The marketers have been at it again.
Over a coffee one morning they created a new buzzword – omnichannel.
There are numerous articles about it, telling you how important it is and that you must have one.
But how can you be sure you need one if you’re not 100% certain what it is?
What is an omnichannel experience?
OK, let’s start at the top.
Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that looks at all your marketing – whether on the web, print, video etc. Basically, all the marketing you produce.
The idea behind it is that you use the same approach regardless of the medium.
That means the message you’re sending your customers is the same, regardless of how they interact with you.
This helps you build brand recognition and it helps your customers get to know you and trust you.
So in essence, it’s your customers that need an omnichannel experience.
How do you create an omnichannel experience?
Other than colour palette and the general ‘look’ of your design, the main focus of omnichannel marketing is your content.
The whole idea behind it is to look at the customer journey, which is basically another way of saying “how does your customer interact with you?” For example, they may see an advert for your product on TV, they may do a Google search and land on your website, or they may see an ad on social media. They may use a PC, tablet or smartphone to look at your website, and once they’ve been tempted by your product, they’ll go through the buying process.
Each of these stages must have continuity – that means using the same branding, imagery, and tone of voice.
In the words of Marketo (the leading Marketing Automation provider):
“Marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media. They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their mobile smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.”
Whose omnichannel experience rocks?
The first company that springs to mind is Disney.
Their mobile responsive website is stunning, their trip-planning mobile site works like a dream. Then, once you’ve booked your trip you can use the My Disney Experience tool to plan the whole thing – from dining to your Fast Passes.
Once in the park, you can use the mobile app to find the attractions you want to see and find the estimate wait time for them.
In the world of fashion, Oasis is leading the way. They have ‘fused’ their ecommerce site, mobile app and stores.
Their sales assistants have iPads on which they can give you accurate product information. They can also be used as cash registers. Plus, if something’s out of stock, the staff can place an order for you there and then and get it posted directly to you at home.
Pretty cool stuff.
Granted, that might be at the extreme end of omnichannel, but simply by ensuring the look and feel of all your marketing blends seamlessly you’ll be well on your way to creating the omnichannel experience your customers want.