How to Prepare for an Omnichannel E-Commerce That Will Serve the Rise of Digital Consumers
With the rise of digital consumers, having an omnichannel e-commerce strategy is more important that ever for businesses.
But, what exactly does ‘omnichannel’ mean? How do you prepare for an omnichannel e-commerce that will serve the rise of digital consumers?
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about omnichannel e-commerce. We’ll also list down the steps you need to get started, as well as the many benefits of having an omnichannel marketing strategy as an e-commerce business.
What is Omnichannel E-Commerce?
Omnichannel e-commerce is a unified e-commerce experience for your customers – no matter what platform or digital device they are using. This is important because research shows that approximately 73% of online shoppers use multiple channels when buying online.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: What’s the Difference?
Aside from omnichannel, you might have also heard the term ‘multichannel’. If you think that they are the same thing – think again. They have key differences that give them varying functions.
Omnichannel marketing focuses on delivering a personalized, consistent experience for shoppers across all devices and channels. The guiding principle behind omnichannel marketing is that it’s customer-centric, not channel-based. The main goal is to make the shopping experience as easy and convenient as possible, and that means consistent engagement no matter how or where a shopper is interacting with your business.
On the other hand, multichannel marketing includes different channels, like a brick and mortar location, mobile, direct mail, and social media. Every channel is independent and separate from the others, each with its own goals and strategy. This lack of integration from a multichannel approach can create an impersonal and confusing experience that often leaves customers feeling frustrated.
To further illustrate the difference between omnichannel and multichannel, consider the following situation:
- Customer A visits Company A’s website, browses its products, and finds that item that they are looking for.
- The item is listed as in-stock at the company’s local store, so Customer A adds the item to their online wish list, and drives to the company’s physical location.
- Once in the store, Customer A is greeted by a customer service rep who uses a table to access their wish list and immediately finds that specific item.
- Customer A finalizes their purchase, and drives home after a smooth and satisfying experience.
- Customer B visits Company B’s website, browses their products, and finds the product they want.
- The customer drives to the company’s local store, wanting to buy the product in person.
- Unfortunately, Customer B is unable to find the item in-store and, after asking a customer service rep for help, discovers that the store doesn’t have the item they want in stock.
- Customer B leaves the store empty-hand and dissatisfied.
In the first scenario, all touchpoints are part of a centralized customer experience. They can really ‘pick up where they left off’ with the company in question, no matter what channel they are using. There’s no misinformation, miscommunication, or redundant processes involved – the customers get what they want, how they want to get it.
In the second scenario, while Company B provides customers with the ability to engage with their brand in various ways, it doesn’t add much value to their overall experience. In fact, in the second scenario, the discord between different channels can actually frustrate customers.
The Importance of Creating an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Based on various omnichannel reports and studies, here are a few key reasons for why omnichannel marketing should be your business’ next focus.
- Brands who implement omnichannel marketing enjoy 18.7% high customer engagement rates and 90% higher customer retention rates.
- After interacting with 3 or more channels, customers purchased 250% more frequently than those who only interacted with one channel.
- Average order value of stores using omnichannel marketing were 13% more compared to single-channel marketing.
These statistics show that omnichannel marketing not only lets you maximize on reach, but also boosts sales and engagement.
How to Prepare for an Omnichannel E-Commerce That Will Serve the Rise of Digital Consumers
Now that you know the importance of omnichannel e-commerce and marketing, here’s how you can build your own omnichannel campaign.
Know your customers.
First things first, you need to analyze your customer’s data and learn everything you can about them. At a basic level, this means knowing important factors about your customers, such as demographic, location, gender, search habits, website browsing habits, and where they shop in-store. However, that’s not enough.
Top retailers understand their customers in even greater detail. They measure the influence of all touchpoints on a customer’s journey to final purchase – offline, online, and across multiple devices – using sophisticated measurement systems. There are platforms that can help you track your customer’s journey through each channel – search, direct mail, email, display, and TV – providing a holistic view of how a valuable customer makes a purchase.
With this data, you can answer important questions about your ideal customer. For instance, does your customer shop across a mix of offline and online channels before making a purchase? Did their purchase frequency increase due to a specific marketing campaign? What marketing channel would be most helpful in drawing customers into a nearby store? Is mobile assisting the customer’s in-store purchase? Armed with better measurement insights, businesses can, for example, better use online channels to draw shoppers into their physical stores.
Identify which channels your customers are regularly using.
Creating an omnichannel e-commerce marketing strategy doesn’t mean joining every channel available to you. Instead, it means meeting your customers wherever they are. This means that you should only invest in the channels that your customers are regularly using.
For instance, one survey shows that Instagram (73%) was the most-used social media platform for Gen Z adults, while Facebook is still the top choice for boomers (61%), Gen X adults (68%), and millennials (74%).
Review your buyer persona to determine which platforms are best for your omnichannel e-commerce campaign. Don’t be afraid to experience with emerging and new platforms, but be sure to constantly check the results to see if it’s worth continuing.
Appropriately target your messages.
A major part of getting your omnichannel e-commerce marketing strategy right is personalization and targeting. Since omnichannel e-commerce marketing provides you with a deeper level of personalization, it would be a complete waste of strategy to neglect it.
The best way to target your message, once you have all the customer data you need, is to segment your customers into different and smaller lists. By doing so, it will be easier to send personalized messages to smaller groups based on similar traits. These traits may include:
- Profile Data. Any information you might have on who your customer is, such as gender, age, location, marital status, etc.
- Shopping Behavior. Where your customer is in their customer journey, when they purchase last, and how often they shop.
- Campaign Engagement. How your customers interact with certain ads, campaigns, and channels.
If you want to create even smaller and more precise segments, you can even combine some of these traits. From this point, you can then set up automations to trigger when a customer goes through a period of time with no action or when they perform a certain action. This way, you can send the message that your customer needs, no matter where they are in their customer journey.
When you make sure that the message you are sending are always relevant, your customers will better respond to them.
Match your content with the marketing channel.
Publishing content isn’t enough – you also need to ensure that it matches the marketing channel you are using. Keep your content relevant to the marketing channel. For instance, videos and photos do well on Instagram and Facebook, influencer marketing videos can be posted on YouTube or TikTok, while longer text-based content are more ideal for email newsletters or blog posts. As you keep up your omnichannel marketing campaign, you’ll see which types of content do best on which channels, so you can adjust future posts accordingly.
Note that omnichannel marketing is not just about repeating the same message over different channels. It means making the most of different channels so they lead customers through a journey that ultimately convinces them to make a purchase.
Provide cross-channel support.
Did you know? One-third of customers say that they would consider switching companies after just one bad customer experience. This highlights the importance of customer support and how it helps build the customer journey.
Make sure your company can provide customer support on multiple channels, such as social media messaging and email support. For a personal touch, you can allow your customers to contact you on your company phone.
Also, make sure to train your staff to be friendly and welcoming. It’s important to have a playbook for different circumstances that might arise, such as complaints, requests for refunds, and other scenarios.
Regularly test your omnichannel campaigns and strategies.
As with anything, your omnichannel e-commerce strategy will improve over time as you collect and analyze more customer data. So, make sure to test your omnichannel campaigns and strategies regularly. The beauty of doing e-commerce is that much of your data can be tracked, allowing you to gain better, more useful insights.
The Bottom Line
With the rise of digital consumers, omnichannel e-commerce provides businesses with plenty of opportunities.
To prepare for an omnichannel e-commerce that will serve the rise of digital consumers, start by knowing your customers. Get to know who they are and what drives them to shop in-store and online by using tools that will help you measure offline and online purchases effectively across channels. Most important, provide your customers what they want – instant, relevant information no matter where they are or what device they are using. By focusing on your customer’s wants and needs, you can create a seamless shopping experience that’s more likely to drive sales across your company.