The holiday shopping system is approaching faster than ever before, thanks to the global computer chip shortage and supply chain issues. But that is not the only change to the online retail landscape, as more people now prefer to shop online than in-person. In addition, up to 93% of these shoppers are researching products online before they purchase them.
According to Facebook Business, customers are looking for a well-integrated online shopping experience that lets them view a store’s inventory and easily research those products, with 55% of buyers saying they would rather conduct their shopping on a mobile device. This means that businesses need to deliver a seamless shopping experience that meets those needs and keeps buyers returning to their website regardless of where they access it from. Buyers need to have easy access to an online store’s inventory wherever they are on the business’ website, be able to read reviews and view recommendations of related products and be able to search for those products again with ease.
That’s where a robust omnichannel marketing program comes in.
DIGITAL MARKETING 101: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MULTICHANNEL AND OMNICHANNEL MARKETING?
Multichannel and omnichannel marketing are branches of digital marketing, which is the practice of advertising on digital channels such as social media, mobile apps, search engines and other online mediums. More channels are ideal for exposing more people to a brand and reaching their target audiences; the more cohesively those channels can work together, the better.
Aberdeen Strategy & Research defines multichannel marketing as using at least two different online channels to advertise to and communicate with customers. Multichannel marketing is a solid base for brands that are just getting started, but a deeper marketing strategy is needed to really engage with customers.
Omnichannel marketing has the same philosophy as multichannel marketing, except that omnichannel is consistent and coherent across channels. In particular, omnichannel marketing uses channels that may have less direct conversion to support and drive customers to their primary channels with much better conversion rates.
For instance, an aftermarket exhaust company may create an advertising campaign on their YouTube channel to drive people to their website because consumers in the market for an exhaust system will research those products by searching for YouTube videos of the exhaust they want before they purchase it. While their searches on Google and Facebook may result in higher conversion, that YouTube advertisement they watched played a significant role in their purchase decision.
This strategy also entails that the company provides a seamless customer experience that allows consumers to interact with the brand easily regardless of what channel they come from.
WHY OMNICHANNEL MARKETING IS NECESSARY RIGHT NOW
In general, an omnichannel marketing campaign yields noticeable results for businesses over campaigns that involve just one or two channels. According to a 2019 study by Omnisend, companies that used an omnichannel strategy (three or more channels) saw as much as 90% better customer retention and a 250% better engagement rate.
Companies, regardless of size, nationality and commerce type (B2B and B2C), have adopted the omnichannel approach as standard practice for their marketing strategies. According to McKinsey & Company, 83% of B2B companies surveyed believe omnichannel marketing will help them prosper in the future.
Developing a solid omnichannel strategy is especially critical this season. The supply chain issues mentioned earlier are causing significant shipping delays and dwindling surpluses of products, so consumers are scrambling to get their holiday shopping done even sooner. They will be looking for a comprehensive experience where they can easily search for the products from any channel they discover a brand from, quickly read reviews and tips about those products and then view recommendations for similar products for other gift ideas, all from any of their devices.
HOW TO ADOPT OMNICHANNEL MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
- Identify your primary channels, which drive the most conversions, and your supporting channels, which direct users to your primary platforms.
- Learn your customers’ needs and behaviors. You can do this by using Google Analytics and other data analysis tools, as well as with online surveys that ask your customers what their preferences are. Surveys also help develop relationships with your customers, and show that you care about them and their needs.
- Create advertisements with your audiences’ characteristics and preferences in mind. Consumers dislike ads that are irrelevant to them, and will be less inclined to interact with businesses that do not market to them the way they want. Customers want a personalized experience where they feel catered to.
- Make sure your advertising message and voice are consistent across all of your platforms before you publish them. This is what separates omnichannel marketing from a simple multichannel approach, and keeps your target audience engaged.
HOW A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY CAN HELP YOU ADOPT OMNICHANNEL MARKETING
Pivoting to an omnichannel marketing strategy may seem daunting, but digital marketing agencies are here to help. We look at site statistics to see what channels are driving conversion rates as well as what other platforms can support those channels and then help your company craft and distribute compelling marketing campaigns on each channel based on their respective strengths.