Omni channel marketing is what is referred to as a marketing buzzword/phrase. It boils down to creating a seamless and integrated end user experience across multiple channels and devices. And there are a lot of those channels and devices today! Let’s take a look at how omni channel marketing has come to be a key in business marketing success for franchises and small businesses and how it can help boost sales.
A Marketing Best Practice
As a marketer, you should know who your customers are, where your customers are coming from, what they use to research and make purchase decisions. It is a lot to know. But what we know for certain is that sales come from multiple angles, whether in person, online, through the mail (yup – still happens) or even over the phone. So how can you keep track of what works best for your business?
Interactions with brands should be seamless no matter the way the customer reaches out. It is challenging to keep the experiences integrated and consistent. As a marketing team, it is our job to integrate all of a business’s marketing efforts into one cohesive plan that ultimately brings the most success. According to Routee.com, “research shows that omni channel marketing campaigns earn 18.96% more engagement, a 250% higher conversion rate, and a 90% higher retention rate.” Those numbers are staggering. So how does a business reach those statistics?
Get to Know Your Customers
The steps buyers take to make a purchase are no longer defined by a single series of steps. There are way too many options for people to research and then buy. Someone could literally be standing in a store, in front of the product, researching and reading reviews at the same time. When there is a bump in the road, the buying process path may veer off course which ultimately could cause frustration for the potential customer and you – the business. Customers want convenient ways to make purchases, no matter the way they are buying.
Do you know the path your customers take to make purchases? Do you know where potential sales drop off in the buying process? These are great starting questions to find out what is and is not working for sales. If items are being put into carts online, but no one is checking out, there’s an issue and there needs to be a fix.
Test Your Channels and Audience
Find every single way customers can make a purchase for your business and constantly test them internally AND externally. Every piece of information should be aligned no matter the device (tablet, smartphone, desktop computer), and the buying process should be very integrated (can move from the app to the website seamlessly).
Is your design consistent across all channels? Does your social media branding match with your website? There is nothing worse than trying to find a business on social media and not being able to find them because their profile picture doesn’t match their logo branding. People will ultimately think it A) isn’t your business or B) it is a fake/knock off and won’t follow it. No one wants that!
Measure experiences and success in whatever way you consider an experience and success. Is it getting people to participate in a game that involves making a purchase on your app? Is it getting 25% of your emails opened? Is it getting 1,000 people in the door every day? Whatever your goal is for an experience or sale, set that goal and measure it. Once you set something like this up, you can then track what entices potential customers to become actual customers.
Omni Channel Marketing Goals for Franchises and Small Business
So now that we know what omni channel marketing is, the big question is how can franchises and small businesses take advantage of this with either limited budget, limited staff, or constraints on marketing efforts (more for the franchises).
Collaborating with all departments will help with developing the best omni channel marketing efforts. Talk to the sales teams, talk to the customer service representatives, talk to the advertising folks, talk to the cashiers, anyone who interacts with your customers. Get their take on what works best. Allow them to be a part of the testing of the channels. They will know the paths customers take to make a purchase. It doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a franchise – you each have ways of connecting with the way your customers are making purchases. Use it to your advantage.
Don’t be afraid to adopt new ways of doing business. As a franchise, think outside of the box for your own location’s marketing efforts. Constraints from the higher ups of your business may not pay for these efforts but that is when you need to take marketing into your own hands (if allowed, obviously). Technology can be scary at first, especially for small businesses. And we often get asked how franchises can piggyback off of the “head honcho” for their business. There are several technologies that can be used but finding which one works best for your business may take some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to give technology a try and don’t be upset if one channel doesn’t work. There’s always others to try!
Something that franchises and small businesses have in common is location, location, location. Segment your marketing efforts to reach certain radiuses of your target location. A franchise doesn’t want their customers from town A heading off to make a purchase at another location in town B. And same with small businesses. They don’t want someone deciding to make a purchase a Shop B because they are a big box business. Segmenting your marketing efforts goes hand-in-hand with omni channel marketing. Don’t go too big or else your efforts may be lost to somewhere else.
Omni Channel Marketing is a Necessity
Here is the perfect example of what omni channel marketing is:
Recently, I added a pair of soccer spikes to my shopping cart, using my mobile phone while parked in the car waiting for my daughter to finish piano lesson. I didn’t finish the checkout process because I needed to ask for my daughter’s opinion. She got in the car after her lesson, and we drove home, forgetting about the spikes in my cart. Later that evening, I viewed the same soccer shoes on my laptop at home, but didn’t purchase them because my daughter was asleep. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, I got an email from the business with the subject line “These shoes are slipping away fast.” The email read about me potentially missing out on making the purchase and there were only so many left in stock of the size that I needed. Guess who finally asked her daughter if she liked them and made the purchase? It took 3 different channels, over 3 days or so, but I did end up making the purchase.
The point is, we know that capturing the attention of consumers is harder than ever. From websites, to apps, to direct mailers and emails, who knows where the attention of consumers will go next. But that is our job as marketers to figure out. It is our job to help businesses like yours adopt good marketing practices so you can eventually get that sale, even if it is 3 days after the consumer’s initial inquiry.