Consumers don’t shop channels, they shop brands. Someone’s product discovery journey is now very likely to be omnichannel, crossing digital and in-store touchpoints.
Don’t plan channels. Plan omnichannel.
Campaign effectiveness increasingly relies on amplifying conversation or story-telling by doing it appropriately in a number of different places.
Traditional campaign planning places a lot of importance on ‘integration’ between channels but that’s already two steps behind reality.
In retail and marketing ‘multichannel’ has become a buzzword, meaning that customers should be able to buy in a selection of different channels. The truth is that consumers have already moved beyond this into ‘omnichannel’ behaviour. This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“Omnichannel Retailing is the evolution of multichannel retailing, but is concentrated on a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels. Instead of perceiving a variety of touchhpoints as part of the same brand, omnichannel retailers let consumers experience the brand, not individual channels within the brand. With omnichannel retailing, [conversion] is made more efficient with offers that are relative to a specific consumer through data mining techniques.” [source: Wikipedia]
The omnichannel consumer is here. It’s you and me.
Never mind what Wikipedia says – think about your own experience. It’s now mainstream to do product discovery and purchase in a range of places: in-store, online, in social media, on TV and from other traditional media. You want to find the best prices, inspiration and instant availability. You want the brand you interact with in one channel, to be the same brand in any other and to see the same products at the same prices. If you deal with a sales agent you want them to have access to your account details and purchase history regardless of which channel you made the purchase in.
Create useful services not campaigns
Rather than thinking about how you can shout loudest, think about how you can be most useful. Digital is the connective tissue that runs throughout the omnichannel experience. Digital lends itself much better to utility than advertising. Offer people something of value in exchange for their attention. In doing so you’ll not only build brand equity but equally you’ll find out who your customers are and what they actually want.
Gap found that “eighty percent of [their] customers actually want to go try on a product in a store.” The company is making every effort to be technologically innovative and personalise store services based on their consumer feedback. As a result they’ve piloted a “Reserve” program, which allows shoppers to select items online and get them held in stores for purchase and pickup – without first making the final decision. [source: WWD via PSFK]
Shorten the path to purchase
Once you’ve created the interest, shorten the path to purchase by integrating with your retail partners. Offer the seamless omnichannel fulfilment that is now perceived as an expectation rather than a benefit. Services like click & collect and prime delivery not only increase conversion by making customers lives easier, they also allow you to see what works and what doesn’t through real-time analytics.
We hope this series has provided some useful brain-food for you.
In case you missed them:
Joylab creates digital products and services for brands. We specialise in:
- Ideation workshops
- Collaboration with in-house teams
- Omnichannel strategy: online, mobile, in-store
- Rapid prototyping and live user-testing