Closing the gap between offline and the online

Closing-the-Gap

by Gladys Ng

January 31, 2018

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The inevitability of omnichannel marketing and the imperative to deliver a seamless customer journey mean that online and offline marketing initiatives have become inextricably intertwined. Customers now expect brands to recognize and remember them as they move effortlessly from channel to channel and device to device. They can’t understand why the engagement they began while browsing online shouldn’t continue at that point they left off when they switch to the mobile app or walk through a storefront door.

While marketing technology continues to advance to make that kind of customer experience a reality, marketers still struggle at capturing and integrating all of the valuable transaction data such online/offline journeys generate. This data is essential not only to making seamlessly journeys possible, but also to attributing conversions, calculating marketing ROI, and improving future campaign performance.

So where does the problem lie? From the online to the offline.

One significant obstacle in connecting the offline and online channels lies in identifying the moments in customer experiences that can be optimized for omnichannel marketing.

Problems arise when online and offline channel marketing goals fail to align. Research has shown that almost half of marketers are unsure of their ability to deliver the same message on different channels.

Take for example the distribution of discount codes or gift coupons. Shared online through emails or on websites, many customers eagerly flash them in brick and mortar stores expecting to get the discount. Regrettably, they are informed, that coupon works only online.

As 92 percent of retail transactions still take place physically, this kind of disconnect between the online and physical stores can frequently interrupt the omnichannel journey of a customer. If, however, this gap is closed, not only would the experience be more fulfilling for the customer, the store would also obtain valuable consumer data.

Take for example, James, who receives a personalized discount code, with an embedded Smart Link, in his email for a pair of winter boots online. (Smart Link is Resulticks’ universal, ready-to-embed, deferred deep link used to track the actions and responses of individual audience members during and after communication campaigns deployed across owned, earned, and paid media assets.) James decides to buy the boots, but wants to try them on in a physical store before committing to the purchase.

He heads down to the store and finds the perfect size. The salesperson keys in his discount code, and the transaction indicates that James is a customer who prefers purchasing shoes in physical stores, and that their emails have been effective. Despite how easily this data can be collected, only 6 percent of companies track in-store redemption of such discounts that were offered online.

Had the company not provided James with a Smart Link discount code and tracked its activation in-store, they would not have been able to learn James’ purchasing preferences, his responsiveness to the email, the time of his purchase, and most importantly, could have potentially lost the sale.

The reverse could also happen.

Another challenge that brands with both physical and online sales channels face is in losing the sale of a hesitant in-store customer. For example, Jessica, who’s waiting for a friend at a mall, decides to stop by a retail store to take a look at the new season of clothes. She finds a pair of shoes she likes, but decides to reevaluate her decision after meeting her friend. Jessica knows that there’s also an online store, so she can always purchase later.

Leaving sale dangling doesn’t advance toward conversion. Jessica may well forget about the pair of shoes after a fun day out. But what if the pair of shoes came with a QR code that Jessica could scan to automatically save into her online wish list with the store? Jessica’s interest would automatically be added into her customer profile, and a reminder email or push notification triggered later that day would give the store a renewed opportunity to convert her into a customer.

Having such a strong omnichannel mechanism would open up new opportunities to convert potential physical sales into online ones, and generate new data for use in future marketing campaigns

Closing the Loop

Countless numbers of consumers like James and Jessica file through the online and offline channels daily. Given this constant ebb and flow of interactions, transactions, and data, closing the loop between offline and online experiences has enormous potential for customer acquisition and retention, revenue growth, and continuous improvement in marketing performance and ROI.

If you want to know how to bridge the online/offline gap, contact Resulticks today.