Omnichannel marketing.

What is it? Who’s doing it best? Our top 4.

Key points:
• Omnichannel marketing is different to Multichannel marketing. Marketers need to adapt fast.

• Shopping behaviour has changed, with the power of product information now in the hands of the customer.

• No two omnichannel marketing strategies are the same because no two businesses are the same.

Read time: 6 minutes

86% of shoppers regularly channel hop across two channels – and they’re not just hopping from one retailer to another, they’re darting across multiple channels within the same retail environment. They’ll even make online purchases with the retailer that owns the bricks and mortar store that they’re physically standing in, waiting to be served.

Welcome to the weird wonderful new way of shopping.

As Scott Vaughan, CEO of Integrate pointed out recently ‘To say the buying process has changed and what’s expected of marketing is an understatement.’

Power to the people.

The proliferation of devices and online shopping has put the customer in the box seat and if you’re not delivering on their expectations, they move on fast. Research into the shopping behavior of 46,000 shoppers found that around 7% of customers were ‘only-online’ shoppers, 20% were ‘store-only’ shoppers and nearly three quarters of all shoppers used multiple channels throughout their shopping journey. Furthermore, the findings suggested that the more channels the customers used, the more valuable they were for retailers, spending significantly more (up to 13%) than single channel customers.

‘But we already have a multichannel marketing strategy… isn’t that the same thing?’

No, it’s not. You can have a clever mobile marketing campaign, super sticky social media approach and a beautifully designed website – but if they’re not in sync from the customer’s perspective, that’s not an omni channel approach.

These days, almost every organized business invests in a multichannel approach of some kind with strategies embedded in their website and blog, newsletters, emails, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and so on. But even with such a multi channel approach, customers aren’t necessarily experiencing a seamless experience with you.

A fully integrated experience.

The omnichannel approach deals with every platform and every device that a customer will access to interact with the retailer, delivering them a fully integrated experience with aligned messaging and service protocols. It’s about living up to the customer needs from their perspective, not yours as a marketer/retailer. For many businesses it’s a complete rethink – requiring them to lay out all the channels on the table, and reconsider them as they apply to their business so that what they end up with is a coherent, aligned experience across all platforms.

Remember that your omnichannel strategy will be unique – largely because your business is unique. It will need to traverse all the different parts of your organization, from Product, Marketing and Sales right through to Support and CustomerSuccess.

Sow ho’s doing this best? Let’s take a look at our selection of great OmniChannel examples…

1. Disney does details.

Surprise, surprise. From the company that delivers magical memories you get a seamless, interconnected communications ride. Disney puts your entire experience first – starting with an intuitive, responsive website that gives you the power to book and plan an entire trip to their theme parks via aMyDisney Experience portal that even drills down to the ability to select the restaurants you’d like to dine at during the day.

If you’re time poor, you’ll love the way Disney minimizes wasted hours in queues by helping you locate and navigate the attractions, providing expected waiting times so you can strategize and plan your day to maximize fun time. Your smartphone becomes your passport to ticketing and any shots that are taken in the park with any one of the army of roaming Disney characters is streamed straight to your phone. If you’d rather go phone free, simply slip on the Magic Wrist Band - personalized to your favorite Disney character no less – which doubles as a ticket and photo storage device, a key for your hotel room and can be linked to a credit card for any payments within the park. Let’s go, Pluto!

2 Starbucks signups on the back of tasty rewards.  

Starbuck’s don’t just have an omnichannel strategy. It’s been said that they’ve got an omnichannel funnel that drives new customers to the brand and ramps up loyalty of existing customers.

When new customers come into store to buy a coffee, they are immersed in the Starbucks environment - think yummy coffee smells and baked goodies - and even though it’s a quick sales process, they get signed up for the Starbuck’s newsletter which has some nice discounts, ‘Sign me up? Sure, why not?’ Then once they’re in and using those discounts, the Starbucks Rewards carrot is dangled with even more discounts on offer. The solid, user friendly mobile app doubles as a menu browser and order point and alerts the customer base when new offers are on.

It seems to be working a treat… there’s now more than 12 million loyal customers int he US racking up gold stars in the new Starbucks mobile app.

3 REI brings the adventure to you.

They know all too well that their customers are online researchers, so they load up their website with a wealth of user reviews and product info and have stock tracking sorted to give you updates on which store has the product/size you’re looking for. Armed with the REI app, your bricks and mortar experience is equally rich, allowing you to access their storewide WIFI to scan any barcode, revealing reviews and product details while you’re hands on with the item. Sure, you can Google in store, but this system takes you one step closer to the info you want and keeps you within their sales ecosystem. The App also helps you browse National Parks to explore, furthering your outdoor experience and you can even learn to cross country ski or rock climb (on their in-store climbing walls) - or take part in classes on camping to get you ready for your next weekend away.

4. The Tesla experience matches the product.

Not content with changing the technological landscape in the auto industry, Tesla is disrupting the way automotive marketing works. One of the big differences is that Tesla does it all, from end to end. Production, right through to Sales… and beyond. Almost all car companies have partner dealer networks that service and sell their fleets making the customer experience harder to control with the addition of a third party that loves to tinker with the customer experience and marketing message. Because Tesla controls the whole customer journey, they can deliver a consistent message and develop a stronger, less obtrusive bond.

For many customers, the entry point is the fascination with Elon Musk and his forays into space. Tweets from Musk traverse different subject matter and inevitably, customers encounter the Tesla phenomenon. They many never have been in a ‘gallery’ (Tesla speak for ‘Showroom’), but curiosity ultimately gets the better of them and soon they find themselves organizing a test drive on Tesla’s website, which is seamlessly handled via a Tesla Call Center at the nearest gallery. The purchase process is equally smooth and pressure free. Customers configure their Tesla themselves on the website, place the order, finalize the paperwork and pay without leaving their screen.

Pretty soon, an invitation arrives to pick up their vehicle at their nearest Tesla service point. They download the Tesla app and when they walk up to their new car it automatically unlocks. Now in the front seat, the new buyer realizes they didn’t add autopilot to their config, but there it is on the big in-car screen, with an ‘order’ button. What is happening here? The Tesla vehicle itself has replaced the sales person as a revenue generator and has surrounded the customer with an experience that continues, with regular updates delivered and installed automatically to delight customers with new features.

Is it any wonder that it took just seven years from when Tesla went public to overtake Ford in Stock market value?

Omnichannel is the extension to your Multichannel strategy.

Don’t despair if you’ve yet to ‘go Omni’. That multichannel strategy you’ve been working on has been/is important – it has expanded your eCommerce reach and built a profile. From here, your omnichannel strategy will allow you to fine tune the way your capture and connect with customers, delivering up to a 30% increase in lifetime value within those relationships.

Don’t expect it to be easy. It will take more work for you to implement properly. You’re going to have to park what you think is important and focus on how your customers are behaving. As McKinsey points out, it requires a laser-like focus on value creation. This will shape a new strategy of interconnectedness that will need to evolve with emerging platforms, new tech and your customers.