When you’re thinking of purchasing a product or hiring a business to perform a service, what is your first course of action? Perhaps you’ll ask friends for recommendations or look online to read reviews. Maybe you’ll check out the company’s website or social media platforms to get a better idea of their overall mission. Whatever it is you decide to do, chances are high that the consumer journey you embark on today looks far different than it would have 50, 20 or even 10 years ago.
Throughout the years, your business may have encountered buzzwords such as “multichannel marketing” or “omnichannel marketing.” While on the surface it may seem that they are very similar because they both involve marketing across multiple channels, they are actually very different and require different strategy. The main difference? The integration of the customer journey.
In order to better understand these concepts, let’s define multichannel and omnichannel marketing.
What are multichannel and omnichannel marketing?
Multichannel marketing- Multichannel marketing spans several different outlets, such as social, mobile, direct mail and a physical location. From a marketing perspective, multichannel marketing treats each channel separately, and each channel has a different set of strategies. The messaging across each channel, however, remains the same.
Omnichannel marketing- Omnichannel marketing focuses on creating a consistent, personalized experience for shoppers across all channels. The consumer is the main focus, and making their shopping experience easy, engaging and integrated across all platforms (with consistent messaging) is the company’s main goal.
The integration of channels throughout the customer journey is the key difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing. It makes the overall experience much more personal and seamless. This results in less frustration for the customer, and a higher chance of returning to your brand when deciding to choose your services or make a repeat purchase in the future. Let’s take a look at how effective omnichannel marketing could hypothetically influence a consumer to choose one company over another with real life examples from some of the top corporations in the world.
Omnichannel marketing in action
Ahh, Disney, the happiest place on Earth! At least according to the brilliant marketing geniuses that have helped make them one of the most successful corporations on the planet. Since being founded in 1923, Disney has done an exceptional job of creating a sense of community with the Disney theme parks, and of course, content, with their variety of movies and animated productions. Now, Disney continues to engage their hardcore fans and strong community base through their website, social media platforms, branded theme parks and even their own streaming platform, Disney+. It doesn’t come more full circle than that!
Starbucks has very successful omnichannel marketing strategy geared toward customer loyalty. In addition to integrated website and social media channels, after making an in-store purchase, employees at the caffeine giant will urge customers to sign up for their rewards program. The rewards program is full of perks, including a variety of discounts, in-app ordering for faster checkout and the ability to check and reload a rewards card via phone, website, in-store or on the app.
The beauty retailer has created an online shopping experience that makes their in-store shopping journey easier. The store provides tablets where shoppers can access their “Beauty Bag”, which tracks their online purchases. Shoppers can then look up item details and virtually try on products using this digital software. If they like a product, they can add it to a wish list and purchase the entire list using the app. Sephora understands that there is a tremendous amount of beauty products in their brick-and-mortar stores and available on the market as well. This level of omnichannel marketing allows consumers to not only streamline their purchasing journey in the moment, but also remember what products they would like to buy from Sephora in the future.
Why is omnichannel marketing more popular now than ever before?
Don’t let the examples above make you believe that omnichannel marketing only works for huge corporations that have an unlimited budget. Omnichannel marketing works for a variety of businesses of all sizes in all industries because of the way the customer journey and technology have transformed throughout the years. The following statistics demonstrate this transformation:
- 31% of online purchases span multiple devices- According to Criteo, over a third of purchases start on one device and end in another. This means that business owners should make sure that their website and other online platforms are properly optimized for all devices, and keep each device updated with products and services so that every marketing channel is consistent.
- The majority of in-store sales begin with a digital device- The Deloitte’s Digital Influence Study revealed that 56% of all brick-and-mortar transactions are preceded by a digital engagement. In fact, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, more than 50% of shoppers plan to use BOPUS (buy online, pickup in store) option. Because of the new trends created by COVID, don’t expect to see this trend ending any time soon.
- Consumers that shop on multiple channels are more likely to stay loyal to brands- According to the Harvard Business Review, omnichannel customers spend an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. Additionally, they found that these customers are more likely to make repeat shopping trips to a retailer’s stores and more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.
How to implement omnichannel marketing at your company
If you are not utilizing omnichannel marketing at your place, it’s time to start researching the best strategy to get started. First, analyze the channels currently being used by your business to discover which receive the highest engagement from consumers. Once you have figured this out, make sure that your team is updated on all current marketing promotions and is active on these channels. Keep in mind that to seamlessly integrate all channels, you may have to invest in upgraded technology, such as a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platform that instantly updates all data. Once you have begun your omnichannel marketing strategy, it’s crucial to consistently check metrics to see how each channel is performing, and check for feedback from customers that could help your campaign in the future. Before you know it, your target audience will look at your business as the “go to” place for a particular product or service!