If you keep hearing about the wonders of omnichannel marketing but fear that as a small retailer, it's not for you... think again. When you want to create the simplest, most seamless experience for your buyers, you can take a nod from omnichannel marketing and apply the tools and strategies to maximize your customer’s interaction.
A seamless omnichannel experience means that whether online or offline, your customer sees the same branding, structure, values, and tone. There are 5 tools and strategies that you can implement to provide ease and simplicity for your customers.
1. Put Customer Relationships First
No matter how advanced technology becomes, it will never replace the importance of the customer relationship. Technology is merely a tool designed to make that relationship easier to forge and maintain. As a small retailer, you've probably already experienced the power of a strong relationship that involves loyalty, mutual respect, and a desire for both parties to come away happy. These customers become your sales force, touting the benefits of your company to individuals they come in contact with.
You've likely also seen what happens if there is a bad relationship or no relationship at all. An unsatisfied customer will spread the news of their poor experience to their entire network. A customer who has not been personally engaged may not become a customer in the first place, or may never return.
No matter what fancy buzzwords emerge, or what new technology pops up, customer relationships will always be at the heart of business.
2. Understand Your Target Customers and Buyer’s Journey
Every customer is an individual, and while the end goal of making a purchase may be the same, the steps they take to get there will be different. Because of this, it's important to get to know your "ideal customer" and understand the shopping journey that they go through as they research, decide, and buy.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does she worry about or aspire to?
- What does she see in her environment and the market?
- What do her influencers say to her?
- What is her appearance? How does she behave?
- What are her fears and frustrations?
- What does she want?
When you answer these questions, you develop a buyer persona that allows you to speak directly to your ideal client and tailor your marketing to reach and resonate with your customer.
3. Understand the Mentality Behind Online and Offline Shopping
Whether your customer chooses to do their shopping online or in a store, they are looking for 5 things:
- Inviting Atmosphere
The difference comes from the individual. How do they prioritize these categories? What does "convenient" or "inviting" mean to them? This will depend on their lifestyle, their comfort level with technology, their desire for human interaction, and more. Developing your buyer persona will help you understand what they want and how they want it presented.
4. Find the Right Tool to Manage Customer Relationships
As a small retailer, you have the opportunity to create that personal connection with every customer that walks through your doors or website. A CRM or Customer Relationship Management system helps you strengthen that relationship by allowing you to collect and access data. Imagine knowing, at the touch of a button, what a customer has purchased in the past, when, how, any issues or feedback they had, and what they are looking for in future purchases. A CRM provides a way to store and analyze that data to improve your customer's experience and your sales.
5. Be Consistent in Your Approach
As with any aspect of life, consistency is key. When you are consistent, customers know what to expect and are happy to return for the quality of care they have grown to expect and the products they have grown to love. Developing a strong brand and communicating it to your employees and your customers will go a long way in creating this trust and loyalty.
From an omnichannel standpoint, you should maintain your branding in all of your online marketing materials from your website to social media, and beyond, as well as in your offline endeavors. This includes your retail location, any off-site events you may do, all printed marketing materials, and more.
Feedback from retail shoppers has been undeniable. According to research by Zendesk, 87% of customers believe that brands need to put more effort into providing a more seamless and consistent experience across all channels.
You don't have to be a big retailer to learn the lessons of omnichannel marketing and deliver a seamless customer experience. If you learn what your customer wants and how they make their buying decisions, use the right tools to interact with your customers, and develop a brand based on nurturing customer relationships and maintaining consistency, you will ensure that your customers have a positive experience, and come back for more.
By ShaDrena Simon, Digital Strategist and Inbound Expert at Yokel Local. Yokel local is an inbound marketing agency that helps business owners turn their website visitors into sales to grow their businesses online.
Want to know how to foster customer relationships from discovery to purchase? Follow ShaDrena via Yokel Local on Facebook.