A Google report, The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior showed that 90 percent of consumers surveyed reported using more than one device — whether that meant a smartphone, PC, tablet or TV — to accomplish a single objective online.
The obvious conclusion from that finding is that brands hoping to increase conversions should create seamlessly integrated marketing campaigns and sales funnels across multiple platforms and devices.
This tactic is called omni-channel marketing — and it’s something many entrepreneurs are already using. You should be, too.
What is omnichannel marketing and what is it used for?
Omni-channel marketing — alternately called omnichannel sales — empowers customers to interact with brands online on any platform or device flawlessly. It’s commonly used for ecommerce.
In this context, when retail brands create an omnichannel strategy, customers might begin shopping on their mobile device, add a product to their cart while on their tablet and complete the checkout process on their desktop without suffering any interruptions in the shopping experience.
Omni-channel marketing is effective and allows brands to target more valuable customers. After all, consumers use more than four devices each day, according to Forrester data.
However, don’t confuse omni-channel marketing with multi-channel marketing! Multi-channel marketing is just simply the use of — you guessed it! — many marketing platforms to promote a business. However, they do not create the seamless experience that omni-channel does.
Creating a successful omni-channel marketing strategy can be complicated. However, here are a few simple steps that can help you create more effective campaigns.
1. Conduct consumer research.
Before you start crafting an omni-channel sales funnel, first understand who your target audience members are and which platforms they are active on. It might be tempting to optimize your communication and sales for every channel imaginable, but the reality is that your demographic will not be active users on all of those mediums.
Therefore, you’ll waste time, energy and money to create an omni-channel functionality for a platform your customers don’t care about because there’ll be no return on investment.
Look instead at your website analytics and determine which platforms and platforms provide high traffic, time on site, conversions or other metrics you’re hoping to improve. That will help you determine which channels you should invest in.
2. Determine your ecommerce touchpoints.
A key element of successful omni-channel experiences is that it infuses the desired action into unexpected platforms. Brands should be constantly encouraging conversions — whatever those may be — throughout the responsive website and on unique channels.
Once you determine who your audience members are and learn which platforms they prefer, you can create “touchpoints” on each one. These can include desktop stores, shoppable email marketing campaigns, strategic retargeting, mobile apps and more.
3. Bridge the gaps between channels.
The most important aspect of omni-channel marketing is that the experience should be seamless, both online and offline. Ensure that your marketing or development team creates a transition among the channels.
For example, businesses can tie their Facebook presence into their website through Facebook ecommerce integrations that allow brands to shop on the platform. From there, users will be able to make a purchase on the website but choose to pick up their purchase in store, which creates a seamless transition from online shopping to brick-and-mortar storefront.
These little moments of evolution solidify a strong user experience and build a successful omnichannel strategy.
Incorporate top tools to implement omni-channel marketing into your business.
Agency directory site DesignRush recommends investing in resources such as communication-platform as a service (CPaaS) and third-party social media integrations to build a trustworthy omni-channel experience that consumers will likely use.
CPaaS platforms are cloud-based providers of voice, video and messaging communication. They are typically incorporated directly into websites and mobile apps. An example of CPaaS in action would be a text message reminder of a fitness class you booked on a mobile app.
Meanwhile, social media ecommerce companies such as Curalate and RewardStyle (owner of the wildly popular LikeToKnowIt) allow brands to integrate ecommerce into Instagram, a decidedly non-ecommerce-friendly platform.
For example, although Instagram Stories allows certain accounts to link outside of the platform with a “swipe up” call to action, not every profile has that opportunity. Instead, many are left with one option: a single #LinkInBio.
Curalate creates a dynamic page with links that direct to blogs, product pages and more. These allow businesses to promote more than one item. Curalate also enables brands to link to specific products within an actual Instagram post and directs them to the right product page with ease.
Another tool that creates great omnichannel customer experiences is a high-tech email marketing provider such as SailThru. These aggregate user behaviors and IP addresses, and serve consumers completely customized campaigns based on their website interactions.
By opening lines of communication and empowering consumers to complete purchases on untapped platforms, brands can create robust omni-channel marketing experiences.
What’s better? Omni-channel marketing can bring a year-over-year revenue increase of 9.5 percent, according to Marsys. In addition, poor or nonexistent omnichannel experiences can result in a 10 percent decrease in revenue, according to Vend
3 brands with strong omnichannel marketing strategies
Ticketmaster: Ticketmaster maintains a comprehensive omnichannel experience across all of its platforms. For example, when users purchase a ticket to a show, it is immediately deposited into their account. Users are also prompted to download the mobile app, which enable them to use their ticket directly from the app at the venue.
J.Crew: J.Crew created a particularly useful omnichannel shopping experience on its Instagram feed. The brand uses Curalate to link its Instagram images to products for sale on itswebsite to increase online sales.
J.Crew also repurposes its colorful marketing images on its Instagram feed, creating a consistent brand identity. Plus, it can quickly funnel users to the website to make a purchase directly from those photos.
Walt Disney World: Disney has one of the most robust omnichannel experiences around. Users can create an account in My Disney Experience. This portal creates a bridge between every digital and real-life experience that visitors could have at the Disney Parks.
Users can search for restaurants, plan their itineraries, build out a list of friends and family, store and share photos, shop for merchandise and more. My Disney Experience is available on desktop, mobile device and mobile app.
In a Zendesk study 87 percent of consumers surveyed said they wanted brands to have more consistent experiences across all platforms. This demonstrates that customers desire omnichannel experiences and will reward those businesses that provide them.
So, become one of those businessses. By investing in omni-channel marketing tactics, you’ll position your brand as a customer-centric business that values user experience. This will help you capture more consumers, boost your conversions and ultimately increase revenue.