In this age of massive digital consumption, there is a constant proliferation of social media and channels that can be used by marketers in new and exciting ways to reach their target audiences. These new channels are giving marketers a wealth of choices when making the decision on how they want to reach out to their customers.
Single channel marketing is dying
However, every choice has its pitfalls. While heavy investment in one channel may bring excellent results, the marketers may be losing out on the potentials of another channel, but may not have the further investment to put into it as well. This leaves them with a very small margin for error, especially since the savvy customers have become highly capable of searching out the information they want, polling their social networks, and finalizing transactions across a gamut of interactive sales channels.
Marketers are evolving into hybrids
This has led to marketers having to adopt a new set of rules, which force them to learn a new, hybrid capability not to overly focus on one single channel. These new breeds of marketers understand that, in order to be successful, they need to cover all channels, whether digital, direct, or retail and fully understand the idea of customer experience. With the ability to make their purchase from everything from desktop to cell phone, consumers are forcing a market that needs to use an omnichannel customer experience to provide that ever-important customer experience.
Omnichannel is not just another buzzword. It is a definite reflection of what consumers want when they engage in a brand and is best described as how the brands allow their clients and customers to use the various channels available to engage with their favorite brands. The customer has multiple options on how they want to interact with the brand and complete their purchase, from online to catalogs, to retail stores. Omnichannel allows them to do that, starting in one channel and finishing in another.
Omnichannel allows freedom of purchase
Marketo is one of the leading providers of automated marketing and has produced a definitive explanation on why marketers need to start thinking omnichannel, instead of single channel. The need to provide a seamless experience to the consumer, regardless of device or channel, is the main challenge for modern marketers. The modern consumer can now engage with the brand in multiple channels at the same time, shopping in retail stores, yet paying online; or starting online or via mobile or catalog over the phone, and ending the experience with a visit to a local retail store. And all of the channels used by the consumer should be complementary and wholly consistent. According to a report by MIT, eighty percent of shoppers in a retail store check the prices online, either beforehand or during the shopping experience.
Customers can move through the channels freely
This is a clear representation of the fast evolution of the omnichannel in today’s digital world. Customers move from screen to store and store to screen, and via many other channels in the process of engaging in their buying behavior. And for many customers, it does not stop there. When you consider the multi-path experience of the omnichannel, and what it really looks like, you can soon see what a benefit it is to both consumer and business alike.
A sales example of omnichannel
For example, imagine that the family is out to dinner just before going on vacation, when the daughter announces she needs new soccer boots for the start of the new season. As the season will be already in full swing when they return, the father whips out his mobile and starts looking for boots. When he finds a pair that he thinks she might like, he adds them to the cart. When he gets home with the kids later, he jumps on the PC, and opens the site to show the daughter, who does not like them. So the pair runs through the other options to find a pair she likes, and they add them to the cart. As the account belongs to his wife, he waits until she is there to finalize the purchase, just in case she has a discount code that can be applied, so he saves the boots in the cart until she can get online and make the purchase.
This is how omnichannel works. Moving from one medium to another seamlessly, and always able to complete the purchase at any point and from any device. With the buying power of the modern consumer, omnichannel has just placed the selling power back into the hands of the merchants and marketers.
Article published in E-commerce