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Opinion

Four essential tools for omnichannel marketing

Never have marketers had so many opportunities to engage consumers. Ever-connected and digitally savvy, today’s shoppers can get the products and services they want nearly anytime from almost anywhere using practically any device.

Technology has created this omnichannel opportunity, which has become a formidable challenge for even the most established brands, many of which still struggle to manage inventory and other gaps between their brick-and-mortar and online locations.

It’s time to consider your omnichannel strategy, and a great place to begin is to learn about the technology and tools you can use to engage consumers and increase their loyalty to your brand over time.

In this article, we’ll explore the online side of omnichannel marketing and the tools marketers can use to leverage this growing opportunity.

Omnichannel vs multichannel marketing

The terms omnichannel and multichannel are often confused. The distinction between them has less to do with technology and more to do with strategy.

Companies that focus on maximising the performance of each channel – online, in-store and mobile – are using a multichannel marketing strategy. An omnichannel approach puts customers, rather than business goals, at the centre of the strategy and aims to deliver a consistent experience across all engagement points.

To get started, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How can they interact with your brand? Where might they run into problems? How can you improve the experience? Then, take time to listen to your customers, and invite them to share their experiences, too.

One luxury fashion brand used social listening to uncover issues with its products that were affecting online sales. Rebecca Minkoff, the first fashion brand to embrace Snapchat, found social media platforms provide an invaluable opportunity to forge relationships with customers and learn from them.

Co-founder Uri Minkoff said the desire to learn from consumers and deliver unique experiences based on their needs is what helped shape the Rebecca Minkoff brand into what it is today.

For example, their “See Now, Buy Now” initiative lets shoppers purchase new seasonal fashions shortly after their runway debut.

It makes sense: Consumers view engagements with your brand as a one-to-one relationship. A growing number of them are seeking – to the point of expectation – a personalised conversation with you. For example, a shopper who consistently views swimwear on your website would likely be interested in an in-store swimwear sale. If that shopper buys swimwear in-store, she’d likely appreciate related product recommendations for items like sandals and beach towels via email.

4 essential tools for omnichannel marketing

Here are four tools you’ll need to get started with your omnichannel marketing program:

  • A commerce-focused marketing automation platform is among your most important engagement tools for omnichannel personalisation. Be sure it has solid integrations, live support when your team is online, and has the in-house expertise to lend a hand on strategy and creative.
  • Browse recovery applications track your shoppers’ online browsing behaviours and automatically deliver personalised messages to re-engage them with your brand and encourage them to purchase the products they’re considering.
  • Cart recovery applications automate personalised messages to shoppers that recover revenue that would be lost when those shoppers put items in their carts, but leave before buying.
  • Product recommendations are an excellent way to engage shoppers and begin having a more personal conversation. When you add a recommendations engine to your marketing stack, you can send highly personalised product recommendations to customers across all your messages.

While personalisation in omnichannel marketing rightly focuses on the consumer, it’s also important that your tactics support your broader business goals. The best marketing automation platforms allow you to change product recommendations based on the business rules you set.

Brands that are adopting personalisation tactics are faring well. Men’s clothier Paul Fredrick paired browse recovery with product recommendations, and success was immediate. The open rate is 130 per cent higher than standard promotional emails, click rates are 218 per cent higher, conversion rates are 75 per cent higher, average order value is 46 per cent higher and revenue per email is 15 times higher.

More importantly, the programs aren’t eating into the revenue: The return on investment for the two additions is 30 times on an annualised basis. And the emails triggered lower-than-industry-average unsubscribes, which is a critical metric to monitor when launching a personalisation campaign.

“We think about where the customer is in their purchase lifecycle and send them the right message,” said Scott Drayer, the company’s vice president of marketing. “We really try to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes.”

To succeed in the omnichannel marketplace, fostering that customer-centric perspective is critical. And, by applying these tools, you’ll better connect with your customers and provide the more personalised experience they want.

As you progress in your use of technology to automate your commerce marketing tactics, you can begin to gauge how your approach is affecting your customer lifetime value and your brand’s bottom line.

Shannon Ingrey is general manager of Oracle + Bronto APAC www.bronto.com and can be contacted at 1300 564 112.

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