Back before “digital” was relevant and just a twinkle in the eye of every CEO, CIO and COO, businesses spent £millions on developing their marketing strategy to sell more products using tools such as direct mail, and crafty ploys such as “wobble” boards at the end of a supermarket aisle. Then they upped their game and invested in more strategic methods of marketing, utilising demographical data and personal preferences and events- known as “Event Driven Marketing”. In essence the experience for the consumer via means of a more personalised engagement strategy was born. I was fortunate enough to work with some real pioneers of that time, and help bring organisations such as Abbey National, HBOS, Southern Water forward as to how they engaged with their customers across multiple channels.
Fast forward 20years, and according to a Harvard Business review 73% of all customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey. Only when the customer has gathered as much information as possible from a variety of sources to support their purchase decision, will they then decide to purchase.
So what are the benefits of adopting a multichannel (or Omnichannel) strategy as part of your digital transformation scope?
1. A Better Customer Experience
Whether it’s an advert powered by social media, an email newsletter, a mobile push notification, or a face-to-face chat within your store, the consumer wishes to have the same experience across all channels. Businesses that break down the walls between the channels with the consumer, will enable the consumer to feel empowered to interact with a company in a way that feels natural to them.
2. An Increase In Sales and Traffic
Making your sales strategy omnichannel-proof isn’t that simple, but if you ensure you have the right people involved from the outset who will lead the due-diligence and procurement to implementation, will ensure that you benefit from a measurable ROI.
Point of Note: Customers who used 4+ channels spent an average 9% more in the store compared to those who used just one single channel.
3. Increase in Customer Loyalty
It is a proven theory that not only do customers who engage with your business across multiple channels spend more, they also have an increased level of loyalty to your brand.
The same study shows that within 6 months after an omnichannel shopping experience, those customers had logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the relevant stores, thus increasing revenue for the business in question- sound great right?
They were also more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel and with an engaging brand story, a business that then focus on reducing other campaign types, which are usually seasonal and often don’t return any brand loyalty. The obvious focus should be on customer loyalty.
4. Enhanced Master and Meta Data Collection
Remember my quote regarding pre-digital and Businesses who provided a heavily personalised experience for their customers. Well today businesses are able to track their customers over different channels and thus can can gather vital meta data serve their consumers better with a more personalised experience.
Adopting an omnichannel approach will enable your business to gain powerful insights on how to create relevant content and campaigns that will encourage your customers to engage themselves in your products- across your online and physical presence.
How Do You Create an Omnichannel Strategy?
Implementing this without the relevant experience or skills will be hard going, but with the right partner by your the parameters of Time/Effort, Cost and Quality will be more coherently directed.
To start you off, here are 5 high-level steps from True North Digital.
Get to know your customer…really well!: Don’t make assumptions. Research your target audience’s interests, behaviour and requirements. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, invite customer feedback and leverage social media and social listening tools to the maximum!
Select the right channels: Find out where your customers are and what they’re doing right now. Not easy, but a worth while investment of effort vs high return.
Choose a clear purpose per channel: One channel mainly for interaction, the other for news updates and so on.
Connect all your relevant channels: This is the hardest element and only works if you execute it perfectly (omnichannel only). You’ll need the right technology (and partner) to apply due diligence with regards to your business needs, its scope, resource availability and budget. Focus on your customer across all touchpoints: from reading reviews on your website, seeing social media ads, window shopping via your online marketplace and last but by no means least….purchasing at your physical store.
Maintain your channels: Maintenance is most definitely key, and retaining a focus on quick to market testing with things like an MVP solution will support your overall strategy. Document all these touchpoints comprehensively enough to serve your customers in the best way possible, with the channels available. This way, you’ll create a loyal customer who keeps coming back for more!
If this all sounds too daunting, then why not give True North Digital a call for a further discussion.