Multi-channel retail strategies allow brands to own and influence the consumer journey at every step along the path to purchase – whether that’s pre-store visit, at the store, post purchase and through digital and/or physical touchpoints. Customers are craving more seamless shopping experiences, with omnichannel customers spending 15-30% more than single-channel customers (Mulesoft).
As we move into what is traditionally the busiest retail period, it becomes even more important for brands to amplify their cross-channel strategies, with multi-channel shoppers spending $93USD more on average than those who only use one channel to buy gifts (NRF).
In this article, we discuss the steps retail brands can take to build effective multi-channel marketing strategies to set themselves up for the next decade of digital transformation.
Step 1: Understand how your customer’s path to purchase has evolved
The retail path to purchase is no longer linear – instead, it’s now a matrix of interlinking multi-channel touchpoints. Social media has become a key ecommerce channel for many retail businesses, while on the flipside we are also seeing more digitally enabled in-store experiences.
Businesses need to have a stronger focus on the end-to-end customer journey, which can be achieved by integrating a data-driven approach to marketing. Consider what datapoints you have available to your business, discern what this information can tell you about your customers, and keep referring to your data to inform your marketing strategies going forward.
Action this: Use first-party data to understand when, where, why and how your consumers are shopping – and keep coming back to the data to understand how that journey evolves over time.
Step 2: Personalize your customer interactions for a seamless customer experience
Personalization is quickly becoming a ‘must-have’ rather than a ‘nice-to-have’. With customers increasingly turning to digital product navigators or consultation tools, retail brands should be seeking to create a seamless cross-channel experience, allowing customers to have the most relevant information at their fingertips, whichever touchpoint they are engaging with.
However, personalization should not be forgotten the minute the customer leaves your store or website. By providing highly relevant post-visit communications, brands can build loyalty and turn a one-off customer into a repeat shopper. Whether it’s care information for a product they have purchased, restock information for an item that they viewed that was out of stock, or sales alerts on similar items, personalization should exist at every stage of the purchase journey.
Action this: Implement personalization at every touchpoint along the path to purchase to provide a frictionless shopping experience where barriers to purchase are minimized.
Step 3: Lean on real customer reviews to influence the buying decision
Having a real-time feedback loop in place will boost sentiment in the same way word-of-mouth marketing does. Amplifying your real customer reviews in-store, online or on social media not only promotes loyalty but also showcases – and incites – desire for your product, which will likely resonate amongst key consumer groups.
Integrating user-generated content into your marketing strategy can be a powerful driver to influence shopper decision-making. Promoting authentic connections with your customers builds confidence in your brand, and shoppers are likely to consider real customer reviews, recommendations or feedback in a higher regard than information coming from your own-brand channels.
Action this: Integrate customer reviews or user-generated content at the point where shoppers are making buying decisions, whether that is in-store, online or via social media.
Tips for success in a multi-channel customer journey
Offer flexible delivery options (in-store pick-up, home delivery, convenience drop-off points) to meet your customer where and when is most convenient for them.
Consider how related searches may trigger interest in your product/service – for example, a consumer who has recently made home-buying related searches may soon also be interested in new furniture – and capitalize on these early in the purchase journey.
Engage a blend of measurement tools including attribution modelling and econometrics to ensure a full-picture view on which touchpoints are proving effective. In a multi-channel world, siloed measurement tools may no longer cut it.
Tag is the leading end-to-end marketing production partner to brands and agencies worldwide. With our integrated marketing capabilities, we help brands deliver multi-channel campaigns at speed and scale across all touchpoints of the consumer journey. We produce creative marketing executions at speed and scale, enabling our partners to navigate the rapidly changing retail environment.