All around us, things are constantly changing. We stream TV shows online. We study in virtual environments. Even the way we buy clothes has changed. With consumers being more connected than ever – more than half of Asia’s multi-device users switch between three or more screens throughout their day – brick-and-mortar businesses no longer have a monopoly on the way we shop.
Cross-border online shopping has exploded in popularity in Singapore, with 60 per cent of online shoppers making domestic and international purchases in 2015. Singaporeans are also embracing mobile phones and tablets as online shopping tools. In 2015, 27 per cent of Singaporean online shoppers used either their smartphone or tablet to make a purchase.
These numbers have sent marketers rushing to engage with the new, connected consumer through multiple digital channels – from mobile-optimised websites to social media platforms and email marketing.
This approach is commonly referred to as multichannel marketing. However, as digital marketing matures, brands are becoming increasingly aware of the need to deliver a “seamless, integrated and consistent” user experience across all digital channels.
The rise of omnichannel marketing
Enter omnichannel marketing. While multichannel marketing engages consumers across a range of independent marketing channels, omnichannel marketing understands that consumers use multiple channels simultaneously throughout the customer life cycle.
Rather than viewing each marketing channel as a separate silo, omnichannel marketing seeks to provide a seamless shopping experience across all the channels consumers use during their interaction with a brand.
For example, an omnichannel approach anticipates that a consumer may begin their interaction with a brand on a website, progress to downloading a mobile app, attend webinars or watch product demonstration videos on their tablet, experience the physical product instore, and then return to the website to purchase online.
Each of these brand touchpoints should not only be consistent, but also flexible and complementary in order to guide the consumer through each stage of the sales journey.
The benefits of omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing helps brands create personalised customer experiences to fit buyer personas. It also helps brands match their marketing content to the customer’s current stage in the sales pipeline.
That creates something of a ‘choose your own adventure’ process from the customer’s perspective. In other words, omnichannel marketing empowers the consumer to interact with the brand however, whenever and on whichever device they choose.
This works to not only convert more leads, but also builds brand loyalty and higher value long-term customers who may eventually become enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
For marketers, omnichannel marketing offers the opportunity to collect rich customer data from every touchpoint and, in doing so, create detailed customer profiles that further assist with the personalisation of marketing communications throughout the customer life cycle.
At its core, omnichannel marketing is about seeing your customers as individuals, and handing them the power to interact with your brand through channels of their preference.
By ensuring each channel is integrated into a consistent whole, omnichannel marketing can create deeper brand engagement and build the long-term customer loyalty that will become the backbone of your business.