Omnichannel marketing has become a hot topic for retailers and marketers in the past few years. Marketing strategies that span across channels have been shown to benefit small- to medium-sized enterprises and improve consumers' shopping experiences.
If you're making a push to change your marketing strategy, or want to prove that the omnichannel efforts you've already put in place have been beneficial to your company, you may consider conducting some internal research and analysis. These data-driven experiments can help you determine the true value of an omnichannel technique.
A fundamental premise of omnichannel strategies is that a retailer's online and offline realms should be merged, not segregated. But maximizing value is complicated—various factors influence how the virtual and brick-and-mortar worlds should come together. Giving coupons to customers is a good way to test out different hypotheses in order to better understand how online and offline efforts complement one another.
To help establish how to best intertwine the in-person and digital shopping experiences, a research team worked with an unnamed Chinese department store to distribute coupons in a clever way. They selected customers who shopped solely online and customers who shopped solely at the physical location. Coupons were sent out to the various consumer segments with discounts applicable only online, only offline, or both. The researchers then calculated the effects of these various incentives on their different customer bases.
They found that the most profitable tactic was to focus on convincing online-only shoppers to come into their stores, via coupons or other offers such as free “shipping” for items picked up at store locations. Once inside, these customers were more likely to buy additional products.
The key takeaway, however, was that even if a large customer base usually makes purchases online, they can still be encouraged to engage in an omnichannel environment. Retailers should find strategic means to engage shoppers across different channels—for example, coupons could be emailed to shoppers who provide their contact information to access endless aisle kiosks in-store. By connecting the online and offline realms, retailers can find more ways to engage customers, thus cementing the value of each of their individual channels.
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of results often come from 20% of the effort. It may seem obvious, but when testing the value of your omnichannel efforts, try to determine which customer base is providing your company with the most business.
For instance, a recent study has shown than omnichannel customers make more purchases and are more loyal to brands. An unnamed major U.S. retailer teamed up with researchers to determine if omnichannel strategies are actually beneficial. They studied 46,000 shoppers, questioning them about every point of their shopping behavior. It turns out the omnichannel customers—those who used multiple channels in their shopping journeys—constituted 73% of the study participants. They were also the ones who spent the most money on every shopping occasion, both in-store and online. These customers, compared to single-channel participants, also made 23% more repeat shopping trips to stores and were more likely to recommend the brand to others.
How can retailers learn from this? After discovering who their omnichannel customers are—by soliciting email addresses or using POS analytics—companies can to cater to them specifically. They can test the results by implementing new omnichannel tactics at just one of their locations and measuring whether there are any notable revenue increases.
In order to remain competitive, retailers need to ensure that their marketing strategies are bringing in the desired results. Consider testing the true value of your marketing techniques in order to prove that your omnichannel efforts are engaging customers across multiple channels and improving their overall experience with your brand.
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