by Chris O’Connell
 

Omnichannel Marketing: the 2021 Trend to Watch

If every time you got a cheeseburger at a restaurant, you got a different meal, you would probably stop ordering from there. Maybe one time it was overcooked, another time they put blue cheese on it without telling you, or when you ordered to go it was stone cold by the time it got to you.

The same applies to brands in 2021: you need to provide a consistent experience to your customers. Not just in your products, either. Your products could be supremely crafted, competitively priced, and just plain beautiful to look at, but if you aren’t providing a consistent customer experience across all channels, they just won’t buy.

That’s the central thesis of omnichannel marketing-- consistency-- and it has become more important than ever. Consistency across every channel a customer could possibly engage with you is the key to building both new relationships and brand loyalty. Social media, desktop, mobile, apps, in-store, on the phone…

It sounds overwhelming in a list like that, so I’m going to break it down into three simple, but essential, steps: how you get a customer “through the doorway,” what you need to have “inside the store,” and what happens “at the exit.”

  1. The Doorway

    I’m going to rattle off another buzzword, but I promise it means something: optimization. I’ve written paragraphs upon paragraphs about this “zation,” but today I want to discuss it in terms of omnichannel marketing and how it can help bring customers in for the first time, and keep them coming back.

    When was the last time you made a big purchase? A TV or an oven or a huge birthday gift? Did you go into the store, look at a few, then point and say “that one?” You probably did research before and during, right? According to the eCommerce foundation, 88% of consumers research their purchases, in
    store or online.

    Is the person who checked your website at home going to get the same experience when they open your mobile site or app? Not just in design, but in ease-of-use: if someone finds something on your website but struggles to find it on mobile, they aren’t going to struggle for long before they give up.

    Here’s a different example: a customer makes a purchase in your brick-and-mortar store, then realizes there is an issue with the product. They log on to the website for quick customer support, but are met with an outdated site, clunky chat software, and an uninformed “support” person.

    It won’t matter how charming your in-store salesperson is, that customer gets a bad taste in their mouth when thinking of your brand.

    So what should you do?

  1. Inside the “Store”

    Your “store” might not be a store at all. Purely digital eCommerce brands can benefit from this advice as well.

    The way people shop has changed drastically in the last year, and recognizing these changing trends can help ensure a consistent, positive experience for your customers.

    Let’s start with apps: does your brand have one? If you do, great! If you don’t, you might want to consider developing one. Consumers like convenience, and mobile apps have made convenience more accessible than ever. Some stores offer “same day pickup” options for products: you can find a product in the app, buy it there, and pick it up in the store. In a society that has become incredibly conscious about our time spent in public, this is huge.

    Or, maybe you want to use your app to encourage (socially distanced) foot traffic. Let your users check if an item they are looking for is in stock at your store. They search a product on your app or website, decide to buy, and see it is available at your store. They’ll head right over to avoid losing the purchase. In 2021, someone can be “in your store” from home.

    Again, none of this will work without consistency. If someone sees an item in stock on your website, but find out that it has actually been sold out for a few days in the store, you just lost that customer. If you decide to go these routes to increase sales or in-store shoppers, make sure all of your channels are projecting the same information. Use integration or content management systems to consistently share data, so that your app, website, and store will all be on the same page.

  1. At the Exit

    So you took the time to ensure your site is optimized for mobile, that your customer service reps are in tip top shape, and are integrating all of your software so that your data is uniform. What does this
    get you?

    On top of immediate boosts to sales and traffic, there are long term effects that omnichannel marketing provides: brand loyalty and social sharing.

    Obviously, someone that had a positive experience with your brand and your products will think of you first next time. To restate my original analogy, this is why people have favorite restaurants: they know they will get good food and good service. Regulars work the same way in eCommerce.

    More than that, they’ll tell their friends. Almost no moment goes by without someone tweeting, posting, or Instagramming about it, so if someone is loving the new shirt or lamp or cookware they bought from you, they’ll most likely post about it.

    They might not shoutout your brand specifically, but they’ll no doubt have envious followers commenting and asking for a link to buy your product as well. When they click that link, they’ll receive a consistent experience all the way up through delivery, because you’ve mastered omnichannel marketing.

  1. Conclusion

    And that’s a very brief guide to the many benefits of omnichannel marketing. Of course not all of the benefits and methods are listed here, that would take a book. But this is a great way to get started: bringing everything in line. That way, no matter how a customer finds you, they’ll be thankful they did.

    If this was good food for thought, but not enough, Dotlogics can build you a marketing roadmap to help you achieve more. Speak to our marketing gurus today.

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