We like to break down the big buzzwords in the world of marketing and e-commerce and this article is no different. This time we will be dealing with the great, the powerful, the omnichannel. What is omnichannel anyway? Is it just a fancy term for multichannel? Why is it buzzing around? Our brief guide will try and answer these questions and any others we are all secretly having but don’t want to ask out out loud.
What is omnichannel?
Breaking it right down, an omnichannel approach means connecting to your customers through each and every channel you offer. Omni from the latin for all, and channel meaning any means of interaction - this can be online or offline, on a phone or on a laptop, by email or by social media.
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Why is not multichannel?
Omnichannel marketing integrates all of these approaches into one seamless method of communication. This separates it from multichannel marketing because multichannel is characterised by multiple separate channels running independently, in parallel to each other. These channels aren’t just multimedia ones, they include both online and offline services - incorporating physical stores.
You can integrate offline sales (in-store) with the use of loyalty
cards and customer accounts.
So whilst they are similar, multichannel marketing is an outdated predecessor that is becoming less and less relevant.
Why do we care?
“90% of consumers start a task on one device and finish
it on another”
We have seen before that e-commerce development is driven by customer needs and omnichannel is no exception. It fits in with the here-and-now culture we live in - we carry encyclopedias in our pockets and we research on the go. This includes when we are looking at products in store, simply browsing or even if we’re bored. Customers’ purchase journeys span multiple touchpoints and if you want to stay relevant, you should make that journey as seamless as possible.
How can we use Omnichannel?
As well as it making business-customer relations easier on behalf of the customer, you can also use it help you. Two of the main ways you can be using it to your advantage are:
To segment your audience - With an integrated approach you can take all of the information that you get from each separate touchpoint to build a comprehensive profile of your customers.
This can mean tailoring recommendations to suggest items that are specifically interesting to each customer; it can also mean directing marketing campaigns at groups of customers based on their specific buying history.
To optimise communication - As customers use several touchpoints before committing to a purchase, emails are a great way to stay in touch with them throughout their journey.
One of the results of visiting your store through different mediums can be leaving items in the basket without checking out. This can be a missed opportunity if you simply let them walk away without following up. For example, a follow-up email saying that you’re still available with other similar products can help to make sure the customer chooses your webshop to buy from.
So, omnichannel marketing strategies can be used to help build and consolidate brand awareness, making your brand omnipresent.
What can we expect to get from it?
By having the same reliable, dependent and personalised experience - no matter the touch point or point in a customer’s journey - you can increase familiarity, engagement and brand awareness. On top of that, all three of these things help to build brand loyalty. Customers won’t just be interested in the great experience they got from you once, they will want to keep returning to experience it again and again.
The possibilities already exist to use omnichannel marketing and make a seamless experience for your customers. The question is, are you ready to use it?
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