Omnichannel PlatformsAn omnichannel platform synergistically coordinates individual delivery channels into a marketing solution. The biggest challenge is linking inbound communication between them to a single customer. The other task is tracking how marketing spending on one platform impacts the others.
The purpose of omnichannel solutions varies between companies and industries. What an individual business seeks change over time, but specific goals are:
- Generate more leads
- Increase customer retention
- Collect more precise and detailed customer data
- Nurture customer relationships
- Synchronize promotions across channels
- Accelerate customers through the sales funnel=
- Make pricing consistent online, at the cash register, and on the shelf
Communications PlanEach store needs communication plans to leverage its competitive advantages. The communications plan defines how customer interactions should happen on each platform. A frequent approach encourages customers to use the website and store to manage the brand better. Social media has more value in generating leads because of the massive number of potential customers. So a communication strategy should pull customers from social platforms to the website and stores.
Competitive ResearchOmnichannel solutions are rapidly changing in the e-commerce and retail space. Researching the competition gives information on where they put in the effort and the effectiveness of each approach. It can also provide insights on how to integrate your technologies.
Channels to SupportThe organization can support many channels, but there is a cost attached to each one. Adding one at a time makes it easier to develop a communication plan and effectively execute each one. The most popular channels are:
- Brick and Mortar Store
- Online Store
- Text Messages
- Digital Advertising
- Digital Shelf Labels
- Social Media
Data-Driven MarketingCollecting the data needed to link customers is critical for success. Omnichannel solutions provide more data points on each customer, allowing for a deeper understanding. Effective solutions hook technical capabilities with the communication plan to enhance data quality.
Once the data comes together, there is a question of what to do with it. Customer Relationship Management solutions vary from tracking outbound sales activity to inbound customer support. Those are very different. The data will also flip between structured, like a purchase order to unstructured, like an email. The best approach is to start small and continually expand the solution based on the lessons learned from prior implementations. Vendors delivering the solution need to be on board with the approach and capable of incrementally extending the solution.
Omnichannel Data CollectionThe website is the best place to collect omnichannel data because it is flexible and automated. Social media and advertising platforms have fixed, and limited data feeds. In-store collection is manual.
When collecting omnichannel data, the website is more of an application. Examples include:
- Put a unique QR code on each in-store invoice. Customers collect loyalty points through the website when they scan the code. Then the website links the order to the phone number or email.
- Authenticate e-commerce clients with online authentication services such as Facebook. During the link, it's possible to collect demographic data for the user and their online handle.
- Advertise to well-defined demographics on social media. Land the users onto the website and track the sessions. That provides demographic data for the website.
- Write customized advertising landing pages on the website and remove them from the search engine index because they rarely score well.
Omnichannel Website DesignOmnichannel Website Design includes the coding needed to make the other applications work better with the website. The most common options are:
- Link in-store and online purchases, then send promotions based on their specific purchase history.
- Place QR on in-store price tags. Staff and customers can use it to look up product details online and purchase online options for the product not found in the store.
- Get an omnichannel merchant bank account allowing returns online or in-store regardless of the original purchase.
- Extract products that tend to both appear in a purchase order. Use the data for cross-selling online and shelving locations in the store.
- Capture purchase order data. That includes individual purchases and the aggregate record across the store.
- Add social share metadata on each page to replace a shared URL with an image and title the website provides.
- Create a separate web page for each store location to better support mapping applications.
- Add email and phone links to the web page for mobile devices.