Multichannel marketing is a practice of interacting with customers using multiple communication channels – websites, mobile apps, email, offline stores, mail order catalogs, direct mail, etc. It is important for multichannel retailing to ensure the best results.
According to HBR’s study, 73% of consumers use multiple channels during their customer journey. You’ll hardly find a brand that is still interacting with its customers via a single channel. The majority of successful companies constantly increase the number of touchpoints and monitor and anticipate the use of new marketing channels. For example, Macy’s and Nordstrom partnered with Pinterest as soon as it introduced buyable pins. Nike, Adidas, Kylie Cosmetics and other brands started testing the Instagram checkout option as soon as it was introduced.
The study also proved that shoppers that use multiple channels usually spend more (both online and offline) than single-channel customers. The participants of the survey spent 4% more every time they visited stores and 10% more online. Those who interacted with a brand on more than 4 channels spent 9% more in the store compared to those who used just one channel.
The customers who researched online before visiting a physical store spent 13% more. On the other hand, the showrooming is still in place, so the customers might spot an item in an offline store and then order it online. And a brand should make an effort to make them buy this item from them and not from the competitors.
Expanding your reach
Marketing via multiple channels allows brands to connect with diverse audiences and reach new customers. People of different age groups and in different locations prefer certain channels, so adding new channels will increase brand awareness. Note, that in most cases you don’t need to be on all the channels. Research which of them is more appropriate to your audience.
Stronger relationships with customers
The customers interacting with a brand via multiple channels also appear to be more loyal.
They make 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores than customers who used a single channel. They were also more likely to recommend the brand.
Gaining competitive advantage
Today a multichannel presence has become a must-have marketing strategy. Without it, your brand will be left behind. And if your competitors lack presence on a specific channel, containing prospects, you can use it. For example, Burberry created B Series - the drops of limited edition products available on Instagram, for restricted time periods only. This uncommon move for a luxury brand proved to be a success and resonated strongly with Burberry customers.
Balancing the brand voice and channel specifics
The specifics of each channel should be taken into consideration. The content should match the style and meet the requirements of each medium but, at the same time, the brand’s voice should remain consistent.
Multichannel marketing increases the expenses for researching customers, creating content, advertising, uploading and updating content. It also often involves the reorganization of your logistics and other business processes as you have to support increased sales on multiple channels.
Managing inventory becomes more complicated
With a growing number of orders occupying multiple channels, estimating how much product you’ll actually need becomes challenging. You can’t manage inventory manually anymore. The brand using multiple channels must keep track of the orders on each channel and timeously update all the information.
Measuring success needs adjustments
With multichannel marketing, the customer journey is non-linear. You have to think of the best model to attribute the results of your campaigns across multiple channels and touchpoints. Without a proper attribution model, it would be difficult to check the impact of your marketing efforts on the revenue and conversions and improve your strategy.
Strategy to succeed
1. Research your target audience
Carefully study your existing customers and prospects and decide on the touchpoints they prefer. Google analytic, Facebook and Instagram insights will help you to understand the demographics of your customers and their behavior. Segment your audience.
2. Research your competitors
Check which channels your competitors use. You can discover where the customers engage with similar brands more actively and leverage these channels. Or you may discover that your competitors missed a promising opportunity and they’re absent on a particular channel. So you can be the first to fill the niche.
3. Select the channels to start with
It is often a good idea to start small and then expand. Depending on your research results, choose three to five channels to start with. Your strategy could include blogs, social media platforms, and forums. You may need to develop an app or a chatbot, or ensure a physical presence in the form of a showroom or a store.
4. Create the right message
Prepare a well-orchestrated content strategy to make your brand image recognizable and consistent but at the same time speak the language of each channel. For example, you may find that your customers need informational, educational content. But you’ll provide it in a form of a long read on your blog, as a video guide on YouTube, and as infographics on Facebook.
5. Prepare the backend
Ensure that the inventory management and order fulfillment don’t fail as the sales begin to grow. If your campaigns are successful and you see a significant growth in sales, it would be nasty to encounter problems with stock, fulfillment, or delivery disappointing your new customers. The right tools and process automation may be needed.
6. Select the model for measuring success
As we mentioned above, this part can be challenging. You have to plan how to measure the results considering that not all credit can be attributed to a channel that provides the most leads. People often research the product on one channel and make the purchase on another.
7. Use a PIM System
PIM System enables you to create a consistent and uniform product experience for all your customers over all your distribution channels.
Multichannel marketing is essential to get the maximum revenue, ensure high customer retention, and also reach new audiences. Invest wisely in a multichannel strategy, select the right channels, and prepare your backend to succeed. When you’re developing your strategy, it’s important to conduct audience and competitor research and then create consistent, relevant content in a form suitable for each channel.