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In today’s fast-paced world, customers interact with your business in many ways – from walking into your store to scrolling through your website.
What’s important to remember is no two customers are the same.
Omnichannel marketing embraces this fact. It knows that some customers like extra help, while others prefer to explore at their own pace.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omni-channel marketing isn’t simply about spreading your brand presence across various channels. It’s about integrating and harmonizing those channels for a fluid customer journey. Channels encompass digital platforms like websites, apps, social media, and emails, and, equally, offline experiences in brick-and-mortar stores, company events, and more. The goal is to provide customers with a consistent and cohesive experience, whether they interact with your business online, walk into your physical store, or attend an event you host.
Think of a small coffee shop using Instagram to show off its cozy ambiance and artisan coffees. A customer sees a post, visits the shop, and finds the same warmth they felt online. That’s omnichannel marketing at work.
At crowdspring, we’ve spent over 15 years perfecting our blend of ‘marketing brew’, infusing it with the unique flavors of each client’s needs. Omnichannel marketing is a critical ingredient in our mix, helping us serve clients better.
We’ve worked with tens of thousands of small businesses and startups, each adding to our secret recipe. Our strategy is a thoughtful mix of smart tools and tactics and strong visual design, further enriched by insights we’ve gathered from numerous webinars and workshops we’ve conducted.
This guide will share our proven omnichannel marketing strategies and reveal how they can propel your business toward its objectives. We have something for you whether you’re starting a new business or looking to stir things up in your existing business.
Omnichannel Marketing Guide:
Examples of omnichannel marketing
Businesses are doing their best to create smooth and easy customer experiences.
One of the best ways they do this is through omnichannel marketing. This full-circle approach aims to make interactions between the business and customers consistent and personalized across every possible channel.
Here are ten great examples of omnichannel marketing. These examples show how businesses, whether online, offline, or both, can successfully use different channels to boost customer engagement and sales.
- Brick-and-mortar retail store. A store with a customer loyalty program can be accessed in-store and online. Customers earn points for purchases no matter where they buy and can redeem rewards in-store or online. Loyalty programs are an excellent way to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences. Consider implementing one that works seamlessly across all channels.
- Online clothing retailer. An e-commerce store that sends personalized emails based on customers’ browsing behavior, offering discounts on items they’ve shown interest in. Use your customers’ online behavior to send personalized marketing communications that can motivate them to complete a purchase.
- Local restaurant. A restaurant that maintains a dynamic presence on social media, sharing daily specials and encouraging customers to make reservations online. Use social media to enhance the in-store experience, giving your customers a taste of what to expect when they visit.
- Subscription box service. A service that allows customers to customize their subscription boxes online and also hosts pop-up events allowing customers to experience the products physically. Use offline events to complement your online offerings, letting customers engage with your products or services in person.
- Fitness studio. A studio that offers membership purchases and class bookings online and an active social media presence where members can share their experiences and connect. Use online platforms to streamline administrative tasks and foster a community among your customers.
- Online tech gadget store. An e-commerce store that uses targeted ad campaigns across various social media platforms, directing customers to the most relevant product pages on their website. Leverage data from customers’ social media behavior to provide personalized advertising experiences.
- Farmers’ market vendor. A vendor that takes orders through a website or app allows customers to pick up their produce at the next market or opt for home delivery. Incorporate online ordering into your business to make shopping more convenient for your customers.
- Online learning platform. A platform that utilizes email campaigns to keep users engaged, sending personalized course recommendations based on users’ viewing history and interests. Use your customers’ online activity to provide personalized recommendations that boost engagement and conversions.
- Local salon. A salon that allows customers to book appointments online, sends email reminders and uses social media to showcase their stylists’ work. Use online scheduling and social media to simplify bookings and showcase your work, enhancing the in-salon experience.
- Online bookstore. A store that uses a mobile app to provide personalized book recommendations based on past purchases and a feature that lets customers sample books before buying. Use a mobile app to provide personalized services and features that enhance the shopping experience.
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Omnichannel marketing vs. multichannel marketing
With all the jargon, mixing up multichannel and omnichannel marketing is easy. While they sound similar, there’s a fundamental difference: focus.
In multichannel marketing, it’s all about the product or service. The strategy aims to spread the word across multiple platforms without necessarily weaving them into one coherent journey for the customer.
The outreach can sometimes feel disjointed. Imagine you just bought a cool new gadget, and right after that, you get a text offering you 10% off on your first purchase. A bit late, right?
On the other hand, omnichannel marketing centers around you, the customer. It crafts a seamless, integrated experience that focuses on your interactions with the brand. So instead of a late discount, you receive a timely thank-you message, possibly suggesting an accessory to go with your new gadget.
Let’s dive deeper into how these two strategies play out:
Example 1: Online Bookstore
Multichannel example: Imagine an online bookstore, let’s call it “Book Barn.” They send you weekly newsletters featuring the latest arrivals. One week, you get a special offer for a free thriller novel with your next in-store purchase.
Omnichannel example: Instead, if Book Barn tailors the newsletter based on your previous purchases – say, offering a free fantasy novel if that’s your preference – and lets you know when that limited-edition box set you’ve been eyeing is back in stock, that’s omnichannel marketing.
Example 2: Restaurant
Multichannel example: Consider a local restaurant, “Bistro Bite.” They advertise specials on their website, post updates on social media, and send out mailers with coupons to local residents.
Omnichannel example. Instead, if Bistro Bite uses your previous dine-in or takeout orders to personalize their communication, offering discounts on your favorite dishes, sending alerts when a dish you’ve liked before is the special of the day, and rewards you with loyalty points irrespective of whether you order in-store, online, or through their app, that’s omnichannel marketing in action.
Example 3: Fashion e-commerce site
Multichannel example: A fashion e-commerce site, “StyleHub,” allows you to browse your order history and check if the items are available at their local outlet.
Omnichannel example: StyleHub enhances the experience by not only showing your order history but also letting you create wish lists, check inventory at nearby stores, sign up for local fashion events, and earn points through their loyalty program, even when you engage with them on social media.
Example 4: Bank
Multichannel example: A bank, “TrustVault,” lets you conduct transactions at their physical branches, ATMs, or mobile app.
Omnichannel example: TrustVault steps up the game by integrating your banking experience across physical locations, ATMs, their website, mobile app, and even voice commands with virtual assistants like Alexa. It lets you check balances, inquire about loan rates, schedule appointments with advisors, and, anytime, syncing your profile across all these channels for seamless access.
Example 5: Small hardware store
Multichannel example: A small hardware store, “Handy Hardware,” has a physical store, a catalog they mail out, and a website where customers can browse and make purchases.
Omnichannel example. Handy Hardware takes it further by integrating the customer experience across all channels. They remember your previous purchases, offer helpful suggestions for your DIY projects, notify you when an out-of-stock item is available, and enable you to make purchases online and pick them up in-store. Plus, they run a loyalty program that rewards you no matter how you shop.
Omnichannel marketing statistics
Here are some intriguing statistics on omnichannel marketing that emphasize its growing importance:
Omnichannel consumers spend more. According to a report by the Harvard Business Review, omnichannel customers spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. [HBR]
Omnichannel increases loyalty. The same Harvard Business Review study found that customers spent more money in the store with every additional channel they used. For example, customers who used 4+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, compared to those who used just one channel. [HBR]
Omnichannel impacts brick-and-mortar. More demand for blended shopping channels is forcing brick-and-mortar businesses to reimagine their businesses. [Shopify]
Omnichannel outperforms single channels. According to a study by ClickZ, omnichannel campaigns achieve an 18.96% engagement rate, while single-channel campaigns only achieve a 5.4% engagement rate. [ClickZ]
Preference for omnichannel shopping. A report by the NRF found that 73% of consumers use multiple channels during their shopping journey. [NRF]
People use mobile apps in retail stores. Recent studies show that more than half of consumers use mobile apps when shopping in stores. [Yes Marketing]
Omnichannel drives higher purchase rates. Campaigns using three or more channels drive 287% more purchases than single-channel campaigns. [Omnisend]
These statistics underline the importance of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy for businesses aiming to provide a seamless customer experience across various touchpoints.
Benefits of omnichannel marketing
Businesses understand that implementing an omnichannel strategy can significantly enhance their profitability. While adopting such a comprehensive approach is not without its challenges, the potential benefits are well worth the effort.
- Consistent brand identity. An omnichannel approach ensures a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints. For example, a physical bookstore could carry the same thematic design and tone of voice onto its website, social media, and email communications. Likewise, an online clothing store can maintain its brand aesthetic and tone across its website, app, and social media channels, creating a unified shopping experience for customers.
- Improved data attribution. Omnichannel strategies allow businesses to track customer interactions across multiple platforms, providing valuable data on customer behaviors and preferences. A local restaurant, for instance, could use data from its website, social media, and in-person orders to understand peak times, popular dishes, and more. Similarly, an e-commerce store can leverage data from site visits, email campaigns, and social media interactions to inform its marketing and sales strategies.
- Enhanced customer experience. Customers enjoy a more seamless and personalized experience with an omnichannel approach. An offline hardware store could use email, text, or app notifications to alert customers to restocks or sales on frequently purchased items. An online tech store could use browsing data to personalize product recommendations across its website, emails, and advertisements.
- Greater revenue. Omnichannel customers typically have a higher lifetime value. For example, a grocery store might offer an app for online orders, self-checkout kiosks in-store, and a loyalty program across both channels, encouraging higher spending and repeat visits. An online cosmetics retailer could use targeted ads, email newsletters, and a customer-friendly website to guide customers from discovery to purchase, increasing the chances of repeat business.
- Increased customer retention. The seamless experience of an omnichannel approach can lead to higher customer retention. A gym could use an app for booking classes, a website for informational resources, and in-person services to keep members engaged. An online subscription box service could use social media, emails, and a customer portal on its website to maintain constant, meaningful engagement.
- Broader reach. Omnichannel strategies allow businesses to reach customers wherever they are, physically or digitally. A brick-and-mortar clothing boutique can reach local customers in-store, online shoppers through its website, and a broader audience via social media. Similarly, an online gaming platform can reach players through in-game messaging, emails, and social media interactions.
- Improved customer insights. Understanding customer behavior and preferences is easier with an omnichannel approach. A coffee shop might better understand customer preferences by using loyalty card data, social media feedback, and in-store conversations. An online bookstore can gain insights from browsing and purchasing data, email click-through rates, and social media comments.
- Personalized marketing. With the insights gathered from omnichannel data, businesses can tailor marketing efforts to individual customer preferences. For instance, a physical home goods store could send personalized coupons based on a customer’s past purchases. An online jewelry store can send email reminders about wishlist items or suggested products based on past browsing history.
- Better inventory management. Combining online and offline inventory data can lead to more efficient inventory management. A sports goods store could track product levels in-store and online to optimize restocking. An online-only electronics retailer can monitor warehouse inventory and adjust website information in real time.
- Competitive advantage. Businesses employing a well-executed omnichannel strategy can differentiate themselves from competitors. A physical toy store could stand out with in-store events, a vibrant social media presence, and a well-stocked website. An online travel booking site can gain an edge with a user-friendly site, engaging emails, and helpful app notifications.
How to run effective omnichannel marketing campaigns
Creating a successful omnichannel strategy requires significant planning and a profound understanding of your customers. Here are seven steps to make it happen, each illustrated with examples and accompanied by potential challenges and their solutions:
1. Develop customer journey maps
Understand each target segment’s journey from awareness to purchase and beyond. A furniture store can map a customer’s journey from seeing a TV ad or passing by the store to browsing items, purchasing, and post-sale services like delivery and assembly. An e-commerce site can chart the journey from encountering an online ad, browsing products, purchasing, and post-purchase interactions like email follow-ups or product reviews.
Challenges: Understanding every touchpoint and defining the start and end points can be challenging. To overcome this, use customer surveys, sales data, and customer service interactions to get a complete picture.
2. Identify additional interactions
Consider all touchpoints across different departments to ensure a consistent brand story. A restaurant could ensure its branding and messaging are consistent, from its logo to physical menus to customer service. An online tutoring platform must ensure its unique value proposition is consistently conveyed across all touchpoints, from marketing emails to the user interface.
Challenges: Unifying messaging across departments can be difficult. Regular communication, shared objectives, and guidelines can help maintain consistency.
3. Establish a unified message
Create a shared message to be conveyed across all channels. A clothing boutique should ensure its brand’s style and values are consistently represented in-store, in print advertisements, and in-person customer interactions. An online fitness platform should ensure its messaging about health, fitness, and well-being is consistently conveyed across its website, social media, and emails.
Challenges: Preventing content repetition while maintaining a unified message can be a balancing act. Use a varied content strategy tailored to each channel while maintaining your core message.
4. Leverage demographic data
Use customer data to ensure a seamless omnichannel experience. A grocery store could use customer demographic data to tailor in-store promotions to the local population’s needs and preferences. A streaming service can use demographic data to recommend personalized content to users based on age, location, and viewing history.
Challenges: Data privacy concerns and data accuracy can pose problems. Ensure you comply with data protection regulations and regularly update and verify your data sources.
5. Consolidate customer databases
Merge all customer databases into one CRM system. A car dealership could merge its sales, service, and marketing databases to provide a seamless customer experience. An online retailer could use a CRM to unify customer data from their website, email campaigns, and social media platforms.
Challenges: Data integration and management can be complex. Use a robust CRM system and data management practices to ensure seamless integration.
6. Tailor outreach with collected data
Personalize your communication based on customer data. A jewelry store could use purchase history to send customers personalized product recommendations and offers. An online news platform could send personalized news digests based on a user’s reading history.
Challenges: Achieving true personalization can be resource-intensive. Use automated personalization tools and segment your audience to make this process manageable.
7. Align call-to-action with customer preferences
Make sure the call-to-action matches the customer’s preferred device and platform. A gym could offer sign-up options in-person at the facility and via phone to cater to different preferences. An online book retailer could provide a direct link to the mobile site in a social media ad or an option to call and place an order in an email.
Challenges: Identifying the most effective CTAs for different platforms and devices can be tricky. Test different approaches, use analytics to measure success, and adjust based on the results.
Remember, an omnichannel strategy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one business may not work for another. It’s all about understanding your customers’ needs and preferences and tailoring the experience to meet them.
Examples of successful omnichannel marketing
Many companies have successfully executed effective omnichannel strategies, providing their customers with seamless and integrated experiences across multiple touchpoints. Let’s look at a few examples to see how they have effectively turned theory into practice, harmonizing their physical and digital customer interactions for an elevated user experience.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble expertly blends the traditional charm of brick-and-mortar bookshops with the convenience of digital shopping. By providing a unified experience across all channels – the Nook app, the mobile and desktop websites, and in-store – they cater to various customer preferences. Including an in-store cafe enhances the overall experience, making the brand a destination rather than just a shopping point.
Insights for offline businesses: Embrace the potential of digital transformation without compromising the unique aspects of your physical store that customers love. This could involve integrating an app or a website that reflects your in-store experience and finding ways to make your physical location more than just a place to shop, much like Barnes & Noble’s in-store cafes.
Insights for online businesses: Even as an online business, think about how you can provide a ‘physical’ experience. This could be through augmented reality features that allow users to visualize products in their space or by creating a sense of community through online book clubs.
Starbucks’ reward app is a prime example of a seamless omnichannel experience. With the ability to check balances, reload cards, and update profiles across multiple platforms – phone, website, in-store, or app – Starbucks provides continuity and flexibility in customer interaction, adding to customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Insights for offline businesses: Consider implementing a digital customer loyalty program that integrates with your in-store experience. This enhances customer engagement and provides valuable data that can help you understand your customers better and tailor your offerings to their preferences.
Insights for online businesses: Strive to deliver a seamless experience across all digital platforms. Changes made on one platform should instantly reflect on all others, creating a sense of continuity for your customers.
Amazon leads in omnichannel by offering an integrated shopping and support experience across different communication channels. Their website and app sync users’ carts when signed in, creating a seamless transition between devices and platforms.
Insights for offline businesses: Implement systems that allow customers to have an uninterrupted shopping experience across various touchpoints, similar to how Amazon syncs user carts. This could mean integrating online and offline inventories or enabling online orders for in-store pickups.
Insights for online businesses: Like Amazon, strive to provide a variety of support channels for your customers. Also, ensure all elements of the user experience, such as cart items or wishlists, are synced across all devices and platforms.
Disney provides a comprehensive omnichannel experience with their resorts’ vacation planning website, mobile app, and physical wristbands. Their MagicBand program links to everything – hotel rooms, food purchases, ride bookings – allowing for a streamlined vacation experience.
Insights for offline businesses: Create a unified system that links all aspects of your customer’s experiences with your business. Like Disney, you could explore wearable technology or create a mobile app that links to your customers’ in-store interactions.
Insights for online businesses: Strive to make the customer’s online experience as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. Provide them with all the information and tools they need to make the most out of their experience with your brand, similar to Disney’s vacation planning website.
IKEA offers a seamless transition between online and offline shopping experiences. Their online catalog, in-store displays, mobile app, and website provide consistent product information. Their augmented reality (AR) feature allows customers to visualize IKEA products in their homes.
Insights for offline businesses: Utilize technology to enhance your customers’ in-store experiences. IKEA’s AR feature bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds, providing a unique shopping experience.
Insights for online businesses: Ensure your product information is consistent across all platforms. Consider incorporating immersive technologies like AR to provide a unique and interactive shopping experience.
Bank of America
Bank of America offers a unified experience across its online and mobile banking platforms, ATMs, and physical branches. Changes made on one platform are instantly updated across all others, providing flexibility and convenience for their customers.
Insights for offline businesses: Integrate offline and online services to create a seamless customer experience. Like Bank of America, ensure that changes made on one platform are reflected on all others.
Insights for online businesses: Provide your customers a flexible and convenient online experience, allowing them to easily manage their accounts and transactions from any device or platform.
REI provides a consistent shopping experience across all its channels – physical stores, websites, and mobile apps. Customers can buy online, pick up in-store, check product availability, and even participate in in-store classes and events.
Insights for offline businesses: Consider implementing a ‘buy online, pick up in-store system, or host in-store events to create a more engaging experience for your customers, as REI does with their classes and events.
Insights for online businesses: Allow customers to check product availability before purchasing. Also, consider offering exclusive online benefits or promotions to further engage your customers.
Sephora integrates its Beauty Insider rewards program across all channels. Customers can track their points, receive personalized product recommendations, and access exclusive online and in-store deals. Their ‘Virtual Artist’ app feature also allows customers to try on products virtually.
Insights for offline businesses: Use your rewards program to enhance your omnichannel strategy. Like Sephora, you could offer personalized recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases or preferences.
Insights for online businesses: Incorporate interactive features into your app or website to make the online shopping experience more engaging. Consider using virtual reality or AI technology to allow customers to try on products virtually.
Oasis, a UK fashion retailer, offers sales associates tablets to provide on-the-spot, up-to-date product information and the ability to purchase right from the store floor. This blends the convenience of online shopping with the personal touch of offline shopping.
Insights for offline businesses: Equip your sales associates with technology that can provide real-time inventory and product information. This enhances the in-store experience by combining the immediacy of physical shopping with the information richness of online shopping.
Insights for online businesses: Consider ways to humanize the online shopping experience. This could mean offering live chat support or personalized style advice, mimicking the personalized service customers would get in-store.
Virgin Atlantic offers a consistent experience across its website, mobile app, in-flight entertainment systems, and airport kiosks. Their Flying Club rewards program is integrated across all these channels, allowing customers to track and redeem their miles easily.
Insights for offline businesses: If applicable, integrate your loyalty program across all customer touchpoints. Make it easy for customers to track and redeem their rewards, whether they’re interacting with your brand online or offline.
Insights for online businesses: Ensure your website and app provide a seamless user experience. Like Virgin Atlantic, consider ways to make your rewards program accessible and easy to use across all digital platforms.
The future of marketing lies in delivering a seamless, integrated customer experience, and this is precisely what omnichannel marketing achieves. Big brands such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Sephora have leveraged this strategy to enhance customer engagement, improve brand loyalty, and drive more significant revenue.
But the power of omnichannel marketing isn’t limited to large corporations. Businesses of all sizes, both online and offline, can learn from these successful strategies and adapt them to suit their unique needs and goals. Whether providing personalized recommendations, multi-platform accessibility, or merging online convenience with the tactile, immediate experience of in-store shopping, omnichannel marketing presents countless opportunities for businesses to reach and resonate with customers in today’s highly digitized world.
As we move forward, the focus on customer-centricity, data integration, and seamless interaction will only intensify, making adopting an omnichannel approach an advantage and a necessity for businesses aiming to succeed in this interconnected era.