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Guide to Omnichannel Marketing

6 minute read

Did you know that omnichannel customers–those who shop through multiple channels- spend nearly twice as much as traditional brick-and-mortar customers?

Post-COVID pandemic recovery in the retail sector was fueled largely by omnichannel retail strategies. As consumers returned to their favorite retailers, they increasingly turned to digital channels to find store locations, compare prices, read reviews, and get discounts. 

It turns out that double the exposure meant double the spending. During the holiday shopping season, these omnichannel customers spent twice as much as their single-channel shoppers. That is a profit-driving trend that can’t be ignored.

We saw similar themes in food and beverage, with online ordering reaching 26% of the food order share in 2020–and showing no signs of slowing down even as restaurants opened their doors for traditional dining options.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what you need to know about omnichannel marketing–what it is, why it’s important, and how to use it–to serve a growing consumer base that prefers to blur the lines between e-commerce and traditional retail.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is an all-encompassing marketing strategy designed to provide a seamless brand experience across multiple touchpoints. 

It begins with the fundamental understanding that customers may choose to engage with your brand in a variety of ways, like mobile shopping, social media engagement, and in-store experiences. Because these channels are not mutually exclusive–consumers often use multiple touchpoints.

For brands, it’s important that wherever and whenever customers engage with the brand, their experience is consistent. It’s also a growing necessity. The pandemic era push towards digital enablement brought a new level of comfort across multiple channels for brands and consumers.

Omnichannel marketing is a trend that’s here to stay. According to Cardlytics data, online spending has maintained increases between 90-130% YoY even as most consumers have returned in person. This means that customers are no longer either online or in-person. And that shift is reshaping how companies market to these consumers.

Omnichannel marketing vs. multichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing occurs across multiple channels, creating some confusion between these two terms. Let’s look at how they’re different.

Multichannel marketing refers to using multiple channels to promote products and services, often with independent strategies optimized for each channel. This means different campaigns for different audiences in print, media, and digital formats. 

A multichannel strategy tends to be broad in scope and siloed, with each channel performing independently to reach as many customers as possible.

With omnichannel marketing, the strategy utilizes multiple channels,  but the focus is on consistency across all of those channels.

Brands using omnichannel strategies favor an integrated approach with personalized experiences that prioritize customer loyalty over exposure.

Brands that take advantage of omnichannel marketing benefit from strong, cohesive brand identity, better customer experiences, and more engagement leading to more traffic and better sales. In 2018, back-to-school shoppers proved that omnichannel marketing is more effective, with 48% more spending by omni-shoppers.

Learn more about omnichannel marketing vs. multichannel marketing.

How to create an omnichannel marketing strategy

Omnichannel retailers see benefits beginning with the ability to meet consumer expectations. A positive customer experience drives sales and loyalty, giving these brands a clear competitive advantage.

Here’s a quick look at how to get started.

1. Study Your Customer Data

2. Create Shoppable Touchpoints

3. Connect the Dots

Customer data is key

First, look at who your customers are and where they engage. Comparing sales from online orders, in-app purchases, and brick-and-mortar transactions will give you an idea of what channels to include in your strategy. Customer demographics will clue you into how to reach them. Take time to map the entire customer journey from first look to post-purchase retention.

Create shoppable touchpoints

Next, embrace the idea that revenue-generating transactions can look like many different things, depending on where they originate. Your in-person store experiences can look like racks of product and lanes of cashiers–or it can look like personal shoppers and QR codes. 

Augmented reality can redefine e-commerce transactions, and your social media ads can transform into shoppable, influencer-driven sales. Bring the focus of your digital presence to revenue-generating activities by making every channel shoppable.

Connect the dots with omnichannel integration

Finally, connect your shoppable touchpoints. Find ways to engage app users in the store, direct social media traffic to your website or cue up discount codes scanned from smartphones in the checkout lane. In the delivery, prioritize customer service to balance the human interaction element and collect data to measure and monitor effectiveness.

When you get it right–you’ll see the difference in cross-channel pageviews, social media engagement, cross-channel conversion, average order value, and churn rate. Dig deeper with an easy step-by-step plan to create an omnichannel marketing strategy.

Benefits of omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing strategies are a consumer-driven sales optimization tool offering plenty of benefits for shoppers and retailers. Let’s look closer at how each party benefits.

Consumers get a better experience

Omnichannel marketing enables brands to provide what customers really want–offering positive, personalized experiences.

What does that mean?

For consumers, it means that brands proactively anticipate their needs even before they shop. And meet them with:

  • Convenience
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Empathy

In the moment, consumers want convenience–or the ability to get exactly what they want without waiting. To follow through, customers want flexibility–or the option to choose when, where, and how they will make a purchase. And to keep coming back, consumers want reliability–or trust that they will continue to receive the same experience each time.

But it’s not enough to go through the motions. Consumers want all of this–with empathy. The difference between a good experience and a brand loyalty-worthy experience is feelings. Consumers need to know that your brand cares about meeting their needs. 

Omnichannel marketing enables customer-driven service models so that brands can balance automation, optimization, and human interaction to provide a positive customer experience.

Businesses get a better image and a healthier profit

Why are so many retailers going to great lengths to create positive customer experiences? It’s simple–catering to the demand for personalized experiences drives business.

An omnichannel marketing strategy can:

  • Identify New Customers (Opportunities)
  • Nurture Customer Loyalty (Efficiency)
  • Increase Sales (Profit)

When retailers take the time to study their shoppers, digging into data-driven insights, they can discover entirely new subsets of customers they didn’t even know existed. Identifying these customers and their unique needs is the first step in reaching them with personalized service and driving more sales.

For example, Cardlytics data shows that online shoppers spend more by an average of $15 per basket. Still, three-quarters (75.1%) of shoppers remain loyal to the in-store shopping experience. Using an omnichannel approach, retailers can supplement the in-store shopping experience with digital channels to add convenience and flexibility for the customer, netting higher sales for the retailer.

Another key business benefit is optimizing the lifetime value of a customer. Retail businesses know exactly how much it costs to gain, service, keep, and lose an individual customer. And time and again–the data proves that the lifetime value of loyal, repeat customers is the key to sustainable growth.

When you know who your customers are–and you’re making an effort to give them what they need–you’re effectively driving sales. See how the omnichannel customer experience captures what the customer wants to increase sales with this in-depth

The takeaway on omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing is an opportunity for retail brands to reach new audiences, drive loyalty, and achieve sustainable growth by improving the customer experience. It’s an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage using convenience, flexibility, consistency, and empathy. Cardlytics’ solution can support your omnichannel marketing strategy with transaction-based data that provides real insights into what your customers want most.

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