Adaptiveness. That’s the key to eCommerce success. If you aren’t taking the steps to attract and maintain an engaged customer base, you won’t be successful in the long term.
For businesses to reach the right audiences, you need to adapt in order to meet their needs.
In 2020, customers have more choices than ever for where they choose to browse and get information about your products.
The growth of email, social media, and mobile, has seen eCommerce marketers increase their multichannel presence in order to develop their relationship with potential and existing customers.
A truly adaptive eCommerce business is one that brings commerce to a number of different channels like online marketplaces, social media, online communities and messaging apps.
Based upon the choice of their consumers, the patterns of purchasing and the usage of different available platforms, multichannel strategies yield excellent results for eCommerce businesses.
On average, these strategies increase eCommerce revenue by 38%, 120%, and 190% with each additional channel that is added (source). If that sounds like an opportunity which is too good to miss, read on.
In this article we are sharing five tips to build a multichannel strategy which you can employ to make it as straightforward as possible to engage with customers, encourage a purchase and ensure they remain loyal to your business for future transactions:
1. Understand and Integrate
As with any marketing strategy, the first step must always be to understand your buyers.
Talk to existing customers, run questionnaires, create multiple A/B tests across platforms and trial new channels and sequences in order to build personas that match the key demographics of your target groups.
Then and only then can you begin to set the multichannel strategy in motion.
The next step should now be to integrate your marketing department to make sure that everyone is on board – it’s no use having your product and content team up-to-date if the advertising manager knows nothing about the new multichannel strategy.
Align your departments and break down existing silos to create an integrated marketing team.
2. Define and Personalize Your Digital Presence
The marketing and messaging for your multichannel strategy will be offsite, as well as on each and every channel that your customers are present.
However, the connecting point for all of these is your own store. No matter if visitors are coming to your site through organic search, social media, or paid advertising – each channel tells a different story.
So instead of treating them all the same with their first impression of your store, define your presence by delivering customized content that is relevant to their traffic source.
For example, a potential customer who has arrived from browsing on Pinterest can be greeted by a tailored pop-up which mentions the traffic source and contains visual imagery of products that may be of specific interest to them.
As well as this, keep optimizing and adjusting your onsite content by A/B testing.
This should always be focused on improving the customer experience, comparing two options and measuring specific metrics like impressions, clicks and bounce rate to track which changes are and aren’t effective.
When you test different hypotheses like this, you can get hold of valuable data about your customer’s behavior and make changes to improve the performance across the touchpoints where they are arriving at your eCommerce store.
3. Create Testimonials
The hardest integration is usually through word of mouth – because it’s very difficult to know what happy (and unhappy) customers are saying about you.
The incentive for making the effort to build testimonials is great though, as it’s the best possible way of building brand recognition and a good reputation from the recommendations of real customers.
Boldking includes a Customer Review section with testimonials on their main site, as well as across their social media channels, marketplace accounts and in newsletter mentions.
That’s why an effective multichannel strategy is not just about attracting first-time buyers to your business, but re-engaging and nurturing those who have already purchased from you.
Use your channels to encourage customers to share comments, photos, and stories of how they use your products or services.
Once gathered together, and with your customers’ permission, you can make use of your social platforms, newsletters, paid ads, mail workflows and websites to share customer experiences with your followers.
Google and Amazon reviews, photos, snippets from an email to your business – anything can be extracted in order to build solid testimonials that can be circulated across all the channels where you’re present.
When you provide prospective customers in the consideration stage with evidence of just how great your products are – you’re greatly increasing the chances of further uptake – no matter which channel you are using.
4. Create Consistent and Rich Content Across Channels
Your customers enter your store with all of your content (and that of your competitors) at their fingertips.
Perhaps even more importantly, they can readily access content from others about you in the form of tweets, social media reviews, and third-party testimonials.
The next tip for an effective multichannel strategy is, therefore, to optimize your content for context and strategic intent with the goal of enhancing the value of every customer interaction.
Ensuring your branding and messaging is consistent, detailed and of high quality across each channel means you are ensuring good customer experience and helping to eliminate the noise and focus on relevant, pertinent content that truly aids them in their buying journey.
5. Unify Your Customer Engagement
You probably don’t need me to tell you that trying to analyze the data from every channel can be a difficult task.
It’s a necessary evil though, as measuring which channels are having the greatest impact, which aren’t performing and which have the potential for optimizations is a crucial part of any successful multichannel strategy.
The intimidating nature of the task might tempt eCommerce marketers to concentrate all their energy on a single channel. But this is simply going to narrow the scope of your audience; the more customers you engage, the more you convert.
Multichannel marketing allows customers to engage with you faster. They like meeting you at different channels with more relevant content allowing them to move to the next level in their buying decision path.
Invest in analytics and an operational platform geared to customer engagement. This will enable you to act upon a single view of the customer across all your channels and help support a continuous dialogue across the customer decision journey to:
- Create more detailed profiles on your customers using both online and store data, allowing you to create offers specific to your customers.
- Optimize each customer interaction by seeing the variables that provide a more successful outcome for you and your customer.
- Automate your multichannel campaigns to make them more trackable and repeatable.
The Mission is Multi-Channel Marketing
Today, the touchpoints available to eCommerce marketers are growing rapidly.
By coordinating campaigns to be consistent and engaging across multiple channels, marketers can encourage customers to make more purchases, collect more consumer data and expand their brand awareness on and offline.
Customer experience has for a long time now been the key differentiator for competitive businesses. In fact, Deloitte reports that 92% of organizations that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple contact channels.
In 2020, organizations must shape the path to purchase and brand loyalty by embracing effective multichannel strategies.
Those who can combine customer data, analytics, and technologies and use these to exceed customer expectations across channels, are those who will succeed.
Ben is a content marketer for WakeupData, a company driven by its mission to help empower e-commerce businesses. He specializes in creating valuable, actionable content that will save online merchants time and money.