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The ultimate guide to omnichannel marketing for businesses

The ultimate guide to omnichannel marketing for businesses

Customers are no longer shopping on a single channel. In fact, channel hopping is becoming a popular consumer shopping behavior worldwide. They use multiple channels to interact with brands, including social media, email, mobile apps, physical stores, and more. This makes it important for businesses to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy to meet the changing expectations of their customers, providing a seamless and personalized experience to customers, increasing customer loyalty, and driving more sales. 

Not sure how? Read on and explore the concept of omnichannel marketing and find out how your business can implement an effective omnichannel marketing strategy.

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is a marketing approach that focuses on creating a seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels. This includes online and offline channels such as social media including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram, email, mobile apps, physical stores, and more. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to create a unified brand experience for customers, regardless of the channel they use to interact with the brand.

What are the components of omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel retailing in chat inbox

The components of omnichannel marketing include:

  • a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and preferences

  • a consistent brand message and experience across all channels

  • the integration of technology to provide a personalized and convenient experience

  • a collaborative approach across all departments within a business

  • real-time data analysis to measure and optimize the effectiveness of the marketing strategy. 

Here are some essential channels to consider for your omnichannel retail strategy:

  1. Social selling: to sell products, goods, or services across all channels of social media, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, and more

  2. E-commerce stores: to sell products and services online, allowing customers to purchase items through your website from anywhere, at any time

  3. Digital marketplaces: to make your products available on popular online platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Alibaba, so that it’s convenient for customers to browse and purchase from multiple businesses in one place

  4. Mobile applications: to develop mobile applications and provide customers with a personalized and convenient experience, including mobile ordering and payments, loyalty programs, and more

Omnichannel marketing vs. multi-channel marketing

Omnichannel marketing and multi-channel marketing are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there are important differences between these two approaches.

Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that focuses on creating a seamless and consistent experience for customers across all channels. This approach requires a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and preferences, the use of technology to integrate multiple channels and technologies, and a collaborative approach across all departments within a business.

Multi-channel marketing, on the other hand, refers to the use of multiple channels to reach customers. This approach may include online and offline channels such as social media, email, mobile apps, physical stores, and more. However, these channels may not be integrated, and there may not be a consistent brand experience across all channels.

Here is a table that highlights the differences between omnichannel marketing and multi-channel marketing:

Omnichannel retail

Multichannel retail

Customer-centric approach

Seller-centric approach

To offer a seamless shopping experience

To sell more on various channels

Integrated and centralised management

Channels managed separately

Shared inventory strategy

Scattered inventory allocation

A centralised system that lowers the costs for serving each customer

Higher operating costs for market expansions

Why is omnichannel marketing important for businesses?

Businesses need to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy to meet the changing expectations of their customers. Since customers now use multiple channels to interact with brands, and they expect a consistent experience across all channels, businesses that incorporate an omnichannel marketing strategy will stand out from their competitors by, offering a more personalized experience to customers, thus increasing customer loyalty, and driving more sales.

Benefits of omnichannel marketing for businesses

Some of the benefits of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy for businesses include:

1. Increased customer engagement

Auto replies increase organic engagement

Omnichannel marketing enables businesses to engage with customers across multiple channels, providing a more personalized and seamless experience. This increases customer engagement and encourages them to make a purchase. For example, if a customer who sent your business a message on Instagram sees your Facebook Ad, they are more likely to react or comment on your post, provided that your ads use attractive visuals, engaging content, and consistent branding techniques.

Learn how to get your customers to engage with your Facebook Ads using click to WhatsApp ads.

2. Improved customer loyalty

whatsapp chatbot integration for strong customer loyalty

Providing a consistent and seamless personalized experience across all channels helps build customer loyalty

Imagine yourself as the customer, to whom you send a WhatsApp message to order and pick up a cup of coffee before heading to work. The coffee shop provides a few suggestions with their chatbot based on your previous post engagement on Instagram. You click on the button that says “Caramel Macchiato” on WhatsApp, pay instantly using the link provided, and pick up the aromatic cup of coffee to kickstart your day. Don’t you think the wonderful experience is going to get you to keep going back for more?

Undoubtedly, a great omnichannel marketing strategy will bring you loyal customers, and it is beneficial because:

  • Happy customers bring positive word-of-mouth marketing

  • Customers are more likely to return for repeat purchases

  • Customers tend to spend more buying your products or services

Also, customer retention is much less costly as compared to customer acquisition. This means that it will eventually increase sales for your physical stores and improve your online conversion rate.

Existing customers are 50% more likely to make a purchase of a new product and 31% more likely to increase their spending.

3. Increased sales

SleekFlow payment links sales dashboard

80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides a personalized and convenient experience. By using smart tools such as automation, social CRM segmentation, and in-chat payment links, businesses will be able to provide a seamless experience across all channels. The frictionless shopping experience will then help drive more sales and encourage impulse purchases.

4. Better customer insights

Analytics example from SleekFlow omnichannel platform for WhatsApp marketing

Omnichannel marketing allows businesses to gather data from multiple channels, consolidating them into a more comprehensive view of customer behavior. These analytics and data are powerful as they help businesses make more informed decisions and create more effective marketing strategies.

How to implement an effective omnichannel marketing strategy

Implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on creating a seamless and consistent experience across all channels. Here are some steps businesses can take to implement an omnichannel marketing strategy:

Step 1: Understand your customers

Le Dessert customers

To create a personalized and seamless experience, businesses need to understand their customer's behavior and preferences. Other than conducting customer research through surveys, you can use the data collected across various channels to your advantage. Installing a live chat on your e-commerce website also helps as you will be able to track the visitors’ browsing behavior and allow them to make inquiries about your products.

Step 2: Define your brand story

Building brand strategy for e-commerce

Defining your brand story is crucial for creating a consistent experience across all channels. Your brand story should reflect your business values, personality, and unique selling proposition. Social media channels are great platforms for you to showcase your brand story. Put time into planning content and managing your social media profile to attract customers and followers. Then, set up automation to attend to users who engage with your social media content and drop messages for your brand. Create a social CRM strategy and develop effective retargeting campaigns from there.

Related reading:

Step 3: Create a seamless customer journey

Create a seamless customer journey by mapping out the customer's journey across all channels. This helps identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Step 4: Leverage technology and smart tools

Omnichannel integration tools on SleekFlow

Leverage technology to provide a seamless and personalized experience. This can include using an omnichannel marketing platform, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, omnichannel marketing automation tools, and personalization software.

Get all of the features above from SleekFlow’s omnichannel solution!

Step 5: Measure and optimize your omnichannel marketing campaigns

Measure the effectiveness of your omnichannel marketing strategy and optimize it based on customer feedback and performance analyses.

Challenges of omnichannel marketing for businesses

While implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy can be beneficial, there are also some challenges businesses may face. Some of these challenges include:

  • Complexity in integrating multiple channels and technologies

  • Data silos across multiple channels and technologies, making it difficult to get a comprehensive view of the customer

  • Resource constraints, including technology, staff, and budget

  • Resistance to change among employees and stakeholders, especially if the existing multi-channel approach has been running for a long time

While the challenges of omnichannel marketing can be tedious to manage, there are always solutions to these issues. For example, you can conduct an in-depth assessment to find out what your business needs the most when it comes to omnichannel marketing. You can incorporate omnichannel marketing solutions to save costs and allocate manpower better. Many omnichannel marketing solution providers also offer free onboarding training for your team. Once you observe the improvement in sales with omnichannel marketing, the effort will be worth it.

Successful campaigns: omnichannel marketing examples

Omnichannel marketing examples from big brands are a great source of reference. Here are some with incredible results:

Sephora creates a compelling customer experience with an omnichannel marketing strategy

Sephora Marketing CRM across channels

Sephora, a beauty retailer, has utilized an outstanding omnichannel marketing strategy. Especially during the pandemic back in March 2020, in-store purchases were not an available option. That was when they created the VR (virtual reality) product demonstration and appointment-based online consultations. Even after the endemic, Sephora has continued perfecting the hybrid shopping experience. 

At Sephora, customers can talk to beauty advisors in the store and get an email log to style their look based on the info they received from the professionals. Other than emails and phone calls, their customer support team has also incorporated the chat function according to current social commerce trends, personalizing one-on-one experiences for the customers. In addition, they use a mobile app to provide customers with tailored recommendations based on their past purchases and preferences. This seamless integration of the online and offline experience has helped Sephora survive the pandemic challenge while increasing customer engagement and loyalty.

Starbucks earns customer loyalty with an integrated omnichannel experience

Starbucks loyalty program

Image from Starbucks

Starbucks, a multinational coffee chain, also succeeded with the implementation of an effective omnichannel marketing strategy. They started by identifying the channel most preferred by their customers, then won customers’ hearts with personalized recommendations. They boosted customer retention by fostering strong digital relationships and customer loyalty with reward points. They also distributed discount codes through email and SMS, where customers are then led to the store for engaging retail experiences.

WhatsApp Broadcast messages have an open rate of as high as 98%.

Not enough budget for SMS marketing? Try broadcasting messages from the WhatsApp Business API instead.

Nike Inc. impresses customers with a seamless omnichannel retail strategy

Nike

Nike Inc., a sports apparel company, has also incorporated an omnichannel marketing strategy to captivate their members. Other than on the mobile app, e-commerce site, and email, Nike has successfully led customers to the flagship stores with express checkout, special store hours for members, or free gifts with purchases on “Member Days”. With NikePlus, a program launched in partnership with Apple, Nike offered a premium, personalized shopping experience on the app. They have an in-app onboarding process to understand the customers’ preferences and data syncing to allow customers to track their fitness goals. Integrated with its online brand presence across social, Nike has no trouble in increasing sales across their retail outlets and accelerating customer engagement for their e-commerce stores.

Omnichannel marketing strategy from Nike+

Image from Capgemini: “Nike: From Separate Digital Initiatives to Firm-Level Transformation

Use SleekFlow to create the best omnichannel marketing strategy for your business

Creating an effective omnichannel marketing strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and preferences, the integration of multiple channels and technologies, and a collaborative approach across all departments within a business. A powerful tool that can help businesses achieve these goals is SleekFlow’s retail O2O solution.

SleekFlow is a powerful omnichannel marketing platform that provides businesses with the tools they need to create a seamless and consistent customer experience across all channels. Here are some of the features on SleekFlow that can help businesses create the best omnichannel marketing strategy:

  1. Centralized CRM system for a comprehensive view of customer data

  2. Automated, personalized broadcast messages to send information to the right customers at the right time on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger

  3. In-chat payment links for a frictionless checkout

  4. Free Facebook Lead Ad integration to capture leads directly from Facebook ads and add customer contacts to the CRM system automatically

  5. Detailed analytics to track campaign metrics and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, to measure engagement and conversion rates, and optimize the marketing strategy accordingly

Get started with the best omnichannel marketing strategy tailored for your business today.

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