January 23, 2017

What does omnichannel mean to your business?

Omnichannel marketing

For Part 2 go to: Four steps toward omnichannel marketing success

PART 1

What does omnichannel mean to your business? The consumer journey to make a purchase has evolved (and continues to do so) rapidly. There used to be a time when buying only happened in the brick-and-mortar stores and in the early days of e-commerce, on our personal computers. That type of buying still happens today, however now, people tend to use many different channels and devices in a single purchase cycle. And, to make things even more complex, additional channels are added on an ongoing basis.

Buying is no longer a linear path

The purchasing journey can become a bumpy ride with lots of detours that eventually can lead to frustration for your customers. That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible for them to get from point A to point B, and why you need to adopt an OmniChannel approach to marketing. Unfortunately, very few businesses are winning at this type of cross-channel marketing. Why? Because omnichannel is an extremely misunderstood term and many businesses don’t even know where to begin.

Put simply, omnichannel marketing refers to a business delivering a consistent and uninterrupted brand experience across all channels and devices a customer uses to interact with them. Here’s an example: Suppose you’re browsing the website of a fashion retailer on your smartphone. You find a product you like, put it in your basket, get distracted with something else and don’t finish the purchasing process.

Fast forward several hours when you’re checking Facebook on your iPad. As you browse through your news feed, you see an ad from the same retailer featuring the same product that’s sitting in your shopping cart. A couple of clicks later, and you discover the product you selected earlier in the day is still there in your basket. However, just as you’re ready to checkout, your iPad’s battery dies. You quickly hop onto your laptop, open the website and hey presto: You’re able to finish the purchase. This is how today’s customers expect to buy — with the convenience of using several synchronised devices and channels.

The customer journey

Not only that, the modern customer journey is increasingly taking place both online and offline simultaneously. For instance, a buyer may research and compare prices online and then head to the bricks-and-mortar store to purchase the product. The opposite scenario also happens when a consumer visits a physical store to buy a product and finds that it is out of stock. Now all they must do is quickly search for the same item online, place an online order for the same product, and have it shipped directly to home.

To adequately satisfy today’s cross-channel buyers, brands must allow them to pick up from where they left off, no matter where they are in the purchase process. That’s the beauty of omnichannel marketing.

To discuss your challenges whether B2B or B2C2C please get in touch.

In PART 2 we focus on four important things you need to think about for a successful omnichannel marketing strategy.

Martin Sutcliffe

Blog author: Martin Sutcliffe, Strategic Business Development at CDS.

You may also find the following articles related to omnichannel of interest:

Finding an effective path for digital channel and customer engagement in the UK Insurance Sector and other B2B2C markets.

How we help insurance companies to use digital transformation to drive innovation, enable the development of new markets, products and services and to provide a unified view of the customer, which in turn drives growth and increased revenue.

CDS is working with Zurich’s UK General Insurance business to support the development of their evolving digital strategy. Central to this, is the ability to gain greater insight to deliver web personalisation; in addition to considering and defining the marketing data analytics requirements across the different business areas.