Today, an unprecedented number of shoppers are using mobile devices while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. They use their smartphones for wayfinding, comparison-shopping, checking in, leaving feedback and much more. They send photos of what they’re considering buying to their friends and loved ones. They open store apps and websites to see if there are any coupons or deals that day. They share their shopping experiences with friends on social media. In other words, the digital experience is becoming inextricable from the physical. This is what marketers refer to as OMNICHANNEL marketing.
People are digital-dependent in almost everything they do, and that’s not much of an exaggeration. If you have brick-and-mortar stores and you do nothing to tap into digital experience capabilities, you risk losing market share.
Perhaps you’re already offering digital experiences to your brick-and-mortar shoppers, like email-based promotions or a mobile-optimized website. That’s multichannel marketing, and you’re on the right track.
The next step is to move toward omnichannel marketing, which focuses not only on accessibility via any channel consumers might use, but on offering a seamless experience for customers. There should be as little separation as possible between shoppers’ activity in your online store, on your branded app, and inside one of your physical store locations. If a shopper was looking at a particular coffee maker in your online store but didn’t buy it, you can prompt that shopper with a promotional offer on that coffee maker the next time he enters one of your locations—a seamless digital/mobile/physical transition that is entirely personalized to that shopper and highly effective as a sales tool.
How do we reach shoppers in so many ways?
Short answer: mobile apps and location-enabled marketing tools. By tapping into location technology such as GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, you can target customers using geo-fencing near your business locations and inside your stores. You can even know when customers who use your app go to competitors’ stores or visit nearby partners, which can be invaluable data for future campaign planning.
Learn more in this eBook: Location Technology 101: Understanding Bluetooth, Blue Dot, Beacons, Geo-Fencing and More.
We made an infographic that shows how the omnichannel purchase cycle might play out for a customer in your store. Take a look to follow along with Sue’s interactions with a retailer like you.