When it comes to omni-channel retailing, the question is not if you should use it, the question is when you should use it. The answer to that question is now.
What Is Omni-Channel Retailing?
Omni-channel retailing provides a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available retail channels. It enables your potential customers to engage with your brand whether they’re at your e-commerce site, using your mobile app, browsing social media, viewing your catalog, reading your latest direct mail letter, or even at your store.
For example, suppose you own a hardware store with a website. When people visit your website, you use Google AdWords for retargeting purposes. This means that they’ll see one of your display ads while visiting other sites. Then, later on, those some people will watch a home and garden television program and see an ad for your mobile app that will keep them up-to-date on your latest discounts. They download the app and are impressed with your prices. They receive a catalog in the mail that reinforces your great prices. They visit your store and continue to use their mobile devices to look up products online. They can also scan a QR code to look for a deal. That’s omni-channel retailing.
Obviously, a marketing strategy like that requires a significant amount of communication between IT, marketing, and sales associates. It’s important that the marketing initiatives used by the various channels are consistent and complement one another. They should draw from the same database of features, prices, and promotions offered by your business. You don’t want a television ad promoting a 5% discount while your mobile app is promoting a 3% discount.
Why Use Omni-Channel Retailing?
Why is it so important to use omni-channel retailing for your business? The short answer is that it increases the likelihood that you’ll close the sale.
A consumer might not be persuaded by a message from one channel. Instead, it might take a complementary message or two before you succeed in converting that prospect into a customer. Omni-channel retailing leads the consumer along gently from channel to channel until the sale has been achieved.
Omni-channel retailing is also a fabulous way to build brand awareness. You’re inundating the consumer with messages about your brand from various channels, including online ads, mobile apps, display ads, catalogs, and direct mail. It’s a powerful means to remind people about how you can help them.
Finally, omni-channel retailing is 21st century marketing. As the world moves to a more “wired” presence, marketing should join, rather than fight, that trend. It’s a holistic approach to engaging with the consumer in an online age that still features brick-and-mortar retail locations. It reaches people where they’re already at, whether it’s at home (with direct mail), online (with display ads), or watching television (with television ads). That’s the best way to reach people.