The customer journey has rapidly changed over the years, especially in retail. Fifteen years ago you would ask your neighbour for advice on which lawn mower or TV you should buy next. Fast-forward to present day. Consumers simply need to pick up their phone and type a few keywords into Google or use the appropriate hashtags on social media to learn more about a product or brand. Consumers are not going to brand websites – they are going to search and social media. It’s no longer enough for a business in 2018 to have a single channel for acquiring customers.
What is omni-channel marketing?
Omni-channel means multiple channels. For example, if customers can reach your support team via email, telephone, social media, and live chat, this is called omni-channel customer service. If your brand is present on Google, Bing, Facebook, and Instagram, this is called omni-channel marketing. If your customers can purchase your products online and collect in-store, this is called Omnichannel marketing. Omnichannel marketing offers prospects and customers multiple touch points to connect with your brand during their discovery, purchase, and post-purchase phase of their buying journey.
The power has shifted to the consumer
Before the Internet, the power was with the brand. There was no social media, hardly anyone had a website, and the consumer had to visit your brick and mortar store to view your products. In 2018, anyone can create an online business in minutes and, with the right omni-channel marketing strategy, reach millions of prospects. Consumers have so much choice that they now hold the power. If your website takes too long to load, they will go and use someone else. If you have hidden delivery fees, then expect a high abandon cart rate. If you don’t update your Instagram account for weeks, then engagement with customers will weaken. You can find numerous studies proving that massively in retail, with omnichannel marketing customer lifetime values increasing by as much as 30% than businesses that use a single channel. Is it easy to create an omni-channel marketing strategy in today’s chaotic retail space? No. Customers understand that but they still want you to do it.