Making the most of your marketing channels

“Omnichannel” has been a buzzword in the retail world for a few years now, but what does it mean, how does it work in practise, and should you be incorporating it into your business? In thinking about the differences between Omnichannel and Multichannel marketing and ecommerce it’s often helpful to imagine what it’s like to be your own customer. That’s to say, how and where is your brand having conversations with them, and in what form?

In a multichannel scenario, customers have multiple separate conversations across each brand platform – be that on social media, a website or in-store. In an omnichannel model the customer has one continuous conversation at every touchpoint, and information is shared and updated every step of the way. Given that 73% of shoppers now say they move across channels when shopping, streamlining this experience is in your best interest as a business. Here are some starters to help you develop your omnichannel strategy.

Roadmap your user journey

Working from the top down is one of the best ways to begin to structure your omnichannel strategy. Starting with a social media interaction, think about how customers can click through from instagram directly to the product they are interested in, have that purchase sent to a local store or collection point, and then have that physical store remember their size and style preference at a future visit. Map out the different journeys your customers take from initial interest to purchase to repeat visit, and think about how each of these steps can be linked and integrated. 

Invest in change

To create a truly sustainable and effective omnichannel business you will need to be willing to invest in some real structural changes. You may have a longstanding and well-loved in-store point of sale system, but if that system isn’t advanced enough to be fed information from your other touchpoints, like digital sales or newsletter subscriptions, then it could be a big sticking point in your omnichannel strategy.

Likewise, if your stock control and allocation systems for your physical and digital storefronts aren’t synced then you won’t be able to offer the correct realtime information to your customers.

Be omnichannel internally too 

Making sure that all teams across the business are working in tandem should be a priority for any retailer, but in an omnichannel scenario this becomes even more vital.

Members of the team working in-store should not feel that targets or expectations placed on them will be jeopardized by an increase in online sales, and the digital team should remember the importance of customers having a personal interaction with the business in-store. Find ways to incentivize all arms of the business to work for each other’s success, and the flow between touchpoints will be more smoothly managed.

Customer data is gold-dust

The number one resource that fuels omnichannel ecommerce is customer data. Making sure you are collecting useful, accurate customer data at every possible stage will provide the sturdiest foundation for a seamless omnichannel experience.

Of course, hand in hand with the collection of data goes the protection of data. Sharing customer information across all of your channels increases the risks associated with holding that data – double and triple check you are GDPR compliant at every step, and invest in extra-strength cyber security.

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