The world has become ever more globalized and connected, and nowhere is that more apparent than in e-commerce. Today’s consumers have become spoiled by online shopping, instant updates, and a fully personalized experience. They expect the “custom” to be put in “customer” — and if you can’t offer that, you could be losing them to your competitors.
To truly provide an exceptional customer experience, you must create a consistent customer experience. With so many digital and physical channels where you may reach prospects, it’s time to fully leverage the omnichannel model.
What is the Omnichannel Model?
As digital marketing has become more popular, brands are putting out content and capturing leads on multiple channels. That’s nothing new. Unfortunately, the multichannel model has some problems. It’s too easy for potential customers to see redundant information rather than relevant content. Worse, they may not be consistently getting the great experience that will drive them to become loyal customers.
The omnichannel model considers all disparate marketing channels to be complementary parts of the same funnel. Rather than trying to capture customers in different ways on different channels — and potentially leaving some behind — brands can connect with leads the best way for their buyer’s journey. Ultimately, all the channels work together to move the lead to the point of purchase. From there, they are continually re-engaged as cherished customers and brand ambassadors.
Sound good? Brands that prioritize the customer relationship are increasingly adopting the omnichannel model because there’s really no other way to consistently leverage all the various digital channels — especially in e-commerce.
So, how can you put omnichannel marketing into action? Here’s your step-by-step guide:
Step 1. Make All of Your Channels as User-Friendly As Possible
In online shopping, the number-one factor in customer satisfaction is the ease of finding what they’re looking for. Clumsily built websites, confusing navigation, and poorly designed apps do more harm than good. Today’s consumers want to solve their problems quickly — they don’t want to have to find solutions for a broken website or app.
Invest some time in customer-focused UX design that fully affirms your target audience’s buying journey. Streamline the site or app to serve them first. An omnichannel approach cannot work without a consistently good customer experience… so start with your digital presence!
Step 2. Know Where Your Customers Spend Time — and What They Want
Too many digital marketers build their social media strategies based on their needs rather than their customers’. If your target audience doesn’t spend time on Facebook, your brand doesn’t need to have a Facebook page. Moreover, you must understand what they’re seeking on each channel. Where are they primed to buy vs. where are they mostly seeking information? Your tactics should match your audience’s interests and preferences.
In particular, an omnichannel approach should consider each channel a core element of your audience’s overall experience. Rather than soloing your tactics to run them in parallel, focus on the few core channels where you can build a consistent customer experience for your brand.
Step 3. Map the Connections Among Your Channels
Here’s where it gets tricky. Assuming that your target audience seeks particular information or responds to specific content on each channel, you need to guide them on their buyer’s journey throughout those channels.
For example, rather than running several email campaigns that mirror your social media pipeline, consider how leads may discover you on social media, subscribe to your list, and eventually be prime to convert. What touchpoints can you identify across your various channels? How can each part of your digital experience gradually provide more value to your ideal customers?
Step 4. Collect Data and Personalize the Experience
The beauty of a full-fledged omnichannel strategy is that customers encounter a cohesive brand experience no matter where they log in. To figure out which content and tactics work best on each channel, though, you’ll need to collect lots of data. Which audience segments are engaging where? What types of messages are driving the most conversions?
From there, you can tweak each component of your digital ecosystem to nurture each prospect along their buyer’s journey. The best way to do this is by leveraging that data to deliver personalized, high-value content. For example, if you capture a given lead based on their interest in a certain product line, send them email newsletters with info-rich content related to that line. Once they make a purchase, you can retarget with similar or complementary products.
Obviously, this takes some time to set up, but once you get things running, it’s much easier to convert and retain customers… because they’re consistently receiving messages that resonate with them and enjoying a personalized brand experience.
Omnichannel marketing is all about avoiding the silos of your various digital channels and instead refining your audience segments. By delivering highly targeted content to each prospect, you create a truly special customer experience that ultimately builds brand loyalty. Ecommerce brands hoping to stand out from the crowd and generate a passionate customer base should leverage the omnichannel model in their marketing.