Customers who shop online and in-person spend on average 4% more on each in-store trip and 10% more online than shoppers visiting only one channel, according to the Harvard Business Review. Coordinating online and offline marketing requires following omnichannel best practices—including being mindful of your budget and resources, keeping consumer data uniform, and offering a seamless, experience to customers.
Whether your business is reaching a customer through in-store signage, social media, or face-to-face interactions, the experience you provide should be positive, consistent, and meaningful. As you consider running a business with both a physical and digital footprint, read on to learn how to develop a singular, coordinated promotional strategy.
Develop a Cross-Channel Strategy
Documenting your cross-channel strategy helps define what success looks like offline and online, describes the reasoning behind your omnichannel marketing approach, and reduces issues that may arise (like the duplication of efforts or spending time on the wrong channels).
Start by creating a one-page plan that outlines your existing goals, target personas, and marketing initiatives—they'll need to be expanded upon to account for online activities. Here's what the plan should include in more detail:
Outline three to five marketing goals for your business, like generating awareness or increasing engagement with customers. Next, pair each goal with three to five key performance indicators (KPIs) that account for how it'll be measured online and offline. For example, generating awareness as a marketing goal could be monitored by the number of page views on your website and the number of in-store visits from neighborhood foot traffic.
Beyond what's known about your existing customers (like their job, age, income, education, etc.), add online behaviors to your profiles of each persona. This will inform your approach to marketing to them across digital channels. These might include their preferred methods of online communication, social networks they're active on, topics they most often search online, blogs and digital publications they read, or other places they like to shop online.
Avoid spreading your promotional efforts too thinly by focusing on two to three marketing channels that will allow you to reach your target audience online and offline. List the channels you'll test to see if your customers respond to your offerings and messaging, which should then inform where you'll invest further. Whether that’s focusing on direct mail, Instagram or both, it’s important to achieve your goals and provide value to your target personas with these channels.
Use Online Channels to Drive Attention to In-Store Events and Experiences
With an understanding of your marketing priorities, it’s time to execute your cross-channel strategy by making use of the distinct qualities of both online and in-store retail.
Beyond promoting your products, use online channels like email and social media to draw attention to events and experiences offered in-store. While driving purchases is a practical focus, the best way to have a memorable interaction with customers is to get them to visit your retail location.
Since you’re able to control more of the experience in person, host in-store events related to your product offerings and promote them consistently online. This matters, as 49% of consumers surveyed said they visited stores more often due to the introduction of food and entertainment options.
For example, Lululemon, the apparel brand that specializes in yoga and running gear, regularly hosts free yoga and workout classes, as well as running clubs at their stores. Many of their stores have their own email newsletters and Facebook pages to alert their regional customers of upcoming events, which help to drive consistent in-store traffic.
In addition, use social media, articles, or video to highlight service experiences that provide value to customers, relate to your products, and are only available in-store.
For instance, TuxMat is a company that produces custom car mats designed to match the specific dimensions of any vehicle make or model. When customers make a purchase at their retail showroom, their team will also install the custom car mats for them at no additional charge—streamlining the experience for in-store visitors. The company promotes its custom installation options on Instagram and Facebook, highlighting one of the key benefits of visiting its retail store.
Sync Your Communications Efforts Online and In-Store
To grow your business, all your communications efforts online should support your in-store activity and vice versa. What’s advantageous about your online presence is the ability to communicate with your customers long-term over email, a loyalty program, or social media.
Ongoing communication with customers matters, as 81% of U.S. small and mid-size retailers surveyed found email marketing to be their top source of customer acquisition and retention.
Building an email list, social media following, or loyalty program online can help your business:
- Promote exclusive in-store offers and sales.
- Highlight articles and videos created by your business that provide relevant advice or showcase your products.
- Alert your customers to in-store services and seasonal events.
At the same time, your ability to interact with customers face-to-face in-store is an opportunity to expand your list of online customer contacts, and provide your business with a channel for consistently encouraging more in-store visits.
To sign up customers in a nonintrusive way in-store:
- Ask for their emails at checkout to support your email marketing.
- Alert them to the benefits of your loyalty program.
- Draw attention to the ongoing offers shared on your social media accounts.
The goal is to be purposeful when talking with customers to drive sales, but ensure you’re able to communicate with them again by supporting your online efforts.
Measuring Omnichannel Marketing
To understand if your organization’s efforts across channels are succeeding, identify a more balanced mix of KPIs that highlight success online and in-store.
While your business and sales goals will remain the same, the KPIs paired with each goal should reflect customer activity online and in-store. Depending on where you're active, here is a range of KPIs to consider:
- Website page views (Online)
- Website users (Online)
- Social media impressions (Online)
- Video views (Online)
- Retail visitors (In-store)
- Pages per session (Online)
- Average session duration (Online)
- Average stay time (In-store)
- Social media interactions (Online)
- Email sign-ups (Both)
- Redemption rate of coupons and gift cards (Both)
- Monthly revenue (Both)
- Revenue growth (Both)
- Sales per square foot (In-Store)
- Conversion rate (Online)
- Customer acquisition costs (Both)
- Gross margin (Both)
- Cost of goods sold (Both)
- Lifetime customer value (Both)
- Customer retention rate (Both)
- Net promoter score (Both)
- Repeat purchase rate (Both)
Since there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all KPI, it’s important to choose metrics that align with your business performance goals. Determine which measurement tools are the most effective for accurately tracking and reporting on the metrics you’ve identified.
KPIs about your website (like average session duration or page views) can be calculated with measurement tools like Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, or MixPanel.
For KPIs associated with in-store interactions (like the number of people visiting your retail locations or sales per square foot), use tools like Square Analytics or Springboard Retail.
Creating target KPIs for your marketing goals will help you understand which online and offline tactics are working and which tactics need to be optimized (or abandoned all together). By keeping a pulse on performance metrics you can optimize and reinvest in initiatives which drive the most revenue for your business.
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