If you have a business with multiple locations spanning across different platforms–for instance, products sold both at an in-store location and online on your ecommerce website–you are what is known as an omnichannel retailer. There is a lot of hype surrounding ecommerce businesses as the new essential means for shoppers to make their purchases, but oftentimes the focus forgets to include omnichannel retailers, who have an online presence but also still have products located in physical store locations as well.
Luckily for you, omnichannel businesses have a leg up on those stores that exclusively sell their goods online, because although attitudes have shifted to celebrate online shopping, some people undeniably still love and stick with the in-store experience. As an omnichannel business, you can offer both options to cater to all forms of shoppers, as well as those who prefer to utilize both in-store and online shopping depending on their circumstances.
The holiday season is a particularly profitable and important time for businesses, both their in-store and digital versions. There are extra measures you can take across all your store locations in order to truly take advantage of the additional shopping people do during the holidays, not to mention the added pleasure and time some shoppers take in browsing around the festive holiday displays.
And omnichannel retailers can experience particular success if their marketing strategies are done well. According to a survey conducted by Aberdeen Group Inc., online businesses with proven customer engagement approaches flourished by retaining 89% of their customers compared to the mere 33% for businesses with poor marketing strategies.
Due to the evident importance of solid omnichannel marketing and the possibilities for success, we asked top omnichannel retailers with successful multiple-location businesses what they believe are the best holiday marketing strategies for other omnichannel retailers to utilize. Their advice is lush with expertise, so be sure to employ their top tips this holiday season.
Integrate Your In-Person and Online Stores
“There are unique aspects of both in-store and online shopping that customers love; it may seem unfortunate then that they have to choose one option or the other for their shopping. However, this isn’t quite true. With smart marketing, you can actually offer the customers more as an omnichannel retailer by connecting both the in-store and online shopping experiences so customers can have their favorite parts of both versions of shopping. For instance, a great way to merge your in-person and online store locations is through online orders picked up in store. Another way customers might use your omnichannels is by reading customer reviews on your website while physically viewing the item in the store. You can do your part to make the customer experience seamless by consistently merging your in-person and online stores,” says Miles Beckett, CEO & Co-Founder of Flossy.
Target Gen Z’s
“You have to know the statistics in order to understand what your marketing strategy should look like, and the facts show that 40% of omnichannel shoppers today are Gen Z’s–roughly teens to those in their early 20s. So make sure you reach them where they can be found, such as social media platforms. Knowing that a large percentage of your audience is Gen Z’s, try to also communicate with them in ways that will get your business the most recognition. For instance, text message notifications and discount incentives are a great method of communication for connecting with your younger audience” says Gabrielle Mustapich, Co-CEO and CMO of Hardpops.
Offer a Mobile Shopping Option
“The whole point of online shopping versus in-store browsing is getting to explore offerings from the comfort of wherever you are and then having the item shipped to you without needing to step foot in a store. As an omnichannel retailer you can offer both this and in-store shopping, but knowing that some people are always going to prefer online shopping–especially with extra health and safety concerns right now that delivery and curbside pickup alleviate–you should lean into your customers’ desires and offer them a convenient mobile shopping option. If you can offer your customers a mobile app, this is the easiest and most accessible method for them, but if not, make sure the mobile version of your site is up to date and operating smoothly. The more convenient a time your customers have browsing and shopping, and then when they also see the painless checkout process, plus your new customer discount incentives–the more likely your shoppers will be to follow through with their purchase,” says Will Watters, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Western Rise.
Segment Your Audience
“When it comes to holiday marketing strategies, one of the most important things you can do is segment your audience. In doing so, you can create more individualized campaigns that will attract multiple demographics. This can also help you to offer more products to a wider consumer base,” says Marc Atiyeh, CEO of Pawp.
Have a Marketing Strategy That’s Personalized to the Customer
“Having a personalized omnichannel marketing strategy ensures that you communicate with shoppers wherever they are, with curated content, offers, and recommendations based on their preferences, at the precise moments they’re most likely to buy. [The fact that a second-time buyer is 130% more valuable than a first-time buyer] reveals an enormous opportunity for brands to increase a shopper’s likelihood to continue buying. With an omnichannel personalization strategy, brands can tap into shopper predictions and preferences that get them to that second, third, and fourth purchase in whichever channel a shopper prefers to interact. For example, selectively surfacing discounts to a shopper who needs them to convert via email because that is the channel she interacts with most, or delivering recommendations to a different shopper based on his affinity for certain style products through SMS, because that is his preferred channel. There’s still a lot of confusion between segmentation and personalization. Segmentation—which is often a list-based approach informed by demographics and past behaviors—can provide a perspective on what’s worked in the past but doesn’t predict the future. Personalization involves creating unique experiences for individual customers based on factors like product, content or offer recommendations, and priority and timing of your communications,” says Deniz Ibrahim, Vice-President of Product Marketing of Bluecore.
Use Social Media Platforms for Shopping
“As an omnichannel brand, it’s important that you Interact with your customers. Most social media platforms now make shopping on them incredibly easy, so you should be linking your online store on apps such as TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. You’ll also want to make active social media pages for your business on the above platforms as part of your marketing strategy. Sometimes your social media posts might not directly relate to your product in a super ‘in your face’ marketing tactic, but instead can focus on ideas and lifestyle choices that relate to the values and mission of your brand. As long as you gather awareness on your social pages and posts, recognition will come to your brand. But even better, your audience will know exactly what you’re all about and will feel more connected to you,” says Ann McFerran, CEO of Glamnetic.
Provide Flexible Payment Options
“If you give your online store’s checkout a ‘buy now and pay later’ option, recent statistics show that customers appreciate the flexible payment setup and this sets your business apart from others. After all, many people are struggling more financially this year due to the continual effects of the pandemic on work and home situations. And yet, people feel the need now more than ever to still put the effort (and money) into making their Christmas celebration feel festive. Definitely consider whether a ‘buy now pay later’ option is something you can implement into your checkout experience,” says Jean Gregoire, Founder & CEO of Lovebox.
Offer a Christmas Countdown Discount Incentive
“A great idea for part of your holiday marketing strategy is a discount countdown featured on your website. For instance, you can set up a type of 12 Days of Christmas promotion where each day a different product or category of product has a discount incentive if purchased on the right day. You can offer email and text reminders, which is a great way for shoppers to return to your site and also get onto your marketing outreach list. Customers will remember to return back at a later date to finish their purchase, which will keep your business on their mind as they’re completing their shopping during the Christmas season,” says Dino Ha, CEO of Kaja Beauty.
Integrate Marketing and Customer Experience
“Connecting all of your channels — delivering an omnichannel strategy, consistent experience — is very important because we are talking about a 30% higher lifetime value among omnichannel shoppers. We are talking with the brands who do it right, getting 89% retention compared to other companies only retaining 33% of their customers. Well-intentioned brands end up delivering poor experiences to customers by not connecting all of their omnichannel touchpoints. I think the best brands are doing it right when instead of thinking about people and organizations in silos, they are able to connect them. But more importantly, I think that the brands who are doing it really well are connecting marketing with customers. When you have aligned people and processes, you have to layer in a unified CX strategy where all of this is seen as extending the customers experience and it goes much more beyond marketing. Brands everywhere are realizing that marketing and customer experience have to be integrated in order to truly deliver an omnichannel customer experience to the customer,” says Vijay Chittoor, Co-Founder and CEO of Blueshift.
Utilize Email Marketing
“Keeping your email newsletters and marketing up to date is key. A majority of customers are looking for super savers and coupons during the holidays. To maximize your customer touchpoints, utilize email marketing to the best of your advantage. Connecting with customers through their inbox is a sound strategy throughout the year, but becomes absolutely essential around the holiday season,” says Daniel Seehoff, CEO of Sophistiplate.
Make Your Customer Service Available
“Make the online shopping experience stress free for your customers. Provide convenient ways for customers to be able to contact a customer service representative if they have any questions about merchandise or gift options. Adding Klarna or another layaway option is also a good idea since those are becoming more popular now, and many competitors will be offering them,” says Bill Glaser, CEO of Outstanding Foods.
Make Your Website Festive
“As an omnichannel retailer, you want to make sure customers get the best of each shopping experience, whether they are browsing in your store or on your website. There are of course certain aspects of each that are exclusive to the shopping version, which is why omnichannel businesses should try to fuse their various locations as much as possible, but one aspect of in-store shopping around the holidays is the festive displays and featured goods. In fact, this is one benefit that physical store locations have over online shopping during this time of the year. In order to make the online retail experience similarly festive, make sure to design your website to be really cheery and holiday-esque, just as the in-person stores are,” says Ari Sherman, Co-Founder of evo hemp.
With these expert tips you will be at the top of your marketing game this holiday season as you prepare your store locations for shoppers, and shoppers prepare their homes for Christmas. Remember to let your omnichannel stores stand apart from their usual appearance by accessorizing them in holiday style during this time, as shoppers love the festivity and fanfare they only get to enjoy once a year. You may just find that you experience more success according to the more decorated way your stores appear.