79% of consumers spend at least 50% of total shopping time researching products online
82% of consumers will substitute and switch brands due to an out-of-stock product
59% of consumers are willing to try a new brand to get better customer service
As you can see, there’s a lot that can impact whether consumers have a good or bad experience: consistency and availability of information across offline and online channels, as well as supply-chain efficiency. Every touchpoint is now a critical moment of truth for determining consumer loyalty and brand credibility. The epic explosion of digital platforms and shifting consumer preferences are why an omnichannel approach is now imperative for retailers.
An omnichannel strategy is really about developing the intelligence needed to most effectively take action – using the right resources at those critical moments to create remarkable, profitable consumer experiences. Obviously, there’s a lot of information out there, so I wanted to share with you some tips for systematically implementing an omnichannel mentality to maximize awareness and optimize consumer engagement.
Accept free advice
Retail marketers have a pivotal role to play increasing revenue growth and reducing missed sales opportunities. With more than half of consumers willing to ditch an in-store purchase because of negative reviews from fellow shoppers, retailers need to listen and be ready to adjust marketing efforts based off feedback.
In a single day, some 500 million tweets are sent, 4.75 billion items are shared on Facebook, and200 conversations in LinkedIn groups occur every minute. Consumers aren’t holding back in sharing their experiences of products and services with friends – and that’s a good thing! These insights are free and readily available.
Leading retailers use consumer intelligence to understand which promotions are working and which are not. Using these insights, retailers can make more informed decisions regarding their marketing mix and promotional calendars. In fact, by monitoring consumer chatter, retailers can adjust marketing and merchandising strategies to align with real-time product preferences.
Start small with monitoring efforts to quickly show internal teams the value of these insights. Retailers should pick three to four platforms where consumers talk about their products. Don’t forget the brand’s website in that list! I’d recommend assigning to each team member a platform that they can monitor for 10 to 15 minutes daily.
Inject insights across channels and lines of business
Let marketing be the team that leads the way to unparalleled business results.
It’s fair to say manual monitoring of insights can only do so much. However, it should get different lines of business collaborating. To scale efforts, many retailers are looking to business intelligence (BI) or in-memory solutions to align operations and optimize the sharing of insights across the entire buyer journey. These solutions enable retailers to collect, centralize, and publish data across channels in real time. For retail marketers, this means aligned product information, branding, and messaging across all channels. But beyond that, it’s transforming the entire organization to align sales, customer service, supply chain, and planning and forecasting efforts to the needs of consumers.
With BI or in-memory technologies, all of these departments can anticipate consumer needs and identify trends. Visual dashboards and user-friendly data reporting make it possible for anyone to get involved with little training.
Here are just a few things that are possible:
Share order-management information across channels to increase visibility throughout the entire order process, from the transaction through fulfillment
Incorporate consumer data and insights into business operations plans, including supply, pricing, and promotions
Establish consumer-data-collection guidelines for all channels to enable a holistic, actionable view of consumers
This business-wide involvement in the consumer experience is the ultimate goal within an omnichannel strategy. Consumers will continue to change their preferences, so the more people involved in identifying those changes and improving the experience, the better.