Image, curtesy of iStock.
Omnichannel is a word you hear a lot in today’s landscape as bricks and mortar and online channels connect. Omnichannel has cemented itself in the retail experience since the birth of the mobile phone when a large percentage of the population started shopping online and looked to convenience when making a purchase. In its early days, it was often referred to as assembled commerce, the coming together of various selling points. In years past, many businesses kept their online and physical locations separate but to do so in 2022 would be catastrophic. Consistency is key when it comes to omnichannel marketing, be sure all your channels are connected to ensure a seamless experience for your customer.
“Omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies.” Google
During the height of the covid pandemic, seamless omnichannel structures saved many businesses, allowing for ease of purchase in a strange time. Customers could purchase online from the safety of home and click and collect; Woolworths, Coles and Officeworks shined bright in the space and kept strong bonds with customers. In less restrictive times, many businesses have permanently adopted these strategies to give options to the time-poor customer, proving fruitful.
What is Omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is a business strategy where a brands multiple channels seamlessly integrate with the gaol of creating a consistent brand experience. This includes physical retail – store or pop up and digital channels including a website, social channels, and apps.
Omnichannel vs Multichannel
Be sure not to confuse omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing. Multichannel marketing utilises as many channels as possible to get the message out. In contrast, omnichannel uses multiple channels to ease the service and connect to each other, creating a seamless experience.
Why is Omnichannel marketing important in the modern marketplace?
Never more so now than before, customers want and demand convenience. They want to purchase and interact with a brand in ways that fit into their lifestyle, not the other way around. Creating multiple options for a customer to interact with a brand creates long-lasting bonds that are critical to business success in a crowded market.
Omnichannel Marketing Trends:
1. QR Codes:
QR codes are a great way to drive traffic to digital channels; may they be featured on ambient media, packaging and in-store. Don’t have room to display the entire collection in-store? Encourage customers to inform themselves of an extended collection and, by doing so, additional offerings by displaying QR codes in store. Doing so makes the purchasing journey effortless for the customer, leading to long-term customer relationships and brand loyalty.
2. Online to retail:
Online to retail is where a customer purchases online and click and collects or extends their shopping experience in-store. During the height of the pandemic, many stores adapted to this quickly, such as Officeworks, Woolworths, Bunnings, and David Jones, to name a few in the Australian market. This helped the continuation of services in retail and essential services at a time where physical locations were closed. As restrictions ease, many brands have continued to offer click and collect, implementing it into their permanent strategy.
3. Retail to online:
Retail to online is when a customer is directed online from in-store to extend their shopping experience. Don’t have the physical space to house all your offerings in-store? Direct customers online via in-store activations and QR codes to showcase extended collections, see examples of products insitu and give customers time to discuss the purchase with another.
“In one survey, 67% of respondents said they would likely continue using curbside pickup, even after the pandemic. This is more than just an indication of a trend that’s extending into 2022; it’s indicative of overall buyer psychology.” Shopify
4. Push notifications through geotagging:
Geotagging has been around since 2008 and is often used as part of an omnichannel approach. Geolocation marketing is when a brand uses the customer’s physical location to guide them in communicating with a customer. For instance, brands can know if you are in close proximity to an outlet and push an SMS to a customer’s phone or help personalise an app. For this strategy to be effective, the data needs to be reliable and the message on point, as it can easily backfire and be off-putting to a consumer.
5. Mobile apps:
According to Bankmyphone 91.54% of the world’s population own a mobile phone. According to Google, 59% of shoppers say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from. Branded apps have become more and more popular with time and are a key aspect of many brands’ omnichannel strategies. Apps are an integral part of an omnichannel strategy as they’re at the customers fingertips, they don’t need to search to find you. They can simply go into an app for a seamless branded experience that is personalised due to quality data. Depending on the app in questions a customer can purchase through a branded app to pick up instore, receive messages, and link into loyalty clubs.
6. Social Selling:
Social selling is when a brand enables purchases via their social media platforms. Many platforms provide this opportunity, including Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, and they can add dimension to an omnichannel strategy. Post about a product on your chosen social media platform with a link to the website creating ease of purchase and therefore helping to cement bonds between brand and consumer.
Best in show:
Here we look at global brands that are best in show when it comes to their omnichannel strategy.
Disney is truly one of the best in show regarding their omnichannel approach across the vast Disney brand. Their park experiences are seamless through apps detailing park maps, ride wait times, hotel check-ins and tickets that are echoed via emails and their website. On the streaming side, their mobile-optimised website works seamlessly with the website, apps, and social channels. A customer can purchase a subscription or stream a program via mobile, desktop or app. They can keep up to date on the Disney world across their website, emails, and social channels, they give the customer many options as to how they choose to consume their brand. These options bond the customer and brand, creating loyalty and seamless consumption.
Officeworks have a seamless omnichannel approach across their multiple channels, including their app, website, retail presence and social channels. They know how to ensure the customer is directed to the precise point to expand their knowledge of products and have multiple collection and purchase options. All of these bond the customer to the brand and increase the likelihood of a return purchases. You can go into an Officeworks store and be directed via a QR Code to their website to browse extended product ranges, purchase in-store and have your order delivered or purchase online and click and collect. Officeworks' omnichannel approach served them well during the pandemic, where their customers were looked after for their home office requirements, cementing bonds that will last well into the future.
Starbucks' approach to omnichannel spans their website, app, social channels, ambient media, and wearable technology. You can scan your in-app loyalty card, order on your phone and pay in advance to save time, and search for nearby locations. Their suite of choices makes the customer experience effortless and is always on brand.
Sephora’s approach to omnichannel encompasses its website, app, social channels, virtual try-ons, rewards program, and in-store activations. Their in-store activations allow the customer to partake in virtual product try on’s which detail the availability of a product. A customer can purchase on their phone via social or desktop, and their rewards program is in-app. They are consistent across all touch points making for a seamless brand experience, these aspects and more make Sephora a heavyweight in their approach to omnichannel.
Mecca's omnichannel approach encompasses its website, app, social channels, beauty club, emails, events, and in-store activations. The Australian-owned powerhouse brand knows its brand and consumers well and has created a seamless omnichannel strategy that seeks to look after their community. Customers can browse, purchase, and interact across their branded network, which also includes branded filters. Their approach is consistent and on brand and during the height of the pandemic they were able to shift many of their activations online. In post pandemic times many of these activations have helped structure their 2022 approach.
Nordstrom knows how to create a seamless experience. Their website, app, social channels, and physical retail all integrate seamlessly to create a strong and effortless brand experience. These elements create ease of purchase, which in turn creates strong bonds and return purchases. Nordstrom gives customers the option to purchase online and pick up in-store or curbside through their Nordstrom local stores, purchase through social selling and scan to shop through printed promotions.
Woolworths' omnichannel strategy is strong. Their website, app, retail presence and social channels seamlessly connect, amplifying the customer experience. This was on show, especially during the pandemic when online orders and click and collect were the lifelines of many households across Australia. You can browse recipes on their Instagram account, go directly to their website and purchase ingredients and have them delivered directly to your home or pick up in store. Their mobile optimised website assists in the process, enabling the customer to shop on the go, check on orders, and their SMS system informs the customer of delivery details and confirmed orders, which also land in your inbox.
Leading You Through The Digital World
Jane Hayes Consulting is an independent digital marketing agency founded to help businesses create consistent, creatively aligned, and strategic content. We can help you put your best foot forward with our expertly crafted team covering website design and building, marketing strategy, content creation, brand creation, and project management. We work within budget restraints and look toward the future. Need assistance in developing your digital strategy and creating a business advantage? Contact Jane Hayes Consulting today and sign up for our newsletter.