Retail, in particular, has faced drastic changes in consumer habits and dropping attention spans.
With the option to buy in-store and online, along with the rise of social media channels, automated tools, and review sites, omnichannel marketing quickly became the norm to deliver a more compelling brand message.
In this post, we will cover all that you need to know to create a truly omnichannel marketing campaign with the right creatives, including highlights from leading brands in retail.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is a consumer-centric approach to marketing strategy that ensures the seamless integration of branding, messaging, and online and offline consumer touchpoints. Omnichannel marketing involves all the channels, devices, and platforms possible to reach target audiences with cohesive messaging and consistent visuals.
Omnichannel vs multichannel marketing
The idea of reaching customers through as many channels as possible is nothing new. Multichannel marketing is the approach that refers to this attitude. The purpose of both omnichannel and multichannel marketing are to entice a customer or potential client to perform a desired action, like purchasing a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading a piece of gated content. The main difference between the two strategies is in the journey you offer.
One of the most notable differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing is that multichannel focuses on being present on all channels, whereas omnichannel focuses on improving the life of the customer and accounts for connecting all available channels.
The goal of omnichannel marketing is to provide a consistent customer experience for those who are already aware of and engaged with a company. While multichannel marketing casts the net as wide as possible to make as many people aware of a brand as possible, omnichannel thrives for omnipresent engagement.
To put it differently, while multichannel marketing focuses on covering all possible touchpoints of the journey with channel-centric solutions and siloed teams, omnichannel marketing is a human-centered approach to achieve the best customer experience possible with integrated systems and collaboration.
Key benefits of omnichannel marketing
The main reasons businesses are adopting an omnichannel strategy are to boost sales, provide services for personalization, and make the shopping experience more convenient and frictionless for customers.
Omnichannel marketing connects all of your sales channels and data streams, allowing you to easily gain a strategic view of your marketing efforts, adopt a more holistic approach to marketing, and build a collaborative culture in your organization. Omnichannel marketing also allows you to watch customer activity more precisely and observe which channels shoppers interact with before making a purchase, allowing you to better spend your marketing budget.
Customer self-service is an important component of an omnichannel experience; in fact, 67 percent of shoppers prefer self-service solutions to interacting with a company. A digital assistant or chat enables for continuous engagement with the consumer and allows for input on the client's experience.
Well-rounded customer insights
A truly omnichannel approach does not only affect your customer’s experience with your brand but also expands on your data collection methods and resources. By tracking engagements across channels, you can have a better understanding of the customer journey. You can learn when and on what channels consumers prefer to engage with your brand and see which of your campaigns have provided the most value. All of this information can be fed back into your strategy to help you create better-targeted campaigns and leverage your budget.
Examples of omnichannel marketing campaigns
Before we dive into the actual steps you should consider for a winning strategy, let's take a look at three retail brands that have nailed their omnichannel experience.
The ASOS digital experience
The British fashion and cosmetics mammoth ASOS is well aware that their target group is obsessed with social media. They continuously communicate with their audience across several social channels, each with unique creatives but with the same consistent messaging. They are aware that their clients are switching between platforms, and their goal is to keep them engaged regardless of the platform they are on. The easy transition between their website, mobile app and social channels across all devices today offers their consumers to pick up where they left off, with their basket kept up-to-date across all platforms. In addition, they provide several delivery alternatives for shoppers and, in spite of being an online-only company, they also provide delivery options for customers who prefer to pick up in-store.
Nike’s House of Innovation
Nike unveiled the House of Innovation flagship shop in New York City in 2018. It includes digital components such as the ability for clients to order customized shoes online and pick them up in-store. Customers would then discover a locker labeled with their name, which could be accessed using a smartphone app. Mobile check-out is also accessible in case the shoes fit well and they are ready to bring them home.
Starbucks Rewards Card
Starbucks does not merely have an omnichannel strategy, but it also established an omnichannel funnel that both attracts new customers and increases loyalty over time. First, a customer is likely to walk into their store to buy a coffee because they heard about it from a colleague, saw an ad about a new flavor, passed by a store and got tempted by the smell of fresh ground coffee, or, much more likely, all of the above. Then once the customer enters the store and purchases a drink, they are offered a signup for the brand’s newsletter for coupons and seasonal deals. After using one or two of these, they’ll be prompted to get a Starbucks Rewards Card, which offers even more discounts and makes Starbucks checkouts even easier. In this aspect, there is nothing particularly unusual about this strategy, but it is one of the American franchise's cornerstones. The card's real benefit is that it can be used as a wallet. Customers can use it to pay for any transaction made at Starbucks, whether it is purchasing coffee or accessories, an order at a coffee shop or a purchase made online. The card can also be charged on the web, via the customer care line, or in-store.
How to better connect an omnichannel marketing campaign
An effective omnichannel marketing campaign makes a product or service available on the channels that customers prefer in a certain place, in a specific context and moment in time. You can offer your audience more intuitive ways of engaging with your brand by considering the next steps before launching your next marketing campaign.
1. Create an omnichannel customer journey
First of all, for a successful campaign, you want to know how people connect with your brand. How do they find inspiration? Where do they look for products? Do they make purchases online or prefer stepping into a physical store? When creating an omnichannel strategy, make sure to put yourself in your customer's shoes as they navigate through different touchpoints, so you get an overview of the communication channels you should build visuals and content for. Use product and service design frameworks such as customer journey mapping to empathize with your audience and collect data on their behavior and challenges.
2. Guide messaging with clear brand guidelines
To make it easier for people to recognize your brand and even convert more often:
- Build a message that resonates with your ideal customer or buyer persona.
- Tackle the challenges or satisfy the need and desires of your target audience
- Tell your story consistently in every piece of content you create, across all touchpoints that your omnichannel customer journey revealed.
- Make sure everyone in your team is on the same page with messaging.
- Introduce clear brand guidelines that help you deliver a cohesive brand experience and ensure your content is consistent.
3. Start with your website and social media content
Creating an omnichannel campaign is a time-consuming task. You don't have to be present on every channel all at once; you'll get there in due time. Begin with your website and social media channels and master them before expanding to additional platforms. Make sure you're posting regularly and interacting with customers who prefer to engage with your brand on those channels.
4. Repurpose your content
With the exponential growth of communication platforms, retail marketers must leverage several channels at once while producing unified and relevant content in order to achieve positive outcomes. The biggest advantage of repurposing your content is that it makes it way easier to scale. In other words, you don't have to start creating every blog post, video, or infographic by staring at a blank page. Instead, you may adopt your existing content in innovative ways and "recycle" them to create new posts, webinars, checklists, and so on. Introduce a new angle, but consider how your audience might change by the shift in platforms and perspectives.
5. Make testing a habit
Once you have a bunch of content and visuals to launch, the next and at the same time the most important steps in omnichannel marketing is to test the effectiveness of your assets, and to do it on a regular basis. This allows your team to optimize campaign cost, messaging, creativity, and other areas.
When it comes to drawing attention using visual cues, like banners, in-store signage, booklets, or digital ad designs, you only have less than a second to make a lasting impression in your audiece’s minds. Your creatives must be attuned to the constantly dropping attention spans. There are customer prediction tools out there, such as Predict, that can help you testing and therefore building creatives without wasted spend. Whether it is a video ad or even an entire ecommerce website, you can test them for attention and cognition before you launch them live. Have a few versions ready, test and compare their performance, so you can release a campaign that is spot on and draw attention to your brand from the start.
6. Invest in your marketing stack
For a successful omnichannel marketing campaign, you'll need a smart marketing stack to help you manage your campaign goals, assess your current and prior campaign performance, and manage multiple communication channels with ease.
You'll need a combination of online and offline tools and platforms to build a well-rounded campaign, so we collected a few things you might want to consider investing in:
- You’ll most definitely need a powerful website builder along with highly-customizable landing page and ecommerce store builders that let you create original components easily while integrating with other popular tools such as personalized chatbots.
- Invest in automated testing tools to optimize your design iterations. With tools like Predict, you can evaluate your creatives, and see what elements of your creative grabs attention and find out what parts fall through the cracks.
- Simple marketing automation like CRM systems just free up your time so you can focus on tasks that only you can accomplish, like design and content creation.
- Use scheduling tools to make it easy to handle your brand’s presence on multiple social networks. Such services can also help you in tracking and analytics.
7. Connect in-store and digital experience
In-store experiences are already being reimagined, and this trend is accelerating even more. The future of retail is in providing in-person experiences that engage customers while helping build brands. Consider your brand's image and messaging and the kinds of experiences that could reinforce that message in meaningful, unique ways.
Here you have it! Your winner omnichannel strategy. Here is what you need to do from now on, in short:
- Integrate how you do research and messaging
- Empathize with your customer and know their habits
- Personalize experiences
- Test and optimize creatives frequently for all arenas
You can start taking these hands-on strategic steps even today. Get your team on the same page and communicate with your audience effectively, on the platforms they use and in the way that builds trust. Start by integrating how you do analysis and execution, then get to know who you are crafting your text and creatives for. Personalize the message as much as possible on different platforms. Keep testing your assets before you launch, and iterate your design until you find the best performing creative. Optimize creatives over time, make it a habit, because just like your design process, your audience’s taste and focus is also in a constant flux.