Make omnichannel integral to your retail marketing strategy
The old silos of retail are crumbling—fast. Between online and offline, social media and email, across a growing variety of touchpoints, today’s customers want the barriers to an uninterrupted omnichannel shopping experience to come down.
They expect a seamless experience that evolves across touchpoints, individualized interactions all their own, a brand that’s always ready to fill a need, wherever they turn, whenever they choose.
Whether you’re brick-and-mortar enterprise or an e-commerce entity, a large retailer with a rapidly digitizing brand and rising revenues or a boutique brand serving a select audience of savvy customers, omnichannel is an imperative that requires a marketing strategy that opens up siloes channels and engineers the holistic orchestration of customer experiences.
Omnichannel retail for the individual shopper begins with data
Clunky customer segments and basic customer demographics no longer suffice for understanding today’s increasingly diverse audiences. Targeting and audience segmentation — and ultimately delivering that individualized, omnichannel customer experience—require an expanded set of attributes, from a wider array of data sources, all in one place. A successful omnichannel marketing strategy is built on comprehensive data, fully consolidated and integrated.
So what sorts of data should you be looking for? Here’s where to start:
- Channel & device preferences and propensities: What channel or combination of channels do your customers prefer? What sorts of activities do they tend to engage in on each channel? Where is conversion most likely to occur? The answers become the critical navigation points for mapping out your engagement journey.
- Time propensities & lifetime communication caps: Pinpoint what times of the day and week elicit the most productive responses? How many communications you can send before your customer heads for the exit door marked “opt out.” This will give you an idea of how to sequence your campaigns for the greatest impact.
- Psychographic: What motivates, delights, or irks a customer? These insights inform content that isn’t just transactional, but meaningful, relevant, and contextual and are more likely to build connections and trust.
- Location: Where are your customers physically located? How can you leverage geo data to deliver interactions specific to where they are in the moment? Sensors and beacons, for example, can unlock more in-store upsell and cross-sell opportunities
- Social media: Where do your customers connect and converse? Younger audiences live almost constantly on social media, but don’t discount older segments. They’re not hermetically sealed in the 20th century. Monitoring trends and conversations—about you and your competitors—across these platforms yields invaluable intelligence.
Perfecting the art of orchestrating omnichannel shopping journeys
Going omnichannel doesn’t assume that customers are totally channel-agnostic. Omnichannel should be seen as a smorgasboard of options that can involve any set of, but hardly ever all, touchpoints dotted across the online/offline divide. Generation Z and Millennial customers, for example, can be more digitally-oriented, marked by their “obsession” with social media and all things online. It might be easy to look at these generations and declare brick and mortar a thing of the past. However, as research suggests, these so-called digital natives still retain a preference for brick and mortar as their shopping destination. What’s more, they are only just starting to overtake Boomers as the biggest consumer age group. Discarding brick and mortar outright, instead of reinventing for the digital age, would mean the loss of customers old and new.
Instead, map out your customers’ usual shopping journeys, pinpoint the hitches in their ways, and identify the technology vendor deficiencies that are causing the interruptions. Ensure the right journey orchestration capabilities are in place. This will help you plan out how interactions on one touchpoint should inform those elsewhere—and more importantly, how you can make things move smoother.
But no matter how meticulously arranged your pre-defined journeys are, customers never cease to surprise. Retail brands need to respond to individual customers in real time, and they need to do this at scale. Real-time intelligence, utilized with the right marketing automation solutions, can help brands prioritize the most popular touchpoints, offer smooth cross-channel handoffs, and adjust the timing of individualized campaign communications.
Omnichannel is more than just brick-and-mortar and ecommerce
As the supposed battle for supremacy between brick and mortar and ecommerce wages on, what are retailers to do with omnichannel? Should they transition to becoming digital-only? The scale of the spectacle can be overwhelming, and it risks erasing the many touchpoints that constitute both sides of the divide—and the customers that interact with one another and brands through them.
For each retail brand, the solution to this crisis demands more than competitor analysis and new channel investments. As the panic and confusion spread, an insight-driven return to the individual customer is more important than ever.
Retail brands that continue to thrive are capturing and contextualizing customer insights at every touchpoint between and beyond the two sides of this divide. They tearing down silos and tossing out old tools to keep up with, and gain a unified view of, the always restless customer.
This is the omnichannel answer to the retail crisis: Holistic, frictionless retail experiences that are consistently individualized and delivered through channels that matter the most to your customers.
Interested in how Resulticks can fulfill your retail marketing needs? Our real-time conversation marketing cloud offers a robust suite of capabilities to transform your customer engagement efforts. For a tailored view of how it can work for you, schedule a demo session now.