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3 Ideas to Jumpstart Your Retail Omnichannel Strategy


Ben Goldstein


Customers desire personalization.

Last year, an annual survey by Magnetic revealed that 53% of consumers want to be recognized on a personal level across every channel they use. Yet, a Bloomreach study found that retailers place personalization last among their stated marketing priorities.

Customers want to do business where they are most valued and recognized, whether in-store, online, or on their mobile devices. But businesses are not meeting consumers’ expectations.

For competitive business owners, it’s not a matter of just increasing your online presence. The key is to provide superior customer service across all channels. And that means creating an omnichannel marketing strategy for your retail business.

What Is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is how businesses engage customers across multiple channels. It recognizes that some customers will walk into your store, while others will access your website or buy from your mobile app.

Customers expect the same service across all mediums. In essence, your business will treat every channel like your primary channel. So, if one channel is not offering the best service, it will reflect poorly on your entire brand.

In the past, businesses could get away with only specializing in one channel. But no longer: “From businesses to individual consumers, everyone is connected to everyone, everywhere, all the time,” says Jesper Termansen, CMO of Templafy.

Google researchers found that 98% of Americans with multiple devices (like a smartphone and computer) use multiple screens each day. And customers desire a seamless experience, no matter what device they use.

Moreover, an Aberdeen study found that retailers using omnichannel retained 89% of customers; without omnichannel, retailers retained just 33%.

In omnichannel marketing, the strategy is no longer looking at each channel as a discrete entity. It’s time to connect all your customer touchpoints.

So, how can your company implement one? Here are three ways to jumpstart your omnichannel marketing strategy:

1. Get All Stakeholders On Board

Omnichannel marketing involves several moving parts. If your stakeholders invest their time and energy in a cohesive initiative, it’s more likely to succeed.

Stakeholders include executives and your staff in the marketing, sales, customer service, and IT departments. It’s not possible for the CMO alone to devise the entire plan without insight from other members of the team. For a project of this scope, you’ll want feedback from employees who deal directly with the customers.

Consider the channels where your customers connect with your business. For example, consumers may learn about your company through social media. Therefore, your social media team will have a unique perspective on how to serve customers on that particular channel.

On the other hand, your in-store team may possess an entirely different view. Their knowledge stems from one-on-one time with the customer.

Create an omnichannel strategy that looks at every channel. Ask your team what’s working well and what needs improvement. Successful implementation depends on all your stakeholders.

2. Map Your Customer Touchpoints

How are your customers interacting with your brand? Omnichannel marketing isn’t effective if you don’t know how people connect with your company. So, map out all your customer touchpoints.

Touchpoints can range from in-store to emails to billboard advertising. Each of these avenues is an extension of your brand.

For instance, your mobile app is part of the customer experience. It’s designed to inform the buyer about products, entice them to purchase items, and facilitate the sale. It has the same purpose of your brick-and-mortar store; however, it’s customized for the mobile user.

“Every touchpoint plays a role in reinforcing the brand’s positioning and overall perception,” writes Forbes contributor Michelle Greenwald. “Important touchpoints that are majorly mishandled can send customers fleeing and result in damaging, unfavorable word of mouth.”

It’s also vital to examine conversions across your touchpoints. Use analytics to understand your consumer’s needs. Learn where customers leave the sales funnel. And find out which touchpoints persuade them to actually buy.

Knowing who your customers are and how they engage with your brand is critical. It will help your team offer more personalization to the consumer.

3. Create A Seamless Experience

Omnichannel marketing is an ongoing process. As you move forward, the goal is to create a seamless experience.

Work with your team to develop an overarching brand message. It’s not about creating one channel that offers some customers convenience. Instead, focus on providing a similar brand experience for everyone.

For example, Disney has an effective omnichannel strategy. Their mobile-responsive website lets customers purchase their trip packages online.

Once booked, the My Disney Experience tool can be used to plan everything from dining to securing a Fast Pass. Then, in the park, customers are able to use the mobile app to locate the attractions and view their estimated wait times.

Your branding should be uniform across every platform. Use your buyer personas to determine whether each channel is delivering a flawless experience.

Start Today

Omnichannel marketing isn’t an option. It’s necessary in today’s competitive retail environment.

Work with stakeholders to gain organizational support. Optimize each channel to connect with consumers. And create a consistent experience, because every interaction matters.


shayla price retail omnichannel strategyABOUT SHAYLA PRICE

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Shayla contributes to several publications, including Entrepreneur, HuffingtonPost, and Kissmetrics. She has been a featured speaker at WooConf and WordCamp Miami. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.