matter what steps you take, the app should have flawless integration with your business.
4. Target users everywhere
The best omni-channel examples harness the power of multiple marketplaces to reach the most users and connect them across platforms. Your clients can start searching for items on Amazon, then turn to your online store and vice versa. This channel of customer acquisition alone accounts for almost 178 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 net sales. Its impressive statistics make Amazon an undeniable force that matters if you want to establish unstoppable omni-channel communication with your clientele.
Your clients will receive a full image of your brand when they use several retail channels to find out about it. This establishes trust and credibility for your eCommerce company and increases the efficiency of all your marketing operations. Be consistent and update the information about your products on all platforms where you establish your brand. This may lead to a purchase in either a physical or an online store.
5. Target one-to-one with the help of analytics
What does analytics mean for omni-channel? Customer behavior patterns are visible across devices, platforms, and social media. If you succeed in gathering this information and applying it to your marketing campaigns, you can enhance the omni-channel customer experience and make it unsurpassable.
Build a bridge between the expectations of your customers and the service and products that you offer at your store. Data-backed marketing scenarios are efficient: you had better source omni-channel analytics to learn the preferences of your clients. No matter where your customers first learn about your brand, on Facebook or Pinterest, on Amazon or eBay, you can provide a connected shopping experience using the patterns of consumer behavior.
Omni-channel philosophy: a new frontier
It is hard to deny the potential benefits that omni-channel strategies can bring. Once you create an intuitive seamless interaction with your brand on a multi-channel level, it will be easy to cater to large audiences and target them with personalized offers. Target wisely and integrate everywhere: start by establishing your brand on Amazon and enhance your reach further on Facebook and Instagram.