What is omnichannel marketing for ecommerce?

A Beginner’s Guide to Omnichannel Marketing for Ecommerce

We live in a world that is full of noise and distractions – and that is reflected in customer behaviour online.

The days when people would open an ecommerce store website, find the item they want, and then purchase it are long gone.

Today, a customer might start their journey by reading product reviews on their smartphone on their way to work, then forget all about it until they come home and see a marketing email on their tablet, and then fire up their laptop once they finally decide to make the purchase.

But is your ecommerce business prepared to handle this kind of jumping between various devices and marketing channels?

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is all about ensuring a seamless experience as your customers switch between several devices and marketing channels on their way towards making a purchase.

It’s important to understand that multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing are not the same thing, though:

  • Multichannel marketing is about being available on various devices and having a variety of marketing channels. That’s how most online businesses function today… But it’s not enough anymore.
  • Omnichannel marketing is about integrating all those devices and marketing channels into one seamless experience that leads to a sale. It’s about making everything work together.

Customers are not patient nor forgiving when it comes to encountering friction in their shopping process. Once they get stuck on something, they just drop it and move on to something else. Why bother trying to figure out how make a purchase when you could be watching cat videos?

That means that any kind of friction in the customer’s experience can cost you that sale – or even that customer, who might not want to come back for more headaches.

And you know you can’t afford that.

3 keys to successful omnichannel marketing

Good omnichannel marketing is all about reducing friction and making the customer’s experience as seamless as possible. Sounds pretty straightfoward, right?

Yet over 90% of marketers struggle to seamlessly connect more than three channels on the buyer journey. So what can you do make sure that your marketing works well across all devices and channels?

  • Collect and analyze data. Make sure to gather data from your ecommerce store, your email marketing campaigns and your social media profiles. Then, carefully analyze it. Look for insights that would help you improve the customer’s experience. You can’t reduce friction if you don’t understand customer behaviour well… And only data can tell you what’s really happening
  • Personalize your marketing. 73% of customers prefer to do business with online retailers who use personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant. I mean… Don’t you? The more you personalize your marketing, the more seamless, and therefore more effective, it will be!
  • Integrate across different devices. It’s not enough to have a website that looks as great on smartphones and tablets as it does on a computer screen. The important question is this: can customers switch between various devices without encountering any stumbling blocks? This sounds obvious, but that’s where a lot of otherwise savvy companies mess up.

Of course, there’s a lot more to omnichannel marketing than that, but if you get these 3 things right, you’ll be off to a great start!

Why don’t you start with email?

Okay, so now you understand that your business needs omnichannel marketing, and you are ready to step up your game… But there’s just so much to do! Where should you even begin? I say start with email. Why?

Simple. It’s the most effective online marketing channel there is. According to the DMA National Email Report 2015, the average return for every dollar spent on an email marketing campaign is $38, with one in five companies reporting an ROI of $70 per every $1 spent. Now that’s the kind of math that I like!

So what can you do to improve your email marketing? Here are three tips that will help you get more sales:

  • Optimize your emails for mobile. The proliferation of smartphones means that most people are constantly checking their inbox throughout the day. In fact, 53% of emails are opened on mobile now, and that number is only going to increase. And guess what 71% of email users do when an email is not displayed properly? Yup, you guessed it. They delete it. Sloppy design might be costing you a lot of money in lost sales, so you better sort it out immediately!
  • Personalize your emails. Only 39% of online retailers are personalizing their emails despite there being only upside to doing that! Why would you send someone a generic email blast when you could send them an email that is actually relevant to them? If a customer purchases or browses specific products on your website, send them other products they might be interested in, with automated product recommendation emails.
  • Use these 3 types of emails. Okay, so, what are the actual emails that you should be sending? Personalized product recommendations, abandoned cart emails, and segmented content newsletters are a MUST for every ecommerce business. Read this article to learn more.

Optimizing your email marketing is one of the most powerful things you can do in order to get ahead of competition and increase your revenue, so don’t procrastinate on this, focus and get it done!

Conclusion

The world is changing, and if you want your ecommerce business to survive, you have to keep up with the times.

Many consumers already have a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop, and switch between these devices multiple times every day. Meanwhile, new devices, such a smartwatches, are coming to the market. And that’s only devices…

Think about all the marketing channels you already use. From email, to the social media, to paid advertising… And who knows what other channels will emerge in the coming years?

All this means that whether you like it or not, omnichannel marketing is only going to become more and more relevant, and if you haven’t started streamlining your shopping experience yet, you are not only losing money… You are falling behind your competitors!

So remember, what’s true in nature is also true in business: you either adapt… or you die.

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