Consider this scenario: You want to buy a new laptop, you walk into a store and shortlist a brand. You go home, google the brand, and switch over to their website to browse through models. You reckon you’ll come back to it.
In a few moments, an advertisement from the brand with your preferred model shows up on your Instagram with happy customer testimonials. You click the ad and it takes you to direct messaging, where an automated bot asks you questions, compares features and helps you make a selection. You need more time to think.
By the end of the day you get an email offering you a 5% discount if your selected model is purchased within 24 hours. But you have a couple of doubts about the warranty, so you call their customer care number and they solve your query.
The next day you get a reminder on SMS that your offer is expiring in a few minutes – you click the link and complete the purchase.
This is omnichannel marketing.
Instead of pushing your customers to a channel you prefer, you design an integrated and coherent customer journey to follow them wherever they prefer – across websites, apps, store fronts, social media, emails, SMS, events, or the meta-verse.
This expansion in brand interaction channels is taking place because customer expectations are evolving; customers want to interact with businesses online, offline, and some customers like low-touch points and personalized interactions – they want to be known.
And no matter which channel they choose, they expect up-to-date knowledge about their purchase history and preferences. In our example above, at every point – whether Instagram or email or text message, you would have noticed that the customer’s history and preference were already in sync, and every new interaction moved the customer along the sales funnel.
Research suggests more than half of customers interact with at least 3 to 5 channels during their journey to a purchase or addressing a request. In a McKinsey report, it was found that the average customer attempting to book a single accommodation reservation online transitioned almost six times between websites and mobile channels.
And of course, omnichannel customers convert to increased sales too. They shop 1.7 times more than shoppers who use a single channel, and they spend more!
How Does Omnichannel Marketing Differ from Multi-Channel Marketing
‘Omni’ means all and ‘Multi’ means many. But the key difference isn’t in semantics.
Multichannel marketing is about taking a customer from Point A to Point B by sharing the same message on different platforms. For example, you run a Thanksgiving Offer and use channels like blog, social media, and email to broadcast the one message to convince a customer to buy or interact with your brand.
On the other hand, omnichannel marketing is about getting a customer to engage by offering different content through inter-linked platforms. Like the example at the beginning of the blog, a customer might see an Instagram ad with social proof, find a discount code in their email, and a payment countdown on SMS. This approach provides a connected and smooth experience across various platforms.
Advantages of Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing stands out in many ways with it’s advantages:
- Enhanced Customer Experience: With seamless, consistent, and unified customer experience across various channels and touchpoints, omnichannel marketing allows for personalized customer experiences that boost sales, spending, and loyalty. 53% of leading retailers aim to enhance customer lifetime value through omnichannel strategies.
- Access New Customer Segments: By optimizing for different channels, omnichannel strategies allow businesses to tap into new customer segments that they would not have been able to if they only focussed on 1 or 2 channels. This advantage is recognized by 48% of leading retailers.
- Augment Operational Efficiency: Omnichannel marketing forces you to consolidate and streamline operations and customer data management, which enables efficient resource allocation and top-notch collection of data points across all departments. This can lead to data driven decisions in the areas of inventory management, demand forecasting, minimizing losses, and more.
- Effective Problem Resolution: By offering multiple platforms for customer support and query resolution, brands can ensure quick problem solving.
- Greater Competitive Advantage: By offering a superior customer experience, omnichannel marketing contributes to building a strong brand reputation and competitive position.
Tools to Create an Omnichannel Marketing Experience
Omnichannel marketing can be brought to life through unifying softwares or individual software solutions across owned channels.
There are many platforms that help brands centralize their omnichannel efforts by allowing you to streamline, integrate, and manage various marketing channels in one place, across CRM, Data Management, Social Media, Email Marketing, and SMS Marketing. Some popular platforms are:
- Zeta Global
You can still use specialized software for specific channels or tasks, especially if you require advanced features or analytics unique to that channel. Omnichannel softwares like the aforementioned can complement these tools by helping you create a cohesive and consistent customer experience across all channels. Some examples of specialized software are:
- Operations Management Tools: To efficiently manage orders and streamline fulfillment across various channels. Eg: Extensiv, Adobe Commerce
- Analytics Tools: To provide insights into customer behavior across different channels, helping to optimize the customer journey. Eg: Google Analytics, Mixpanel
- Chatbot and Live Chat Tools: To offer instant, consistent, and personalized communication across various customer touch points. Eg: Intercom, LiveChat
Best Omnichannel Campaigns of 2023
BonLook sells prescription eyewear both in stores across Canada and globally online. Recognizing the personal nature of buying glasses, BonLook introduced online shopping guides and a virtual try-on feature to mimic the in-person shopping experience, allowing a comprehensive view of the glasses.
They also provide a specialized iOS app, enabling associates to assist customers in frame selection and purchase, seamlessly integrated with their online store for real-time inventory and order viewing. Utilizing Shopify Plus for their omnichannel strategy, BonLook has seen an 18% increase in average order value, with 15% of customers returning within six months.
Disney has been executing the omnichannel experience for a while now. Starting with its user-friendly, mobile-responsive website, the trip-planning function works seamlessly on mobile devices.
After booking a trip, the My Disney Experience tool helps you plan your entire vacation, from dining reservations to securing Fast Passes. Within the park, their mobile app provides real-time information on attraction locations and estimated wait times.
Disney takes it a step further with its Magic Band program. This multifunctional tool serves as a hotel key, photo storage for pictures with Disney characters, a food ordering tool, and it’s integrated with the Fast Pass system to ensure a smooth vacation experience.
Cocomelody, a retailer of affordable wedding and formal dresses, faced challenges with stagnant ad conversion rates and high cart abandonment despite engagement through Google Ads and Facebook posts.
Recognizing customers’ concerns about not being able to try on dresses, Cocomelody introduced a $25 per dress home try-on option, easy returns, and fabric swatch delivery. They informed cart abandoners about these new features via push notifications, SMS, and personalized emails, leading to a 30% boost in sales.
Additional resources like color charts, a large Facebook group, and fit and measurement guides further enhance the customer experience.
Starbucks has consistently emphasized technological progression, evident from the launch of its dedicated mobile app in 2009. This commitment has kept them at the cusp of omnichannel marketing innovation as well.
Features such as referrals, store locators, and online ordering enrich the Starbucks rewards program, creating a comprehensive tool for coffee enthusiasts. Customers accrue points and reward cards with each purchase, redeemable both in-store and online, ensuring real-time balance and profile updates across all platforms. This integration guarantees a uniform and seamless shopping experience for every user.
Benefit Cosmetics made a significant impact with an inventive omnichannel campaign, introducing “brow bar” experiences in the UK. The brand toured the region, offering brow bars to competition winners through its “BrowMobile” campaign and hosting a drive-thru for complimentary eyebrow waxes and samples.
This approach, highlighting customer accessibility and shareable visual content, greatly bolstered the brand’s market presence. The campaign’s success is evident, elevating Benefit’s market share for brow products to 60% in the UK, underscoring the effectiveness of mobile, customer-centred strategies.
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