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Why Omnichannel Is Every Marketer’s Future

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Marketing Director, Americas , Emarsys

Omnichannel is the Future

Why are you going through the trouble of building an omnichannel marketing strategy? While many marketers are making the push for omnichannel, the “why” behind it might elude some. But, the why is everything.

Companies with omnichannel marketing approaches:

  • Retain 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies without omnichannel
  • Experience higher revenue. The cost of not being omnichannel is lost customers.
  • Give customers the flexibility to check product availability on any device; make a product reservation on any device; and purchase the product any place, anytime

An omnichannel marketing strategy helps marketers harness more power; but ultimately it gives customers the enhanced experience they’re looking for.

Omnichannel is predicated on knowing the individual customer well enough from past purchasing data to fully customize all interactions, no matter the device or channel. This provides a world-class shopping experience for your customer that’s consistent across all devices and channels.

Our Purchasing Behavior Is Omnichannel

Today’s shoppers vote for omnichannel, over and over, with every dollar they spend, zigzagging back and forth between offline and online avenues, with each channel’s experience reinforcing the others. Retailers who take the customer experience seriously stand to earn substantial rewards. Three out of four customers are more likely to visit a physical store if the inventory info online is accurate, which is important when you consider that 55% of online shoppers prefer to buy from retailers with a physical store, over an online-only retailer.

A 2015 IDC study stated that customers who frequent a business both in-store and online have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who only shop through one channel. With conversion rates in the low single digits, every channel helps drive up sales.

Consider too that digital interactions (browsing, mobile and social apps, and so on) influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in a brick-and-mortar store, and that 22% of consumers spend more at a store if digitally influenced.

All that translates into revenue growth. Companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement earn a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for companies with weak omnichannel engagement. Similarly, strong omnichannel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost-per-contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for the weak ones.

Perhaps the most compelling reason you should implement an omnichannel roadmap today: The opportunity cost for companies without an omnichannel plan is a 10% loss of potential revenue, equivalent to the annual growth target of many companies. If you’re a multi-million dollar company, you’re missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars by not streamlining the customer experience across all available channels.

The Unified Customer Profile

The omnichannel roadmap leads to one of the most sought-after goals in marketing: the unified customer profile. All the data that companies gather from customers paints a unique picture of the individual, and is the best way to personalize messaging and special offers.

A unified profile will tell you tons about your customers, such as:

  • The channels and devices they prefer to use for browsing and purchasing.
  • The messaging content that is most likely to resonate with each customer.
  • The frequency of messaging that each customer responds to best.
  • The types of products customers like to buy.
  • The types of incentive recommendations each customer responds to most often.

It’s interesting how unified customer profiles come from a strong omnichannel marketing approach, and then feed right back into supporting the overall omnichannel framework and growth. Yet not even all the companies who are pursuing omnichannel right now have achieved the unified profile: 77% of strong omnichannel companies make their customer data accessible across channels, compared to 48% of weak omnichannel companies who are still impacted by internal silos and platforms that don’t integrate.

Final Thoughts

With so much to gain, it’s a little surprising that more businesses aren’t further along the omnichannel roadmap, that is, until you start to add up all the costs, effort, and potential roadblocks involved in creating a seamless customer shopping experience.

You need to answer some key questions: what is your overall goal? Are you too focused on only gaining new customers? Does your strategy dedicate enough attention to retaining the customers you already have? Which team members will be the most effective for each area of the transition to a unified omnichannel strategy? Which systems need to be integrated, and which should you upgrade or retire?

The answers to these questions become your omnichannel marketing roadmap. Without an actionable plan, you have no way to communicate to your company and the teams involved about where to start, what the goal is for each stage, and what comes next. Your ultimate goal is to put the customer first, and the omnichannel roadmap is the key to reaching that destination.

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To learn more about this approach and how the entire process works, get the latest white paper: Omnichannel Marketing Excellence Starts with Email First

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