Omnichannel communication – Not just for marketers

On February 17, 2016

There has been much hype around the value of omnichannel marketing, with the process enforcing the value of splitting promotional strategies and content across the widest range of devices and platforms possible. 

The omnichannel movement is not just for businesses.

However, recent research from Google found that the omnichannel movement is not just for businesses. In fact, it's yet another example of a consumer-led trend that is changing the way organisations shape their B2C marketing strategies

While it seems like businesses and consumers both have their own unique reason for embracing the trend, there is a common goal that unites them. Put simply, every channel or platform has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so consumers and businesses need to ensure they're accounting for all possibilities. 

Enhance local connections

The demand for personalised marketing content, communications and recommendations is a notable challenge for businesses to manage, as it means they can no longer simply see their consumer base as a set of loosely defined demographics. 

Google discovered that customer searches are becoming much less general, and much more specific when it comes to geography. According to the search engine's data, the addition of "near me" to search requests has more than doubled over the past 12 months. 

The key to these exchanges is ensuring consumers know that they can depend on their local stores. Whether marketing emails focus on communicating stock levels across their locations, or special events and deals at specific stores, it's important to create a connection between the customer, their digital engagement with a store and their eventual purchase. 

Smart devices are changing retail.
Smart devices are changing retail.

An omnichannel presence lets consumers spend more

For marketers, an omnichannel strategy allows them to reach more consumers across a greater variety of platforms. For consumers, adopting an omnichannel approach to purchasing goods broadens their options and ensures they have access to the greatest possible range of deals and information. 

MasterCard investigated the traits exhibited by omnichannel consumers, finding this group of buyers is an especially lucrative one for businesses to nurture. The organisation defines an omnichannel customer as one that shops at a specific store using both online and physical channels. 

Omnichannel customers account for higher spending in most market sectors.

According to MasterCard omnichannel customers accounted for higher spending in every category the organisation measures, which included market segments such as Grocery, Department Stores and Specialty Retail. 

The organisation also identified the "tipping point" where an omnichannel customer grows in value. MasterCard found that this occurs when people go from making four transactions across different channels to five and upwards. 

Omnichannel demand puts pressure on businesses

While most organisations will be well versed in the concept of omnichannel marketing and preparing their services for consumers who embody these trends, a recent survey from Retail Systems Research (RSR) found that there are still a few challenges for businesses to manage. 

Smartphone use is key to the omnichannel consumers, with these people frequently using their devices in store to evaluate their purchasing decisions. However, despite the value of these customers, RSR found that organisations aren't doing enough to support their needs. 

According to RSR, only 25 per cent of the retail stores they service offer wi-fi for their employees, and just 19 per cent provide it for their customers. 

Google's statistics on the subject confirm the value in providing internet services to customers, finding that shopping-related searches on these devices grew by 120 per cent over the previous 12 months. Google also noted that the proportion of customers who continue these searches in store is on the rise, so free wi-fi could encourage these customers to stay longer.

To find out more about integrating mailing lists into your marketing strategies, contact the team at The Prospect Shop. 

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