“Omnichannel” has created a revolution in online retail. For those who don’t know, omnichannel is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick and mortar store. And omnichannel consumers are very demanding — driving retailers, brands and solution providers toward a richer, more interactive and overall better user experience.
Gaining control over this incredibly complex and dynamic phenomenon is not easy. Retailers are no longer an easily defined destination in a linear customer journey, but just one stop in a complex network of very unpredictable actions. Consumers travel nimbly and quickly through this omnichannel environment, seeking information, great deals, and personalized experiences.
According to Zendesk, 67% of online shoppers have made purchases in the past six months that have involved multiple channels. 87% think brands need to work harder to create a seamless experience for customers.
For a brand, your identity is less under your control than ever before – social networks, product reviews, blogs and other user- generated content all contribute to your brand image, outside your supervision.
Traditional loyalty to a brand or store is ultimately undermined by a multiplication of consumer options. Your competitor is but a button click or a Google search away.
Consequently, the consumer has much more power in the omnichannel environment, having the tools to resist banal or empty offers; static or boilerplate information, or self-serving product pitches.
Ultimately, omnichannel – like any successful marketing strategy – is about a strong relationship between customer and company. Since all good marketers know that companies respond to consumers’ needs, the real kernel of this revolution is the facilitation of honest two-way communication between businesses and consumers enabled via digital technologies.
To do this your content needs to be:
…a dialog which is useful, and authentic.
John Hall, writing in Forbes, says in this environment authenticity is paramount to a brand’s marketing success.
“When companies prioritize promotional plugs over valuable content, nobody wins — but content creators continue to put their own needs first. Companies need to invest in marketing vehicles that allow them to establish a level of authenticity with their audience. Understand what’s valuable to your audience. Couple that with magnetic brand messaging, and everyone can get something out of the relationship. Make sure to stay true to your brand image throughout your messaging, or consumers will spot the disconnect.”
If a customer has previously engaged with you or purchased your product, you probably want to consider that in your marketing. If a customer has put something into a cart, but hasn’t yet purchased, use your content to reference that action.
It’s a common remarketing practice to reference previous purchases, and recommend complementary products. This type of content and messaging makes consumers feel personally spoken to, and helps drive much higher engagement and loyalty.
Consider this email from Coffeeforless.com, where I purchased some Kona coffee back in the summer.
There’s an emotional appeal ( may or may not be perceived as authentic) but they do include a discount and a solicitation to write a review, “ tell us what you like, what you love and what we could do to make coffee for less better” which helps me feel connected to them through their interest in my opinions.
Simple yet effective.
In summary, omnichannel is happening because consumers are changing. The technology they use, the attitudes they hold, and the expectations they bring in a store or online are in a state of revolution.
You can stay with them by keeping it real and making it relevant.