How you communicate with your customers if very important. The chances are you're using a variety of channels including email, social media, your website, online ads, and even the signage you display in store. omnichannel marketing is a way to coordinate all of those media, offer next-level customer service, and ultimately grow your business.
What does omnichannel marketing mean for retail?
In marketing, we talk a lot about the "buyer's journey": the path which your customers take from brand awareness, to interest in a specific product, to finally making a purchase. At the Wagner Agency, we also created The Wagner Conversion Matrix™ to further optimize the performance of the journey. But now that people have so many different ways to interact with your brand, the old model of a simple, one-directional buyer's journey just doesn't apply any more.
So what replaces it?
Wherever and whenever customers contact you, they should be able to pick up exactly where they left off. Instead of designing a single path for your customers, you should be ready to meet them wherever they are.
Let's take an example:
Mr Multi channel sees your store sign while walking through town. He visits your website, and signs up for an email newsletter. He decides to visit your store - but the staff haven't heard about the email promotion, and they're out of stock anyway. He orders an item online instead, missing out on the discount promised in the email. The delivery is slow to arrive. He can't find your Facebook page, so he messages you on Twitter, but no one answers. He leaves a negative review on Yelp.
Officer omnichannel gets the same email offer after seeing your store and visiting your website. She shows the coupon to store staff on her mobile. When it turns out her item is out of stock, she orders it immediately via mobile app, with the offer applied. She tracks the delivery online, and when it's delayed, she sends a quick Facebook message to your team. They check in with the supplier, update her, and add some extra credit to her store account. She shares a photo of her purchase on Instagram, and your social media manager reshares it on your business page.
How does omnichannel marketing help small retail businesses grow?
So that second example sounds like a pleasant experience for the customer. But what’s in it for your brand? How can omnichannel marketing help your small business grow?
You might have noticed something about those two examples above. They weren’t just related to marketing - but also sales and customer service. That’s because omnichannel marketing requires your whole team to be connected, across every communication channel that you use.
The result? A consistent brand image, superb customer service, and marketing campaigns which reach people through their preferred channels. And those effects will boost your sales figures in three main ways:
- Word of mouth marketing. When you create this kind of positive customer experience, you’ll get more referrals and word of mouth recommendations.
- New audiences online. Successful omnichannel marketing will reach out to prospects online, then guide them to your brick and mortar store.
- Repeat customers. As you know, retaining customers is far cheaper than recruiting new customers. Keep people on board with seamless communication and service.
How to implement omnichannel marketing at your small retail business
Make sure that you have a consistent brand voice and look across all channels. That includes everything from social media to email, in store, mobile apps, and even SMS marketing. Being consistent like this makes your brand more recognizable… and it makes shoppers trust you more.
Social media plays an especially important part in omnichannel marketing. That’s because most customers in 2019 use social media for product recommendations, offers, feedback and customer service. So start by finding out which networks your target market prefers - then build up a strong, active presence online.
As we’ve mentioned, you’ll also need to break down barriers within your business, so that customers can have a seamless buying experience. Here are some simple steps to take:
- Make sure store staff are up to date on the latest promotions and offers available
- Keep track of stock in store and online, so that you can always source the right product
- Use a CRM system to track the experience of individual shoppers and give them personalized service
Get started with omnichannel marketing
Creating a full scale, omnichannel experience might sound like a lot of work. If you’re not sure where to start, or how to implement these ideas, then consult with an agency that specializes in omnichannel marketing services.
The good news is once you implement omnichannel marketing, it will quickly become second nature for your team. And you’ll reap the benefits of growth, happy customers, and a more integrated team.