We live in a hyper-connected world. We are glued to our phones which are synced with our email and social media profiles, geotagged with our location, and set to receive instant push notifications all day long.
Our digital world is linked so closely to our real world that they are almost one in the same.
And, that is why omni-channel marketing can be so powerful.
What Is Omni-Channel Marketing?
Omni-channel marketing is strategy wherein a brand creates a cohesive customer experience through all of their branded touchpoints.
Every time a customer interacts with a brand -- whether it’s online through their website, social media profile, and mobile app or offline through physical store touch points -- the experience feels connected.
Unlike multi-channel marketing, which is focused on creating a sales approach through multiple channels, omni-channel marketing is focused on creating a cohesive sales approach through multiple channels.
The sales approach is intended to be seamless, consistent, and integrated so when a customer interacts with a brand, it always feels like one connected experience.
What Are the Benefits of Using Omni-Channel Marketing?
Omni-channel marketing is a smart strategy for marketers because it unifies the sales approach. It simplifies and upgrades the customer experience and accelerates the purchasing process.
When you use omni-channel marketing to connect your online presence with a physical retail store, you can:
- Boost brand recognition and loyalty
- Educate, inform, and empower customers
- Create additional sales opportunities
- Create cross-sale opportunities
- Empower employees
- Collect data on customer habits
To bring the benefits of omni-channel marketing to your store, consider the following strategies.
How to Use Omni-Channel Marketing in Your Retail Store
Connect your e-commerce store to your brick-and-mortar stores. Many customers start the purchasing process before they enter a store. They start shopping online to get an idea of what they want, where they get it, and how much it will cost. Make sure your online store and brick-and-mortar stores have consistent information, so customers don’t arrive expecting one thing and find another.
Arm sales associates with tablets that provide additional sales info. When shopping online, customers have access to information they don’t have while shopping in a store -- such as specific product specs, availability, product variations, etc. Equip your sales staff to provide this additional information to shoppers by giving them tablets that can pull up the details anywhere in the store.
Use digital screens to show off products. Help customers see your entire product line in your showroom or retail store by featuring items on digital screens. Position screens so customers can control the content or create sales videos that run on a loop. Tommy Hilfiger recently used this tactic and created a “digital showroom” that has been extremely successful.
Place interactive touchscreen displays in dressing rooms. Provide assistance to your customer where they need it most, in the changing room. Utilize interactive screens that allow shoppers to find additional details about products, call for assistance, or request additional sizes to be delivered to the dressing room.
Display screens synched with digital promotions for your customers. Don’t hide all of your deals, discounts, and sales on your website. Highlight promotions in your store by using engaging display screens that show the same specials featured on your digital platforms.
Display screens synched with digital promotions for your staff. Displays boards educate your customers about digital deals, and they also help notify your staff. With so many platforms sharing deals, it can be difficult for your team to stay up to date with all of your promotions. So place digital information screens with sales info in staff areas to inform them about all of your promotions.
Equip your team to honor all online discounts. Creating an integrated sales approach means that online and offline experiences need to feel like one thing. Nothing breaks that feeling faster for a customer than seeing a price online and coming into a store and finding a different one. Honor all online prices in your store, so customers don’t feel a disconnect between in-person and online shopping.
Bring social networking into your store. Social network platforms exist online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the digital experience into your real-world store. Integrate the two by using digital screens that display social media streams featuring certain hashtags or mentions. This boosts customer engagement with your social profiles, builds a connection between your other physical locations, and provides entertainment for in-store shoppers.
Be aware of what is happening on social media and be able to connect in person. Angry and frustrated customers aren’t shy when it comes to sharing their opinions on social media. So listen to the chatter about your brand. If someone is sharing a story about a live situation happening at a physical location, see if you can resolve the situation in-person while the person is still at your store.
Use a loyalty program to connect with nearby customers. Creating an app or reward program allows you to collect valuable information about your shoppers. It also enables you to connect with shoppers in real-time in your physical store. Loyalty app programs can use geo-targeting to send push notifications with deals and sales info to loyalty shopper when they are near a retail store’s location.
Collect and use data. As you connect with customers in multiple places, collect data on their habits. Compare customer purchases on your website and in your store. Use your loyalty program to gather information about shoppers. Collect data every chance you can so you can get a deeper look into your customer base.
Create a consistent brand-feel. For omni-channel marketing to work, it needs to seamlessly work together and connect all of your platforms. It also had to look like it came from the same place. As you create your marketing materials, from your website graphics to social media images to in-store signage, use consistent branding, colors, tone, and fonts to present a consistent brand-feel.
Omni-channel marketing allows retail marketers to bring our digital and real world together to create one seamless experience that empowers, engages, and educates customers. So if you haven’t connected your online and offline marketing efforts, it might be time to start.
Want to learn more?
Get more tips on upgrading your customer's experience both online and off in our free ebook How to Provide Exceptional Customer Experiences Using Audio and Video in Your Retail Store. The free guide explains how you can use media to provide your customers with a great experience while benefiting your bottom line.