Until recently, the end of brick-and-mortar stores was announced, whereas, in the meantime, customers praise the possibility of physical contact with the product. It is best if the company exists in both the virtual and the real world. And it was this trend that started the era of omnichannel marketing, because the challenge was to find a bridge between online and offline marketing.

Omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing removes the distinction between online and landline customers. A modern consumer wants to buy at anytime, anywhere and from any device. Omnichannel marketing means building a customer’s experience and accompanying customers throughout the entire sales process, from gaining their attention to purchase. Omnichannel marketing is not only about sending a message but also about receiving feedback from the customer.

The collection of information from the customer is carried out directly, e.g. through the analysis of complaints and indirectly through the analysis of all data that can be collected through the tracking of customer traffic on the Internet. This will include demographic data and personalized shopping preferences.

A modern customer focuses on convenience, and omnichannel marketing is a strategy that responds to his expectations. A modern customer wants to be able to jump between devices during shopping, e.g. if he starts the shopping process on a laptop, he wants to be able to complete it on a smartphone. If the company does not have a responsive website adapted to mobile devices or a dedicated application, it may lose the customer.
Omnichannel marketing is an advertising and sales strategy that interweaves the virtual world with the real world. That is why it is a big challenge for companies to integrate teams working in brick-and-mortar stores with those who operate online stores. Omnichannel marketing means removing obstacles from the customer’s purchasing path and undertaking actions aimed at increasing sales.

Dedicated mobile applications are very important here. You can find and place information about products and make a purchase using them. And each time you turn them on, they can show you products recommended to a specific user. The algorithm will match them by analyzing the purchase history and browsing history.

Mobile applications also use geolocation, as in the case of the Rossmann brand – when the customer is near the store he receives a notification, e.g. about a current promotion. Advertising created on the basis of personalized information about the customer is less intrusive, because it is the answer to his needs.

 

So what is the difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing?

Seemingly very simple, but not entirely. Multichannel marketing reaches the recipient through many different sources with the same information. These will be advertisements on Facebook, newsletters, advertisements with promotions on websites they visit or recommendations of influencers. The effectiveness of multichannel marketing is measured by clicks that lead to sales.

Omnichannel marketing is based on building customer relations with a given brand. It works not only online but also offline. In practice it looks like this:

The customer receives a newsletter with information about a sale in their favorite store. In the online store, he adds the selected products to the shopping cart. On the way to the shop he can verify his choice, add something or remove it from the cart, make a purchase. And in a brick-and-mortar shop, he can pick up his order within a few minutes.

Based on the customer’s choice, both the service in the brick-and-mortar store and in the online store have access to personalized customer information. Instead of bombarding the customer from everywhere with the same random messages, he gets information about products that are likely to interest him.

Thanks to the advertising dictated by specific choices, the customer is more willing to shop in the same store again and then again, and thanks to the relationship, which is personalized, he will feel important.

Omnichannel is a natural transformation from multichannel. It is a mature and effective understanding of customer needs.

 

Examples of the use of omnichannel marketing in customer service

Omnichannel marketing connects an online store to a brick-and-mortar store to make shopping as easy and pleasant as possible. Companies use a number of facilities for this purpose. What is interesting, these are often not breakneck solutions, but clever combinations of modern technology and tradition.

Crate & Barrel is a chain of furniture stores in the USA. Crate & Barrel has focused on the problem of the always insufficient number of salespeople – consultants in the sales hall. A solution has been introduced, which allows customers to check on their own which materials are used to make the furniture, whether it is available in other colors, what is the stock, etc.

This is due to the fact that the store was fitted not only with furniture and accessories for interior decoration, but also with tablets. The tablets are used to read codes and display detailed product information. In addition, customers can “place” items they like into a virtual shopping cart.

After deciding what to leave in the cart, they simply approach an employee and he will complete the order. If the customer decides not to buy, he can send an e-mail with a wish list to his own e-mail address to give himself some time to think about the purchase. This, in turn, means that the brand can remind customers about its existence in an almost direct manner without bothering them too much.

Starbucks is a well-known chain of cafes. During rush hour, many people were crowding at the checkout. The company solved this problem with a mobile application which you can use to order and pay for coffee. Instead of standing in a long queue you can wait at the table. The application increases the comfort of buying coffee even when we are not sure what we want to buy. It’s hard to make a good decision when there are so many people standing behind us also wanting to buy this invigorating drink.

There is no point in introducing innovations if we do not measure their effects. According to researchers, mobile payments in the USA accounted for 29% of all transactions. The Mobile Order & Pay application itself, on the other hand, in 2017 accounted, on average, for 8% of transactions per quarter.

eobuwie.pl is a perfect example of the use of omnichannel marketing by a Polish brand. On August 30, 2018, in Poznań, the company opened its first brick-and-mortar store. However, this is nothing like the shops we are used to.

There are no goods on the shelves, but there are tablets, and on the walls instead of mirrors there are screens where you can see styling suggestions using the company’s assortment. Some goods can be tried on and bought in the shop, others have to be ordered. The possibility of express collection of goods purchased online in the so-called self service kiosks is supposed to make people’s life a whole lot easier.

 

UX role in omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel is used not only by retailers. Thanks to omnichannel we shop more consciously. It is easier to remember the brands that have met our expectations, and the brands are going to greater lengths to accommodate our expectations.

Thanks to the analysis of data and experience in the omnichannel, Camuto company was able to respond quickly to the needs of its customers. One of their bestsellers was a coat, the so-called trench. But there was a problem. Customers complained that they were losing their belt… The company reacted immediately by creating an e-mail campaign and social media ads.

Three fashion bloggers took part in the campaign, promoting an outfit with the coat playing the main role. Each outfit showed a suggestion of how to replace a dedicated belt with other parts of your clothes.

 

Omnichannel marketing from a customer perspective

From the customer’s perspective, the message in omnichannel marketing is addressed specifically to him. This helps to make faster purchasing decisions. The customer does not have to wade through dozens of pages with t-shirts, shoes, cosmetics. They receive personalized information about discounts, sales, new products. This saves time, so the customer gets attached to the shop where he has already shopped and is satisfied with it.

Large brands make customers accustomed to the fact that it is the company that has to follow the customer and not the other way round. Therefore, combining all channels to reach the customer becomes crucial here. The use of CRM systems and analytical approach to purchasing habits becomes necessary for effective sales.

 

The role of data and CRM in omnichannel marketing

Building relationships with customers to tie them to a brand is nothing new. This is how the marketing of small local shops worked – the owners used to chit chat with customers, thus gaining their sympathy and learning about their preferences.

What has changed is the scale of impact. Now even small companies can count customers in hundreds. It is difficult to maintain a personal relationship with so many people. And maintaining a once acquired client means the best business and lower costs of running a business.

According to the IDC study, users who make purchases through different channels have a 30% higher CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) than those who do not.

Omnichannel marketing is based on managing and processing very large amounts of data. The first step to implement future marketing should be implementing a CRM system.

CRM Salesforce (e.g. Sales Cloud) meets all the described requirements. For years it has been recognized by Gartner as the leader in the industry of customer relationship management.

Owners of small companies who have implemented CRM have noticed a 25% increase in revenues, 26% more concluded contracts, and the time of purchase decisions has been shortened by as much as 38%.

It takes a lot of work to implement omnichannel marketing, but as reports show – it pays off!

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