Omni-Channel marketing is an approach which aims to design seamless consumer experiences across all marketing channels—social networks, e-commerce, catalogs, flyers, smartphones, TV and radio, in-store digital signage, traditional brick-and-mortar, or any other channel a consumer might tap into. And it is becoming more important for merchants in retail and hospitality to remain competitive. From the point of view of the consumer, there is no difference between these channels. A shopper will be checking out products; price and feature comparing with a smartphone from inside the store (a phenomenon known as showrooming), looking at a friend’s recommendations on Facebook, watching TV commercials, and looking for a deal in the store.
They expect to be able to place orders online and handle returns at the brick-and-mortar location. They want easy access to continuous inventory, which can be managed by providing an endless-aisle display in-store.
If the business owner is not ready with the right products and policies, and they can’t deliver a consistent experience across the myriad of marketing channels, the business risks being left behind. And it’s a moving target as well; new technologies are putting tools into the consumer’s hands at record pace. No longer is the merchant calling the shots—the market belongs to the consumer.
Savvy Shoppers Spend More
Research shows that the more knowledgeable a customer is the more they spend, from 15-30% more. The majority of omni-customers are reviewing before purchase, and using a smartphone and checking things out after viewing print and TV ads. Everyone is looking for a deal, particularly as the economy has put the squeeze on disposable income. Shoppers are even researching small ticket items. Deals can come all forms, from mobile ads to in-store promos. A key is having all the channels unified and able to deliver economic value consistently and seamlessly to the customer, no matter where they begin their product search.
Why should a business care? Here’s a good reason: the “new” markets (social media, email and mobile) are huge and their value will almost triple between now and 2016. Another reason is that the competition is already doing it. To outpace the competition requires an active and thoughtful omni-channel campaign, as well as a commitment to investing in technology: digital signage displays, table-top and interactive touch computers, internet, and software development.
Click here to read more about how the channels can be personalized to enhance customer experience.