3 Omnichannel Marketing Tips for Retailers
By Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID
Omnichannel marketing strategies are powerful and effective, because they allow retailers and brands to connect with consumers across multiple touch points in a variety of different ways. Traditional marketing rules dictate that it takes a minimum of seven “touches” to convert a customer. In today’s modern marketplace, marketing is not just a numbers game; the quality and delivery of a brand’s marketing messages are more important than the sheer quantity. It is more important than ever to meet consumers where and when they are making purchasing decisions with relevant, personalized offers.
Here are three tips for retailers who are looking to improve their omnichannel retail marketing strategies:
1. Embrace mobile technology.
It’s time to do more than merely optimize your e-commerce site for mobile viewing. While that is an important first step, it is critical to expand beyond a mobile version of your website and think about ways to support mobile transactions as well as mobile functionality in stores, whether that means providing self-service options, creating a downloadable app, or arming staff with tablets in stores. Research conducted by Google in May 2013 determined that 84 percent of consumers are using smartphones to help make purchases while they are in a store. Use mobile technology to help shoppers find products, access mobile coupons and discounts, qualify for gated offers, and order out-of-stock items online or for pick up at another store.
2. Recognize customers across all channels.
Whether retailers implement a loyalty program that is accessible at any touch point or decide to employ a multi-channel marketing platform like Experian, it is important to be able to recognize individual customers regardless of where they choose to interact with the brand. New technology like shopBeacon, ShopKick’s newest mobile technology development, detects an app on a shopper’s smartphone, whether the app is open or not, and pushes marketing messages to the customer, enabling retailers like American Eagle and Macy’s to incorporate a mobile experience into the brick-and-mortar space. The key to success with these kinds of marketing campaigns is allowing customers to manage the relationship and choose what information and attributes they are willing to exchange for dialed-in recommendations and exclusive offers. Consumers are growing more open to providing personal information in order to receive more value from retailers, as evidenced by the IBM Institute’s Business Value Global Consumer Study, which revealed that nearly twice as many customers are willing to share their current GPS location as those surveyed the previous year.
3. Meet or exceed customer expectations.
Customers now expect a fully integrated multi-channel experience when they shop. According to an Accenture survey conducted in November 2013, 69 percent of consumers expect pricing in-stores and online to match. Because price comparisons are only a click away, price discrepancies are more obvious than ever. Seventy-five percent of shoppers between the ages of 18 and 34 will compare prices using their mobile devices in-store, so make sure prices are consistent and offer a better value than the competition. Similarly, 57 percent expect promotions and special offers to be consistent across channels. Everyday deals and discounts need to be available across all channels, including small business, nonprofit, military, teacher and student discounts. Verification eligibility platforms can help retailers manage their coupon codes and special offers across channels while also protecting profit by preventing fraud.
Offering consistent pricing and promotions will meet customers’ expectations, but thinking outside of the box is how you really wow them. For example, Walmart is testing a new grocery shopping pilot program that enables shoppers to place grocery orders online and pick up their groceries in-store. Walmart is also one of the retailers competing with Amazon by introducing same-day delivery in select cities, along with Google, eBay, Nordstrom, and Barnes and Noble. Always an innovator, Amazon is pushing to make instant gratification through online shopping a reality. The top internet retailer recently patented a system of “anticipatory package shipping”, which would allow Amazon to predict consumer’s purchasing behavior using customer data and ship products to nearby fulfillment centers in anticipation of the purchase or directly ship items as gifts to highly valued customers.
By following these tips and taking advantage of advances in technology like verification software, more sophisticated loyalty apps, Bluetooth transmitters, wireless networking, and more, retailers can target their offers and interact with consumers at strategic points throughout today’s purchasing process.
Jake Weatherly is a co-founder and CEO of SheerID, an online shopping cart platform that provides group verification.