Multi-channel marketing can feel overwhelming–and it is a lot to keep track of. Coming up with a concrete plan and using the right tools can help.
We’ve helped hundreds of retailers transition from brick-and-mortar to online retail, and here’s what we’ve learned:
Meeting growing expectations:
As shoppers grow more tech-savvy, their hopes for retailers increase.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers Total Retail 2016 report, “In a world where mercurial shoppers are easily bored and yesterday’s new invention is already obsolete, retailers are racing to stay relevant with consumers.”
Among their findings:
- 26% of the US population overall says mobile will be their main purchasing tool in the future
- … while 40% of millennials say they purchase most or all of their products online
- 58% of consumers say convenience is why they shop online
- When it comes to brick-and-mortar, the main factors they look for are ease-of-checkout, a sales associate with deep products knowledge, and the ability to check a database for product availability
- Two-thirds of US shoppers rank social media reviews and feedback as factors which influence their purchasing decisions, followed closely by promotional offers
They go on to say, “With customers changing quickly and expecting retailers to know their needs and habits and provide them with personalized offers and experiences, the question for retailers isn’t whether they need to change — it’s ‘Where to start?’”
Retailers that can’t keep up with these trends might find themselves playing catch-up and see a serious loss in revenue as a result.
Channel loyalty is a thing of the past:
Shoppers have thousands of retail outlets to choose from, both online and off. Just think about your particular niche–how many direct competitors can you think of, right off the top of your head?
With the convenience and ease of accessing so many different options with just the click of a button, channel loyalty is gone.
The bottom line is that retailers these days are expected to give customers a variety of ways to shop. Customers want convenience—and they want to be sure that they’re getting the best deal.
Use a multi-channel experience to influence purchasing decisions:
When you go to a store, do you use your phone to check product prices at other retailers? Ever seen something you have to have RIGHT NOW, so you hop online and order it immediately?
That’s why it’s essential for retailers to offer a variety of shopping options today.
Multi-channel retailing means providing multiple ways for consumers to purchase goods and services. It’s necessary to sell through a variety of outlets–both traditional, like a retail location, and digital, like social media or an e-commerce site.
It means being wherever your customers are.
As we’ve already proven, today’s consumer doesn’t care where they shop–as long as it’s convenient and they’re getting the best deal. In addition, they’re likely to check several different channels before making a purchasing decision.
Google touched on this when they discussed a trend they call the “consumer journey path to purchase”. According to their research:
The path to purchase, from start to finish, is rarely linear—it’s more akin to a scavenger hunt. Along the customer journey, one search can spark an entirely new idea or want. And one search can make the difference between your brand and the competition.
Multi-channel retailing helps ensure that you reach your customers no matter what their preferred channel is.
Key advantages include:
The ability to target consumers at different stages of the buyer’s journey:
It’s unlikely that the first time a consumer encounters your product they will be willing to buy–instead, they will probably browse other retailers, read reviews, and look for promotions before deciding. However, by marketing your product in different locations, you up your chances of finding the right person at the right time.
Customizable loyalty programs:
As you are aware, not all customers are looking for the same thing. It’s likely that those searching for a product directly have different expectations than those search on social media. Instead of creating a one-size-fits-all loyalty program, try offering personalized offerings based on the sales outlet and, even further, past customer experiences. For example, send out coupons or promotions related to a product that particular customer has recently purchased.
Better informed store associates:
With a multi-channel approach, in-store personnel is more able to offer the customer what they want and need. For instance, if the customer wants a product that isn’t in stock, the employee will be able to check for availability in other stores, or even online. In addition, access to a quality POS system will allow them to view a customer’s past purchases, promotions used, and even complaints filed to allow a truly personalized experience.
Email addresses collected in-store or on a website can be used in combination with POS data to send personalized email offers to specific groups of customers–and you can use that same data to create targeted ads on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.
86% of shoppers utilize at least two different channels when making a purchasing decision[i]. Furthermore, 70% say they want a personalized shopping experience[ii].
As a retailer, you need to branch out if you want to be successful. Commerce today is about moving beyond your comfort zone and exploring new marketplaces.
Our expert designers can walk you through the process of creating an e-commerce application. We create effective mobile commerce solutions that will work for hand in hand with your existing products and services. Mobile commerce solutions help to ensure that customers will be willing to work with you and build a relationship with your brand—and they help keep you relevant.