The Omni-Channel Experience: How To Maximize Use of Your Mobile Marketing
If you run a business, regardless of industry, your consumers are likely multi-channel shoppers. In fact, many don’t see “channel” anymore. The day of the single consumer touch point is long gone. Shoppers access commercial data through several channels during various stages of the buying cycle—and mobile is quickly gaining preference. In fact, consumers who research across online, offline, & mobile spend 18-36% more than those who don't (BazaarVoice)
Have you strategized for this change? If the answer is no, your business may be losing millions in revenue. In fact, in its The State of Marketing 2013 report, IBM found:
“The price tag for failing to meet the needs of today's so-called "omni-channel shoppers" -- who frequent both online and in-store channels -- is $83 billion in lost sales in the U.S. each year due to poor and inconsistent customer experiences.”
It’s essential to move beyond a segmented, multi-channel customer experience to the omni-channel experience—one that rises above channel strategies to focus on the customer and a complete, comprehensive and meaningful brand experience.
So, what are some steps to take to ensure a strong omni-channel business strategy?
Go Mobile: Showcase Your Brand Digital and In-Store
Most marketers and ecommerce pros have optimized the online experience and aligned expectations with in-store shopping. But, some have yet to grasp the importance of mobile in the omni-channel experience. According to IBM, “Only 35 percent of leading marketers currently integrate their campaigns across all channels.”
Shoppers crave the convenience that mobile search offers—it’s the prime channel for on-the-go consumers. Consequently, it’s quickly becoming a channel of choice. Today, 55% of mobile owners access the web via mobile (Pew Research Center, 2012), and during May 2013, mobile traffic accounted for 15% of all Internet traffic worldwide (Source: Smart Insights, 2013). Additionally, the time spent in native apps actually surpasses the time spent in mobile web browsers, which increases total mobile share dramatically. Give consumers what they want by integrating mobile into your omni-channel strategy.
Step 1: Market to the Digital Consumer
To effectively market to your mobile audience, first analyze how they are consuming content on their device. The quickest way to lose a site visitor is to push a sale on a buyer who has just entered the buying cycle, or by providing irrelevant or outdated content front and center of your mobile app.
According to a recent study from Google, “Smartphones are the most common starting place for online activities.” Most shoppers start shopping or browsing via mobile and then move to a PC to continue or complete an activity. Smart Insights deduced “smartphones are more of a browse or research platform rather than a buy.” (But don’t forget that the same statement was made about the desktop web in it’s infancy.)
Integrate this knowledge into your mobile marketing operation. Ensure that your strategy includes content that will be of interest to a buyer in the early stages of a customer journey; they may have just become aware of your brand. Include articles that help customers to identify a need or demonstrate ease-of-use through videos and client testimonials. To create the ultimate, personalized customer experience, offer the opportunity to connect instantly with a live agent at their fingertips, through tools like mobile chat.
As a versatile digital channel, mobile does hit multiple stages in the typical sales cycle. Because mobile consumers are on the go, they are more likely to be at various stages of the buying journey-- whether its to research a sale, or maybe making a final purchase in-store. We recommend businesses adjust content to accommodate each stage pointedly and clearly to create an integrated, seamless experience.
Step 2: Merge the In-Store and Mobile Experience
In-store retailers are cursing the name of so-called ‘showrooming.’ However, retailers can use this practice to their advantage if strategically addressed. A recent article in Forbes suggests retailers, “Offer your customers the unique experience of participating in the creation of their purchase and they will not have any need to look to your competition.”
Offer rich media engagement through your mobile marketing efforts to captivate showroom shoppers. Engaging live via mobile is cutting edge; it lets consumers shape the experience and guide the interaction with your brand. Those who visit via mobile or in-store must feel that they cannot find said experience anywhere else, enabling them to stay and perhaps pay a little more for your product. From The Guardian:
“By offering a personalised experience across every channel, based on a deep understanding of customer preference, we believe UK retailers can use the growing trend of showrooming to connect with their customers, thus increasing loyalty and boosting sales.”
Determine Your Own Strategy
Mobile marketing is more critical than ever. Marketers in the space are noticing the absence of creativity when it comes to this booming channel. A recent article in Advertising Age pulled the issue to the forefront:
“Too many brands are treating the mobile marketplace as a unified whole, relying on lowest-common-denominator creative execution, the 300x250 banner.”
Pull ahead of the masses and strategize (and personalize) your mobile marketing. A fully integrated mobile site will include responsive and tactile design, while also offering live, real-time engagement. But, every brand is unique. Distinct consumer trends and behavioral data should ultimately guide your strategy.
A seamless omni-channel customer journey will integrate the use of online, in-store and mobile shopping− serving unique needs and interests on all channels.
Would you like more information on how to optimize your mobile marketing strategy? Feel free to reach out to our team to see how you can change your business today.