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Be omnichannel, be omnipresent

Be omnichannel, be omnipresent
Shyam S, retail marketing professional

In the ecommerce industry, omnichannel marketing is what everybody is talking about it, but how many retailers are actually using it? Omnichannel marketing can become the key to success if practiced correctly, says retail marketing professional Shyam S

By Shyam S

Published: Wed 4 Sep 2019, 8:38 AM

Last updated: Wed 4 Sep 2019, 2:13 PM

As the customer choice and journey between offline and online options become seamless, the opportunity to create omnichannel solutions lies with retailers. With over 50 per cent of shoppers in the Middle East region researching online to purchase offline (ROPO), and the reverse also emerging, the lines are becoming blurred.
The conventional top down funnel is more of a loop as we marketers must identify opportunities to engage the customer meaningfully in this omni journey with omnichannel marketing solutions.
It's challenging yet exciting as response - from clicks or views to purchase - can be measured across channels. To start with, one needs to imbibe the omni culture, which results in looking at all key functions and resources of the business working towards a 'single view of the customer' approach and thereby integrate all systems, processes and even profit and loss differently.

Enhancing customer experience
Omnichannel features such as 'Click and Collect' is already popular with customers contributing to almost 30 per cent of businesses. To ensure seamless shopping experience at stores where a customer prefers a physical engagement with products and prefers to fulfill their goals online, is where the opportunity lies. With increasing competition and the customer spoilt with choices, no business can afford to lose a customer once inside stores. Hence there is a need to provide the omni experience and allow the customer to choose her preferred platform to purchase.
Social media has always been a 1:1 medium and with stratified audiences generating almost 70 per cent of sales from Google, Facebook/Instagram, opportunity for brands to listen, converse and inspire customer to act is tremendous. Product, pricing, data, content, and delivery are the key fundamentals any omnichannel brand must deliver.

Omnichannel marketing in the GCC
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are already showing signs of embracing omnichannel features although it's still early days to judge performance. While the pureplay players such as Amazon.ae, Namshi, Jollychic and Noon run their online exclusive events and do not have physical stores to offer omni features, omnichannel players such as Landmark, Apparel, Alshaya and Al Tayer (to name a few) run Omni+ exclusive online events in their calendars. At the end of the day, the Omni customer shops 3x times of an offline or an online exclusive customer. There lies the opportunity to market.

Role of traditional media
For brands catering to the mass or mid-market segment, digital marketing cannot survive on its own. Worldwide multi-channel approach has helped brands gain incremental reach and awareness. Hence, while traditional media can help top funnel objectives, digital platforms helps convert. Apart from audience targeting, measurement and data capture, of course.

Better ROIs
We have seen from several omni campaigns (events which run concurrently in stores and online) how the power of 'one customer, one budget and one plan' helps achieve higher ROIs than a siloed approach. With store sales attribution products running on both Google and Facebook and CRM data driven tools, it's easier to measure ROIs across offline and online businesses.

Building omnichannel strategy
First step would be to understand the Omni customer, their triggers and choices well. Once the single view of the customer culture is adopted, then it is about building a strong omni trading calendar, budgets, teams, resources and plans. Great products, well priced and adequately merchandised are a given. The hardest part is the last mile - fulfillment and delivery. We have a long way to go to get that right.

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