Not too long ago, companies were limited to just one or two ways through which they could reach their customers. Today, they’re spoilt for choice, and the problem is not getting in front of more eyeballs, but doing so in a consistent and seamless way.
Whether its business cards, webinars, storefronts, social media accounts, or websites, we’re told that the more touch points between us and our audience, the better. It makes sense: the greater surface area a business has, the easier it is for people to come across and engage with it.
Interacting with customers through a number of different channels, both directly and indirectly, is what’s known as multi-channel marketing.
However, with so many modes and mediums to make use of, the multi-channel approach has meant that many businesses have ended up with a disjointed and inconsistent brand across their various touchpoints and interfaces. A business can have equally incredible mobile, voice, and social media marketing strategies, but if they don’t work together, then the customer lacks a certain level of integrity and sense of trust in their experience.
And we all know how important trust is in today’s landscape, especially if your business is digital products and services or you do most of your marketing online.
Omni-channel marketing is when we take the multi-channel approach and offer an integrated shopping experience to each customer, no matter what the channel or device.
In 2019, even if you only have a brick-and-mortar store and a website, omni-channel marketing is a must. So now you know why you need it, let’s look at how a few companies are putting it in practice to create a cohesive and successful customer experience.
Compliment the physical with the digital
Walk into one of the major high street stores today and you’ll likely see at least one of the sales team armed with a tablet. Such a combo is a great example of omni-channel marketing and means that customers can interact with a real person while at the same time getting the benefits of Google and the store’s entire up-to-the-minute database.
In Oasis stores, the UK fashion retailer, sales associates use iPads to check things that would usually require them to run off and find the manager or disappear in the back for ages to find out. Cleverly, the iPads also acts as cash registers, allowing customers to skip queues and be rung up from anywhere in the store.
Nearly half of customers have used their phone while shopping in a physical store. So rather than pretend it doesn’t happen, businesses will do much better to make it a part of their users’ experience. Doing this can allow you to retain an edge over online-only companies, for example, like Oasis, by offering instant delivery to your home when an item is out of stock.
Give them something to come back for
By expanding your product or service well beyond the point of purchase, you essentially give yourself the key to your customers’ front door.
A clear example of this is the e-receipt. By offering a tax-convenient and eco-friendly proof of purchase in their inbox, you open up the opportunity to regularly gather customer data, offer follow up purchases, and keep them in the loop no matter where they are.
Where this works particularly well is with reward schemes. The Starbucks reward app is one of the best omni-channel experiences because unlike many others, it actually makes the service quicker and easier than without it. Customers get one free when they make a purchase, and from then on they can top it up with cash, even when standing the queue, and it will be ready to use right there and then.
Add value to overall product experience
You know you’ve mastered omni-channel marketing when a new addition to your strategy adds tonnes of value to an already world-leading product.
This is exactly what Disney has done for a while now by expanding its entertainment destination to our homes and pockets with its My Disney Experience app. Using the app, customers can plan their entire trip, right down to where they’ll grab lunch and the amount of time they’ll have to spend waiting in line.
More recently, though, Disney has taken its omni-channel experience a step further with its Magic Band. The Magic Band is a smart tool that wraps around your wrist and gives you access to everything from your hotel room to special prizes throughout the site. It also doubles as a payment device for food and merchandise, as well as a photo storage device for any pictures you’ve had taken with Disney characters during your trip.
Disney knows what it’s doing. Such tools offer a more seamless and enjoyable experience for its customers, while also allowing it to gather valuable data that’s being made by you. From how much you spend on merchandise and fast food to your exact pattern of movement throughout the park, Disney is using customer data in every way imaginable to make the most effective, engaging, and profitable entertainment resort in the world even better.