What Is Omnichannel Marketing? Examples and Tips.
Advances in technology have given consumers more options than ever before for interacting with businesses. And whether engaging online or in-store, customers expect a consistent personalized, experience no matter which channels they use.
An omnichannel marketing strategy allows marketers to create a holistic engagement approach across all channels that leads to more personalized customer experiences and consistent brand interaction.
We’ll look at what omnichannel marketing is, examples of brands with exceptional omnichannel marketing strategies, and some tips for implementing your own omnichannel marketing approach.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is the seamless integration of branding and messaging across the various online and offline channels an organization uses to interact with its target audience.
This cross-channel strategy aims to create a consistent, personalized experience as customers access the company’s products, offerings, and customer support services across both traditional and digital channels. These channels can include brick-and-mortar stores, ecommerce sites, mobile devices and apps, social media, and point of sale.
An omnichannel approach improves the customer experience as they move down the sales funnel through their preferred channels, ensuring that the experience remains the same regardless of which channel, platform, or device they are using.
The difference between multichannel and omnichannel
Both multichannel and omnichannel marketing use more than one channel to engage customers, but not with the same level of integration. Let’s look at the differences between the two:
The aim of multichannel marketing is to give customers as many options as possible to interact with your brand. But these channels don’t necessarily work together.
Multichannel marketing focuses on each channel individually, without deliberate integration, personalization, or synchronization of content or messaging between channels. Customers may encounter different brand messaging on one channel than they would on another.
An omnichannel marketing strategy accounts for each channel, platform, and device that a customer will use to interact with your company and seeks to create a seamless experience as the customer moves between them. Channels are integrated with each other to give customers a consistent experience, whether online or offline and regardless of the device or setting.
Benefits of an omnichannel approach
The seamless integration and unification of a successful omnichannel campaign offer several benefits to an organization:
- Improved brand visibility and recall: Omnichannel marketing not only allows you to present a consistent message to your customer every time they engage with your brand, but it also allows the customer to see your brand in the same way across all channels. This consistency increases familiarity, creating a stronger, more memorable experience.
- Enhanced customer experience and increased loyalty: Omnichannel marketing allows you to customize messaging for specific segments of your target audience based on demographics or behaviors. This higher level of personalization leads to increased customer loyalty and higher conversions.
- Increased revenue: Customers who engage with multiple touchpoints have a higher lifetime value. While repeat customers are often a smaller portion of your consumer base, loyal customers bring great value to a business. An omnichannel approach makes it easier for customers to purchase from you again and again, leading to recurring revenue.
4 Brands with exceptional omnichannel experiences
Sephora, a multinational mega-shop for personal care and beauty products, features nearly 340 brands.
The company connects its customers’ online and in-store experiences by providing tablets for customers to use while shopping in the physical store. Using these tablets and Sephora’s highly rated app, customers can connect to their online “My Beauty Bag” accounts, look up product info, try products virtually, purchase them, or add them to their wish lists to purchase at a later date.
The online app further personalizes the experience with a live chat feature called “Live Beauty Help,” which offers expert product advice, recommendations based on in-store and online interactions, application tutorials, and the ability to book in-store appointments.
Timberland, a maker of authentic boots, shoes, apparel, and accessories since 1973, uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to combine online and in-person customer experiences.
When a customer enters a store, they receive a tablet that they can use to interact with NFC-enabled products. By touching the tablet to the product, they can receive information about that product along with discounts, deals, and related product recommendations.
Customers can also browse products physically, create wish lists using the app, and then order online at their own convenience. Allowing customers to build a shopping list in-store increases the chance that they will complete their purchase down the road.
Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, offers a top-tier omnichannel experience that allows customers to interact with the brand from wherever they are in the world.
Its mobile rewards app, Starbucks Rewards, integrates mobile and in-store activities for greater customer convenience. Customers can order online for in-store pickup and earn rewards on purchases that can be applied to free coffee, merchandise, or gift cards. Users can also check their profiles and reload their loyalty cards via the app, phone, website, or in-store, and updates are reflected across all the various channels in real time.
Disney, one of the largest entertainment and media companies in the world, can be considered the gold standard for omnichannel experiences.
Take planning a visit to Disney World, for example. The customer journey begins on their mobile-responsive website, where a visitor can book their Walt Disney World Resort visit. Once booked, the customer moves to the My Disney Experience tool, where they can plan every minute of their trip. Once in the park, visitors can use the app to locate attractions and see estimated wait times.
Disney’s MagicBand program also integrates with the customer’s My Disney Experience account to allow visitors to unlock hotel rooms, enter parks, check in with the Disney Genie service (the post-pandemic FastPass and MaxPass replacement), save photos to their Disney PhotoPass account, and charge purchases to their hotel room.
5 Steps for creating a successful omnichannel marketing campaign
An omnichannel approach considers how a customer experiences your brand as a whole. Here are a few things to consider when creating a successful omnichannel marketing campaign:
1. Choose a few channels to start
Determine which channels to focus on first by finding out where your customers like to engage most. Where do they search online for products? Where do they go most often for information? Consider online channels, like social media and email marketing, as well as offline channels, such as television or print ads.
Most companies have a website and are present on at least one or two social media channels. Focus on engaging consistently on these channels before moving to other platforms. Starting small will help you keep your marketing efforts consistent across each channel as you increase the number of channels you’re targeting.
2. Segment your users and personalize your messaging
Once you understand your customer engagement, you can create customer segments that help you tailor your message to a variety of audiences.
Customer segmentation allows you to organize your customers based on various metrics such as age, income, or geographic location. Then you can target each group with personalized experiences and content based on their segments.
Personalized messages make customers feel known and appreciated, leading to greater customer engagement and increased loyalty.
3. Create a customer journey map
A customer journey map evaluates the various touchpoints at which a customer engages, from discovering the brand to making an offline or online purchase. It allows you to create marketing campaigns around individual interests and user experiences.
If you know how and where your customers are engaging with your brand most, you can tailor your marketing campaigns to the specific ways they interact and the best channels to reach them.
4. Establish clear brand guidelines and consistent messaging
Develop a brand identity using clear guidelines that marketers can use across all channels. This creates a more cohesive message that fosters increased brand awareness. A guideline document can help you set the tone of voice for your brand and ensure that all content created remains true to your brand identity.
Clear brand guidelines also allow you to use the same messaging across all channels without creating duplicate content. As long as the overall messaging is within your guidelines, you can tweak the wording or mix it up a bit for each channel while remaining consistent.
5. Conduct testing and optimize your strategy
Continuously testing the efficacy of your omnichannel strategy is important to its success. This allows you to identify the best ways to optimize your messaging and campaign budget.
Accessing accurate sales and customer data can reveal which product categories, channels, and customer segments are driving the most revenue, and will add to the success of your strategy. It will also help you identify areas of improvement and how you can revise your strategy to optimize future campaigns.
Optimizing the omnichannel experience with customer data
An omnichannel marketing strategy is all about targeting the right customer at the right time across every channel. To do this, you need to understand your customer data to see where you can improve the customer experience and your overall strategy.
Simon’s industry-leading customer data platform (CDP) unlocks the power of your customer data, making it essential to any omnichannel campaign. Its seamless integration of real-time and historical first-party data across several tools and sources—including customer relationship management (CRM) tools and data management platforms (DMPs)—creates a unified, comprehensive platform that allows you to optimize your omnichannel marketing efforts.
Request a demo to find out how our cross-channel orchestration can help you create and manage a holistic omnichannel customer experience.