Marketers Struggle to Execute Omnichannel Strategy for 2017 Holiday Season
Does your team have an omnichannel e-commerce marketing strategy?
If you don’t have a fully formed strategy yet, you’re not alone. A shocking 86 percent of e-commerce marketers haven't executed a full omnichannel strategy, according to the 2017 Ecommerce Holiday Report.
This seems completely counter to all the discussions going on in the e-commerce marketing world today. Everyone is constantly talking about the importance of omnichannel marketing, but it turns out very few people are actually executing strategies for their own brands.
Why exactly is it so hard to execute an omnichannel strategy? We dug into the numbers to find out why so many B-to-C marketers are struggling with omnichannel in 2017.
By the Numbers
The report asked hundreds of e-commerce leaders how they’re approaching omnichannel marketing this holiday season. Unfortunately, the numbers revealed how many teams are not fully prepared to market across channels.
In fact, a full 40 percent of marketers have no strategy for omnichannel at all, while 46 percent are still working on a plan. In comparison, a mere 14 percent of B-to-C marketers have a fully executed omnichannel strategy for their brand, showing while omnichannel may be a trendy topic, it’s not affecting day-to-day operations for most e-commerce marketers just yet.
What’s Going on Here?
What’s behind the struggle of B-to-C marketers to coordinate campaigns across multiple channels and devices? To be honest, it’s complicated. For some marketers, omnichannel has simply taken a backseat to everyday operations. These are often small teams just trying to keep their heads above water and continually grow their businesses. Furthermore, many B-to-C marketers don’t have the time to think long term and put together a true strategy for omnichannel.
For others, it all goes back to customer data. Omnichannel is difficult to execute successfully because you first have to understand how your customers behave across every single channel. For many marketers, this process is difficult, as customers are interacting with their brands in multiple ways, including company websites, e-newsletters, online ads, mobile apps, social media pages, etc.
The challenge to identify your customers correctly as they move across channels means you can’t effectively market to them across these same channels. For example, if you don’t realize the same customer is clicking on your Facebook ads and opening your emails, how can you share the right message with them to drive a new purchase? This lack of understanding is at the core of the conflict for all omnichannel marketing.
Coordinated Omnichannel Marketing
Unifying all of your customer data across channels is important. With data in hand, marketers can easily create a full omnichannel strategy. Once you know that your best customers tend to browse your product on their mobile phone and later open an email, you can build out a strategy that takes advantage of that exact behavior. Without understanding your customers’ data and habits, you’ll be hard pressed to build out an effective omnichannel strategy.
The struggle to execute an e-commerce omnichannel strategy is real, but it’s not impossible. Your brand can be one of the outliers — the chosen few — that successfully executes a powerful omnichannel program for customers. While some B-to-C marketers aren’t actively participating in omnichannel programs just yet, it’s an essential marketing tactic to adopt in order to stay ahead of competition.
Eric Keating is the vice president of marketing at Zaius, a B-to-C CRM marketing platform.
Related story: Total Retail's Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers