Omnichannel marketing is a consumer-centric strategy. It involves promoting a brand across multiple marketing channels simultaneously. It combines on- and offline activities to provide a consistent experience for the consumer. Today, it is perceived as the most effective model for brand promotion.
This approach overlooks the traditional division between online and offline customers. Instead, it focuses on combining all points of contact into one cohesive consumer journey, which it captures holistically. A unified brand message accompanies the customer through all stages of the sales funnel – from building brand awareness, to considering a purchase, to deciding to buy a particular product.
Multichannel marketing thus helps create a positive and consistent customer experience:
The goal of all these activities is to build a deep and long-lasting customer relationship with the brand.
Omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing
Although omnichannel and multichannel marketing are concepts based on the same idea of engaging consumers across multiple platforms, they cannot be 100% equated. Multichannel pays attention to a specific channel and how a transaction will be completed in that channel. Omnichannel, on the other hand, assumes that the customer journey can span multiple channels. In doing so, it focuses on creating the best possible customer experience (customer experience). Each customer interaction is treated as a touch point on the path to conversion.
Multichannel marketing directs consistent messages at the level of each contact channel. The goal of an omnichannel strategy is to build a positive relationship with the brand through the use of multiple channels of communication and a variety of messages.
A multichannel strategy is therefore much simpler in concept. It is essentially limited to the distribution of marketing content across channels. Omnichannel seeks to create a consistent customer experience when interacting with a brand. It focuses on how the consumer uses touchpoints, rather than directing him or her to one marketing communication channel. Omnichannel activities include the retailer’s outlet, mobile and online channels, as well as direct customer care contact.
Consumers today are constantly moving between devices and online and offline platforms. The boundaries between the two have become fluid, and the paths users take are based on their previous experiences. The omnichannel approach enables a truly consumer-centric approach, in which the end-to-end customer journey is paramount. Applying it to a company will yield the best results, although its implementation itself is by no means simple and requires considerable commitment. However, if done correctly, it will enhance a number of benefits.
Benefits of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy
One of the biggest benefits is the tremendous improvement in customer experience, as the company then focuses on the individual user experience across all devices, rather than on a specific communication channel. By focusing on customers, customer acquisition, engagement and retention rates can be significantly improved.
One of the goals of multichannel marketing is to build a consistent brand strategy across all communication channels. This translates into creating a consistent, recognizable brand image. This image should be based on meeting customer needs at every point in the sales process. Increased, differentiated engagement at each stage of the customer journey helps drive revenue. More targeted, personalized messages also build loyalty, increasing the likelihood that the customer will purchase again.
The omnichannel approach should not be limited to building the user experience with the brand. Proper data analysis is also an important part of this strategy. It allows you to better understand the customer’s behavior at every stage of the conversion and at every touchpoint. As a result, we gain the ability to tailor marketing efforts to specific customer needs.
Data attribution, which is the attribution of a particular channel’s or touchpoint’s contribution to the occurrence of a conversion, is also a very important part of analyzing omnichannel campaigns. Analytics can be used to create more personalized ad campaigns. An equally important component of omnichannel strategy is to continually test the established approach, learn lessons and modify the strategy toward developing the most positive customer experience with the brand.
Omnichannel strategy in multiple markets
The pandemic has strongly influenced the accelerated development of omnichannel strategies around the world. However, differences in the specifics of operations in a given market are still evident. According to a report by Forrester Research, in 2017 32% of total retail sales in the EU were generated by digital channels, particularly mobile. This percentage is expected to rise to 37% by the end of 2022. Moreover, it is no surprise that social media dominates from an audience volume perspective. More than 80% of European users use Facebook, while an increasing share of Tik Tok is apparent, although this one shows higher audience acquisition in Spain and France than in Germany, for example.
A challenge for the development of omnichannel strategies is the approach to privacy, not only in the context of European Union legislation. Based on our realizations, we have observed significant differences between countries such as Germany or France and, for example, Poland. Well, the propensity of German and French users to accept privacy policies is much lower than that of Polish users. This is mainly due to high awareness of data protection, but also reluctance to provide such information. This poses a challenge in the context of advanced technologies for building behavioral profiles and targeting based on programmatic activities.
At the center of the omnichannel strategy, however, is the consumer, who is guided through all possible points of contact. These are determined by technological and social trends, as well as legislation or the level of consumer awareness in a particular country or target group. At each of these points, a consistent brand message should await the consumer, based on data obtained from all existing and monitorable channels and touch points. A proper understanding of user behavior and the conditions of a given market will allow the apt selection of tools for an omnichannel approach.