Tides are shifting in retail marketing. The final sale is no longer the end goal — certainly, it’s important, but as competition for retail business intensifies, creating an exceptional consumer experience that increases lifetime value is taking priority.
Retail brands are rethinking the way they approach marketing to consumers. Rather than designing channel-specific strategies that segment the marketing message, we’re seeing the focus move to a cohesive experience across all touchpoints. The strategy is called omnichannel marketing, and it’s helping brands take a more holistic approach to customer relations.
Retailers are investing big in omnichannel marketing technology. A recent study from Iterable found that 56 percent of retail executives increased their omnichannel budget from 2017 to 2018 – and more than half expect to spend up to 25 percent more in 2019.
If you’re investing in omnichannel marketing, how do you know if it’s working? Here are three ways to measure the success of your omnichannel marketing:
Listen to the Voice of the Customer
Loren McDonald, IBM Marketing Evangelist, once said this about omnichannel marketing, “Omnichannel means listening to and capturing data and behavior from a customer across all channels and then responding back …”
In other words, before you can build an effective omnichannel marketing strategy, you need to listen and understand your consumers. What are their tendencies, preferences, and aversions as it relates to your business and industry?
To answer these questions, you need to actively listen to the voice of the customer (VOC). The VOC is everywhere — from online product reviews and social media complaints to focus groups and in-store surveys, your consumers are sharing their opinions. The VOC will not just tell you if your omnichannel strategy is working, it’ll help you iterate and perfect it.
Segment Your Omnichannel Strategy
While the idea of segmenting and omnichannel might seem counterintuitive, it’s a requirement to implement a channel-agnostic marketing strategy effectively. A focus on the consumer is the premise behind omnichannel marketing — so while you are developing a uniformed experience across every channel, it’s customized to each consumer’s needs.
Segmenting allows retailers to personalize their marketing message, and an omnichannel approach allows retailers to keep that messaging cohesive from the website to the store. The more data you can collect and comprehend about your target audience, the better equipped you are to execute omnichannel marketing.
For example, a retail clothing store might collect customer data through a loyalty program application. This data can not just reveal demographic information like gender, age, and location, but it can show purchasing patterns. That retail store can then create subsequent marketing programs online targeting that customer and others with shared characteristics and habits.
Because segmentation is such an important part of omnichannel marketing, it can be a predictor of your omnichannel effectiveness. An inability to collect and interpret consumer data in a meaningful way hinders your ability to run successful omnichannel marketing strategies.
Track and Measure the Consumer Journey
Omnichannel marketing is designed to create a seamless experience across every channel — that means your website should be mobile optimized and your digital messaging should align with your print and in-store experience. One of the best ways to measure the cohesiveness across channels is to track consumer activity on different platforms, devices, and channels.
For example, if your Google Analytics shows a high bounce rate on your website from visitors coming from Facebook, it’s indicating a disconnect between your website and social media marketing.
In addition to the top-of-the-funnel consumer metrics like bounce rates and repeat traffic, you also need to assess sales metrics. You’ll have your obvious ones like revenue and conversions, but the most important are metrics you can tie back to your omnichannel efforts like lifetime value and acquisition costs.
Customer lifetime value (LTV) is an incredibly important metric for omnichannel marketing because it’s directly linked to a positive consumer experience. While you can manipulate revenue through short-term marketing strategies, a customer’s lifetime value relies on a methodical, consumer-centric approach.
Unfortunately, omnichannel analytics are difficult to track. In fact, a 2016 study from Periscope found that 67 percent of retailers surveyed struggled to collect consumer analytics across channels. New partnerships like LiveRamp and Inscape are trying to mitigate this issue – but, for now, brands need to use any resource at their disposal to track and analyze their consumers’ journeys.
The Future of Omnichannel Marketing
Consumers expect an engaging and consistent experience — regardless of the channel. This demand will continue to pressure MarTech to find solutions for tracking and managing consumer engagement, and retailers will be forced to invest heavily into omnichannel marketing. As you look to build your consumer-centric approach, keep the three considerations above in mind.