4 Steps to Implement an Omnichannel Communications Strategy
The pandemic has had a profound impact on how consumers are making decisions. With a plethora of communication channels now available to shoppers, customers have different preferences on how they would like to communicate with a brand. This is where implementing an omnichannel strategy can give your business a competitive advantage.
An omnichannel strategy recognizes the different ways in which customers wish to connect, providing them with a fully integrated shopping experience by uniting user experiences from brick-and-mortar to mobile browsing and everything in between.
Regardless of whether this is the first time you’ve heard of the word "omnichannel" or you’ve already got some processes in place, here are some tips to take your strategy to the next level.
1. Go beyond email-only communication.
While email marketing is one of the most impactful communication channels, there's potential to explore many other platforms in tandem.
One channel worth considering is SMS. Research conducted by Esendex shows that 12 percent of consumers receive more than 10 emails a day from businesses, compared to 2 percent that receive 10 or more SMS/texts, allowing your brand to immediately cut through the noise.
Retailers can use SMS for a wide range of purposes, including showcasing special offers, updating the status of their order, and collecting feedback.
2. Widen the net to Whatsapp.
In 2018, the messaging platform introduced Whatsapp Business, designed to help companies "communicate more efficiently" with customers. The API — which when implemented adds Whatsapp functionality directly into a business’s existing CRM system — enables the following:
- the ability for firms to communicate with their customers at scale;
- automated responses;
- real-time monitoring of conversations;
- conversion analytics;
- customizable message templates;
- end-to-end encryption and data privacy; and
- encouraging two-way conversations.
It’s important you start encouraging two-way conversations with your customers. Omnichannel chat allows for customer service and marketing teams to enjoy multiple, simultaneous, two-way, mobile-focused conversations with shoppers through a variety of digital communication channels. Bots can also be deployed to help automate answers to regularly asked questions (such as how to return an item), with the added benefit of being able to provide service around the clock.
3. Get some measurable KPIs in place.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial to driving an e-commerce business and should be chosen and regularly re-evaluated depending on your business goals. Some of the most common KPIs for retailers include the following:
- Website traffic: Google Analytics (GA) can help you monitor and understand user behavior by providing data on metrics including the number of new sessions, bounce rate percentage, and duration of visitor activity, along with useful demographic information.
- Conversion rate: A good conversion rate is deemed to be between 2 percent and 5 percent. You can find this by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors.
- Average order value: The average amount spent by each customer per transaction.
- Customer lifetime value: The total net profit a company earns from every customer. This metric enables businesses to calculate the most profitable customer sector.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): This metric indicates how likely customers are to recommend a brand to their friends, family and followers on social media.
Other specific KPIs may also come from customer feedback surveys.
4. Look out for new technologies.
By implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy you’re putting your business in a great position, allowing it to remain relevant and competitive in a crowded market. Omnichannel strategies enable retailers to connect with their customers through a personalized experience, providing them with more options than ever before to connect and communicate via their preferred channels, at a time that’s convenient for them.
In such a fast moving digital landscape, you should endeavor to become an early adopter of new technologies as platforms expand their existing functionalities and new platforms come to market.
Laura Brown is head of demand generation at Esendex, a global business communication provider, delivering reliable SMS, voice, web and multichannel solutions.
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