We hear the words multichannel or, more often, omnichannel so often these days. In some cases these terms are meant to be describe a customer experience aspiration, in other cases they’re about technology, and sometimes they’re describing marketing initiatives. Surely, retailers are doing plenty of multichannel marketing. After all, multichannel marketing is simply using more than one channel – think: print, outdoor media, digital advertising, mobile, e-mail, stores – to communicate with a target customer. Some of this marketing may be more segmented or personalized than others.
But multichannel marketing shouldn’t be mistaken for cross-channel marketing, where what we learn about customers in one channel strategically informs how we market and to whom we market in another channel. While multichannel marketing may be creative and coordinated, such as an integrated campaign executed online and offline, it doesn’t take into account what we know a customer saw or did specifically in a store or specifically online. Mere multichannel marketing also doesn’t use any particular channel to drive a behavior in another channel on a 1:1 customer basis.
Because cross-channel marketing uses data from one channel to improve customer experience and productivity in another, many stakeholders in any retail organization should have a vested interest in making sure it happens. Here are some:
- Acquisition Marketers – Include store visits (which are generally of high value) when buying, objective-setting, and measuring digital advertising
- Customer Relationship Marketers – Enrich retention programs by recognizing loyalty in broader ways and identifying cross-channel opportunities to re-engage lapsing customers
- Store Managers – Invest in or advocate for the type of marketing that drives store visits
- Heads of E-commerce – Quantify the value of “web rooming” (online browsing that precedes a store visit), and optimize it where appropriate
- CMOs – Develop marketing messages with consideration for a customer’s full journey and measure them using more comprehensive data
- CEOs – As sales shift online, attribute and maximize the value of a store for the high-CLV customers who visit it
There’s also the not-to-be-forgotten point that customers assume retailers have data on them and, therefore, expect retailers to use it to create a better customer experience. In fact, 84% of consumers believe that retailers should be doing more to better integrate their online-and-offline channels. In other words, a customer thinks it’s odd when you retarget her online with an item she browsed on your site after she already went to your store and bought that item.
There are straightforward steps retailers can take to connect a customer’s behavior across channels to avoid frustration and increase near-term sales and longer-term customer value:
- Provide in-store guest Wi-Fi via Euclid to capture customer e-mail addresses and enrich them with behavioral attributes
- Use those e-mail addresses to link store visitors to their online behavior before and after the store visit, and to future store visits
- In the existing CRM system, tie this new information (email and attributes) to customer profiles that may have historically relied on transaction data alone
- When marketing to customers online or offline, leverage the full suite of interaction data – not just purchase history – to communicate with them
As with any evolved marketing initiative in a world where multichannel – if not true cross-channel – marketing is the norm, buy-in and alignment across a retailer’s functional areas is critical for success. Re-evaluating the incentive structure, for example, can help increase an e-commerce team’s comfort with investing in marketing that will drive store visits. Likewise, a store manager or CEO may be able to better justify store investments if that visit can be linked to a subsequent online purchase for which the store gets the credit it deserves.
Until recently, store visits only became part of a customer’s profile if the visit resulted in a trip to the register. The new data Euclid introduces provides visibility into a spectrum of cross-channel activity that can power cross-channel marketing in timely and personalized ways.