What is Omnichannel Marketing and Why Should My Small Business Care?

October 2019
 minute read
online shopping product page on smartphone and laptop

As a small business, one of the biggest challenges you face is growing and nurturing your customer base. You’re constantly tasked with finding new ways to encourage people to shop at your store or utilize your services while simultaneously worrying about whether or not your efforts are worth the investment.

We get it -- as a small business, every dime you put back into your business matters. You want to make sure your investments are worth your time and energy as a business owner! Omnichannel marketing - the newest approach to large-scale customer experience and retention - is a solution from which we can all take some advice. So what exactly is omnichannel marketing, and what does it mean for small businesses like you? Responsival - the Pittsburgh web design and digital marketing experts - are here to break it down for you.  

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

A New Way of Creating a Positive User Experience

women looking at a laptop

The rise of technology has created a new sense of interconnectedness between consumers and businesses. Consistently in-touch with one another via mobile devices and computers, businesses wanted to find a way in on the action. This started with email marketing, online shopping, and text alerts,  and has now turned into massive omnichannel marketing campaigns.

Omnichannel marketing is the concept of providing a seamless user experience across all channels of a buyer’s journey. From in-store interactions to online shopping and the use of a mobile app, businesses are creating new ways to interact with customers and enhance the experience of customers.

This shift to omnichannel marketing mirrors the shift in the way people progress through the marketing funnel. For instance, rather than showing up to a store and buying the only TV that is in stock, there is a great amount of competition among TV brands and stores themselves. A consumer researches TVs, visits stores, compares pricing, looks for coupons and sales, and then buys the TV of their choice. The sales funnel, in other words, is becoming much wider and much longer. Subsequently, businesses needed to find a way to respond to this expanding funnel.

With omnichannel marketing, marketing tactics are no longer only focus on the sale. While the sale is the end goal, marketing efforts have turned towards nurturing and engaging potential customers. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to accommodate a higher demand for brand interactions - in person, print, on social media, and in-store. How are businesses doing this? Let’s dive in.

How are Brands Utilizing Omnichannel Marketing?

The experts of Pittsburgh web design and digital marketing explore  omnichannel marketing in practice

Marketing App
Source: vrscout

There are a few core features of omnichannel marketing that are present among nearly all the industry leaders. The leaders in Pittsburgh web design and digital marketing identify them as follows:

  1. Responsive, mobile-friendly websites
  2. Dynamic online shopping experiences
  3. Online customer nurturing and engagement practices

These three core parts each play a role in omnichannel marketing tactics. While businesses focus on each of these corse aspects of omnichannel marketing using different approaches, one thing stays the same: efforts help make a more seamless, informed buying process and customer experience.

What does omnichannel marketing look like in practice? Let’s take a look at how some of our favorite brands use omnichannel marketing to their advantage:

Target’s Omnichannel Marketing

As a big-box store that is continuing to appeal to the masses as others fall to the wayside, Target has finally hit a special niche with their Cartwheel app. Target’s new app includes the ability to order on the mobile app, scan products in-store for additional discounts, explore special offers, and more. The app keeps track of recent purchases, making it easy to buy your favorite products again and streamlining your shopping processes in the future. By continuing to nurture (read: tempt) customers even when they aren’t in-store and make it easy to make purchases from home, Target has opened a new revenue stream of at-home and pick-up shoppers.

Starbucks’ Omnichannel Marketing

The coffee giant has found a way to feed coffee addiction more than ever before. The emergence of the Starbucks app allowed people to order online, pickup in-store, claim discounts, and utilize rewards like never before. Starbucks went the extra step by including a loyalty program within the app for frequent users, creating a game-like appeal to drinking Starbucks drinks. Additionally, Starbucks continues to nurture users with compelling, engaging social media posts and even Spotify playlists you can take with you anywhere.

Sephora’s Omnichannel Marketing

Sephora and other large cosmetic stores are faced with a unique challenge of keeping customers with strict brand loyalty from buying directly from the brands themselves. Using omnichannel marketing, Sephora has nurtured its audience enough to remain a leader in the industry. Using a rewards program and multi-tiered loyalty program, Sephora continues to nurture customers by offering free gifts, makeovers, and in-store and in-app beauty advice. The Sephora app - in addition to in-store screens - uses augmented reality so customers can try on makeup shades and lipstick colors, making it easy for users to make quick decisions during online purchases. Sephora also launched Sephora Play - the $10 monthly subscription box that allows customers to sample new products -  that includes a 50-point coupon for in-store use, encouraging users to return to the store each and every month.

How can Pittsburgh web design and digital marketing help small businesses utilize omnichannel marketing tactics?

Using Omnichannel Marketing on a Small Scale

omnichannel marketing pittsburgh

As you read about how these massive businesses use omnichannel marketing, you may be left wondering how it’s possible for your small business to utilize the ideals of omnichannel marketing. The experts of Pittsburgh web design and digital marketing realize that small businesses may not have all the same resources, but can still use an omnichannel mindset to reach success.

What omnichannel marketing teaches us is that the end result of marketing isn’t always a sale in a direct sense. Widening sales funnels mean that marketing funnels involve brand awareness tactics, engagement tactics, and more. People are more connected to brands than ever before, which means it’s imperative for businesses to invest in social media marketing efforts, stay engaged with customers online, and continuously come up with ways to keep people interested in your brand.

While your small business may not be ready to launch an app with augmented reality for furniture placement or trying out lipstick, there are simple and cost-effective ways to nurture your audience with omnichannel tactics, including:

  • An engaging social media strategy. Enhance your customer experience by talking to them online! Reply to comments and DMs, share customers’ posts, and continue to create engaging content that they want to interact with that utilizes features like shoppable social media posts.
  • Responsive websites. Being able to reach your customers anytime, anywhere begins with a responsive website. Responsival helps create mobile-friendly websites that look great on any device, helping you make the most out of every visit on your website.
  • Digital ads and retargeting capabilities. Social media ads, when used correctly,  can reach customers at any stage in your sales funnel. Whether they’re learning about your brand for the first time or have abandoned their online cart, social media ads can help push your customers along the sales funnel.
  • Email marketing. As the marketing tactic with the highest ROI, email marketing is the perfect channel to expand into if you haven’t already. Email customers about sales and special offers to keep them engaged in a whole new way.

No matter the marketing tactic you’re looking to branch into, Responsival is here to help. We provide custom solutions for businesses designed to drive engagement, expand your reach, and maximize the sales power of your digital presence. Ready to get started? Get in touch with the best Pittsburgh web design and digital marketing agency today.


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