Consumer behavior has quickly evolved along with the increasingly larger role of the digital space in the typical buying process. Buyers’ expectations are changing and so businesses are forced to reevaluate the ways in which they communicate with and nurture their customers.
Ecommerce email marketing is no longer what it used to be. In fact, it’s no longer just about email at all.
Today, there’s a greater expectation of brands being connected always, and in all ways. But more than being available on the channels they most prefer, consumers expect businesses to recognize them as individual shoppers with unique preferences and distinct buying journeys.
In return, they reward businesses not just by being loyal patrons but also avid endorsers. That’s the reason why forward-thinking entrepreneurs and enterprises have enthusiastically adopted the omnichannel marketing model.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is a means of conducting business where the focus is on providing consistent customer experiences across multiple channels. Through this strategy, businesses are better able to offer the delightful, personalized brand interactions that the modern consumer has come to expect.
According to BigCommerce, customers’ shopping habits spread across a variety of channels.
The digital space has made the customer journey more convoluted than ever.
It is common for shoppers to interact with a brand several times—both offline and online, directly and indirectly—before completing a purchase.
So which touchpoints should you focus on in order to drive sales?
According to omnichannel marketing, the answer is all of them.
Maintain a consistent presence on the channels that are most valuable to your audience. Then, enable your business to communicate the right message in a timely manner, and through the channel that is most relevant at that specific moment.
By running your company this way, you satisfy your audiences with identical experiences across your digital and physical touchpoints.
As a result, they feel a more personal connection to your business and will be more likely to do what they can to support your brand. That includes purchasing regularly and recommending you to their own networks.
Why Omnichannel is Critical to Ecommerce Success
Being truly omnichannel is not merely an advantage but is essential to successfully captivate today’s digital audiences.
Consumers now expect personalized, omnichannel interactions with the brands they support. In return, they reward businesses with incredible customer value. But how much more value do they provide to make all this effort worth it?
By analyzing data gathered from campaigns run on their platform, Omnisend found that campaigns using at least three channels enjoy three times higher purchase rates than those limited to a single channel.
Besides being more likely to complete a purchase, an omnichannel strategy encourages customers to spend more.
Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review revealed that every time they shop, customers who interact with brands on more channels spend 4% more in-store than those who only interact on a single channel.
Online, the difference in spending is even larger at 10%.
In addition, omnichannel customers are more likely to become lifelong patrons of a brand. Because of the level of personalization and customer care that this strategy enables, this isn’t surprising at all.
What’s surprising is that according to Invesp, single-channel businesses retain about 33% of their customers, while omnichannel businesses retain as much as 89%.
Given all this data, there’s no doubt that shifting to an omnichannel strategy is definitely worth the trouble.
Not only does it increase your average customer lifetime value (by up to 30%, according to IDC), but it also helps you develop solid customer relationships that will propel the success of your brand for years to come.
How to Implement an Omnichannel Strategy
Shifting to or launching an omnichannel business is an involved process, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all its intricacies. However, as with most things in business, it helps to first lay a strong foundation on which you will eventually build an equally solid omnichannel campaign.
Following these three steps will help you do just that:
1) Identify your buyer persona.
Your buyer persona is a collection of traits and behaviors that describe your target customer.
Ideally, this would be based on data collected from your actual customers. And, depending on the nature of your business, you might need to create more than one buyer persona to represent every segment of your audience.
By recognizing your audience’s unique demographics, behavioral traits, preferences, and interests, you’re better able to understand their buying patterns, motivations, and pain points.
Consequently, you’re empowered to polish your brand voice, develop relevant products, craft meaningful messages, and determine the best channels for your business.
2) Choose the right communication channels.
Your customers will be on numerous channels.
While the omnichannel philosophy maintains that you should be wherever your customers are, there’s a critical caveat: if you can’t use the channel well enough to provide an experience that’s consistent with what customers can get on other channels, perhaps you shouldn’t bother.
More important than the number of channels you have is how well you can integrate each one into your business.
Identify the most valuable channels for your audiences. For ecommerce, that’s typically email and SMS on top of your online store and maybe a physical retail location.
You can always add more channels later on when you’re better able to manage them.
3) Select your omnichannel marketing software.
Choosing the best omnichannel marketing software for your business is, in itself, an involved process. But it’s worth taking the time to evaluate your options because this decision will determine how easily you can develop and maintain your omnichannel strategy.
Among your most critical considerations are:
You’ve already determined the channels that are most critical to your audience.
Make sure those channels can be managed over the omnichannel software you choose. Otherwise, you’ll be left having to juggle between different tools, which may impede your capacity to provide consistent customer experiences.
For ecommerce, email marketing is still considered a staple channel, so all omnichannel tools will have this as a feature.
What you really need to check on are the additional channels like SMS, web push, Google Customer Match, Facebook Custom Audiences, and whatever else you’d like to use to reach out to your customers.
Segmentation & Targeting Capabilities
Personalization is the essence of omnichannel marketing. To do that properly, you need a tool that goes further than simply gathering data and compiling reports. It should also allow you to use the data in meaningful ways.
For example, segmenting customers who have the highest order count can be a great way to find your customers who spend the most on average. With these customers in particular, you’d want to nurture them and make sure they get the VIP treatment.
For an omnichannel campaign to succeed, your software should have advanced segmentation and targeting capabilities.
It should enable you to group audiences based on various details like their profile and transactional history. Only then will you be able to target your customers and reach out with highly relevant messages that move them along their customer journey.
Marketing Automation Features
Part of message personalization is timing, and the best way to get the timing right is to automate your messages.
Find omnichannel software that has powerful marketing automation features that enable you to set up triggers for messages and allow them to send automatically.
Marketing automation workflows basically enable you to generate sales on autopilot. Software is instructed to “react” to certain user actions by sending pre-crafted messages.
So, for example, you don’t have to send welcome messages manually. All new subscribers will immediately receive a relevant, personalized welcome message without any intervention from you.
Some marketing automation software even allows you to use split automation or an automation workflow that segments your customers into customized “paths” as they move through your workflow.
It might also be useful to choose a marketing automation software that can include several channels in their automation workflows. This way, you have far less to configure between channels. Instead, with one workflow, you can create an omnichannel experience by using these same conditional splits.
When you have access to software that has all these critical omnichannel marketing elements covered, you can rest easy knowing that you’re fully capable of leading your business to a whole new level of ecommerce success.
Recap: 3 Steps for Omnichannel Marketing Implementation
No matter the scale of your business, implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy may seem formidable.
Avoid the pressure of diving right in, hoping that you’ll enjoy the benefits right away. It helps to take a step back and get some perspective to make sure you get it right the first time.
All it takes is three admittedly challenging yet critical steps:
- Identify your buyer persona. Develop a clear picture of who your customers are so that you can plan out how to anticipate and fulfill their needs.
- Choose the right communication channels. More isn’t necessarily better. Focus on the ones that will provide the most value so as not to risk giving mediocre experiences.
- Select your omnichannel marketing software. Choose an omnichannel marketing tool that will allow you to manage your entire digital marketing strategy on one platform.
Adopting an omnichannel strategy allows you to reach masses of audiences but still offer personalized experiences that inevitably nurture a healthy affinity for your brand.
A complete overhaul not just of your ecommerce email marketing strategy but of your entire business operations is undeniably daunting. Nevertheless, the pay-off will be worth the effort.
Although it might seem like just another buzzword, omnichannel isn’t just a marketing trend.
It is a response to the evolution of consumer behavior. And, in most cases, it is the only way to thrive in today’s chaotic digital commerce landscape.
Thankfully, this change is accompanied by increasingly smarter and more powerful tools to help businesses like yours succeed. Don't sleep on it — the best time to start is now.