In order to stay ahead of the curve, you have to keep pushing the boundaries of what can be done with marketing and technology. While omnichannel marketing has been around for a while as a concept, the majority of eCommerce businesses are not taking advantage of it.

In this article we’re going to discuss exactly what omnichannel ecommerce marketing is and how you can implement it into your online business.

What is Omnichannel eCommerce?

Omnichannel marketing is the art of providing a seamless user experience across all your marketing channels. This includes offline and online channels including brick and mortar stores and offline advertising. Being able to provide a seamless experience between online and offline strategies will help create a unique and personalised shopping experience.

What’s the difference between omnichannel and multichannel marketing?

While on the surface multichannel and omnichannel marketing sound very similar, there are some distinctive difference. In multi-channel marketing you create several channels in order to reach different audiences with different channel strategies. In omni-channel marketing you create a seamless experience for your customer across all channels. This allows your customers to interact with your brand on their desired channel.
Here’s a useful diagram to explain the difference between single channel, multi-channel and omni-channel.

Difference Between multi-channel and omni-channel marketing

Benefits of an omnichannel experience

With an omni-channel marketing strategy, your user journey stretches across mobile, to desktop, to physical stores and more. This can be invaluable to form long lasting customer relationships. As we’ve discussed in the state of mobile eCommerce article, there is a large number of mobile discoveries that finalised a sale on desktop. An omnichannel digital marketing campaign will massively help close the conversion gap that inevitably happens when a customer changes channels.

Utilising other digital channels into your strategy means that the customer is seeing the same branding, the same messaging, the same personalised products and services across, mobile apps, social media channels, targeted advertising, email marketing, SMS messaging.

When you introduce a brick and mortar store into an omnichannel retail strategy you can offer seamless personalised experiences offline. As with any marketing or advertising strategy, consistency is key to being memorable. This consistency can stretch beyond just purchasing, it can affect the customer services, delivery and collection offering and even the feedback/review system. When implemented correctly, this kind of omnichannel strategy can keep you in constant contact with your customers, well after their initial purchase.

Implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy

Planning is key to the success of any marketing campaign, especially if you’re creating a complex omnichannel one. A well thought-out omnichannel campaign will allow you to add more channels in the future with relative ease. However, if you jump in without planning 3rd party integrations, you will quickly end up with a mess of out-dated software. Planning ahead allows you to create a smooth, future-proofed system of strategies.

Research your customers channels and needs

Research helps you understand your customers; what they want and where they want it. This can be extremely helpful to find out which marketing channels you should investigate first. Start by filtering out your Google Analytics to find out where your users are coming from. Head over to acquisition to find out which channels and social platforms your users are coming to your site from.

Studying the demographics section of GA will give you some insights into age and gender of your audience. You can use this insight and other demographic insights from GA to do some market research into online and offline channels.

Understanding your audience demographics will give you an overview who they are. But understanding what they want will help you shape your strategies. Studying which content types perform well on social, email marketing and even on your blogs. All of these platform should have in-depth reporting allowing you to see what makes your customers tick.

Create profiles and segmentations

Once you’ve researched the different types of audiences that you have, you’ll want to create buyer personas and profiles. Initially, you should start small and then look to expand these as your strategy evolves. Use your research to find out the best way to effectively communicate to the different profiles; look into their behaviours, preferences and preferred channels.

Then optimise every step of the buying process and channel strategies for those personas. Use segmentation to make sure you’re serving the right content to the right customers. There’s no quicker way lose a customer than to send them irrelevant content.

Personalise Content

Using integrations such as Nosto will help you use AI to automatically personalise content. This cuts down on irrelevant content delivery and will take a lot of the work out of manual segmentation. Use these personalised content and product blocks to serve better content across mobile apps, email marketing, and dynamically change the websites content.

Communications and Branding

Branding is used to quickly and effectively communicate to your customers who you are, what you do and what you stand for. Branding is also used to create repetition, which will make you more memorable. It’s more than just a colour palette and a logo, it’s the language and personality that gets injected into a brand successful.

It’s this personality that needs to be consistent across all the channels. Creating a brand guideline with tone of voice documents will help you streamline the omnichannel consistency.

Loyalty & Reviews Across Channels

Loyalty points are becoming ever more popular with merchants and their customers. It allows merchants to reward their best customers and the customer sees value on being committed to a brand. It’s a win, win. If you’ve got more than one place to purchase your items, you need to make sure that Loyalty can be passed over.

Loyalty Lion integrates with Shopify, Shopify Plus and Shopify POS. This allows customers to purchase online, gain points and then spend them in the brick and mortar store.

Omnichannel Customer Service

As a brand grows, customer service becomes more and more important. A bad customer service will lead to customers ditching a brand. You need to be able to offer premium customer service, where the customer expects it. On WhatsApp, in store, Facebook Messenger, email, etc.

The customer journey doesn’t stop after the customer has purchased. You should be able to offer different return policies, such as returning an online order back to the physical store. The goal is to make customer services as easy¬† and as helpful as possible in order to retain customers.

Bricks and Mortar Omnichannel Implementation

If you have a bricks and mortar store, you’ll want to encourage as much omnichannel marketing as possible. This means integrating all the software you use on the website into your store. Offering a click and collect option lets your customers get the product they want, when they want it.

Using Shopify POS to integrate directly with your store will let you bring up customer accounts, previous orders and other integrations. Using recommendation apps, allows your shop staff to be able make in-person product recommendations, tailored to the customer.

Use tablet stands in the shop to let the customer see previous orders, recommendations, check loyalty points and more. This experience can be very powerful when integrated correctly.

Omnichannel Marketing with ELS

Get in touch to see how we can help you with integrations, Shopify app development and general omnichannel marketing help. Our talented team of developers and marketeers are on hand to offer unique omnichannel solutions.

AUTHOR

Will Lynch

Will is Head of Marketing at ELS Media. He can be found fixing Google penalties, optimising eCommerce sites and creating automated email marketing strategies.