3 Keys to Creating Multi-Channel Campaigns

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May 11 2016, Posted by Lisa Cramer

Today, just 49% of shoppers feel that they receive a consistent experience across channels (Forrester).

Shoppers don’t differentiate their shopping experiences, and nor should you. As consumers continue to “merge” online and offline behavior, it becomes imperative that marketers address this merging as well—through integrated campaigns.

If you look at a typical scenario of how shoppers today seamlessly move between doing research online at home (via computer, tablet, mobile) to then heading to the store to touch and feel a product, to looking at their mobile device while in-store to access price comparisons and other product information and so on, it’s apparent that every time that shopper touches your brand, you should provide a consistent message. And if you really want successful campaigns or promotions, why shouldn’t they work the same way?

Of course, this is easier said than done. Let’s take a look at how to create this kind of “seamless” online – offline campaign so you get more “bang” for your efforts. There’s certainly a lot to cover, so for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on key items you need to be considering:

  1. Define the desired outcome

    For instance, if you’re a brand, do you want shoppers to buy more of product X? Or, if you’re a retailer, do you want to increase basket sizes by cross-merchandising categories X & Y? If so, what campaign or promotion(s) make sense for these shoppers? How could that campaign best play out along different channels—online stores, social media, mobile, physical stores, etc.? Rather than treating each channel the same, what unique role could each play to really knock that goal out of the park? How do these channels “intersect”? Meaning if the shopper is using a mobile device while in-store, how can both channels “play” off each other and emphasize the message/promotion you want? Obviously there’s a lot more to consider here, but for the sake of focus, we’ve boiled it down to these high-level questions. If you can answer these questions, you should be off to a decent start.

  2. Determine what’s possible & how you will target

    You need to determine within each channel (online, mobile and in-store) what’s available and how you will go about targeting and reaching out to shoppers. Obviously, you’ll have lots of flexibility and targeting abilities with your online website and email database. But, do you have a mobile app? Can you push mobile notifications? Can you tie wish lists abandoned shopping cart items to these notifications as shoppers walk-by a store? Do you have “buy buttons” included on your social channels? Do you know what your most shared/favorite-d items are? Do you have a loyalty program that this campaign will need to tie into? Do you have digital capabilities in-store to push content remotely? If you’re a brand merchandising inside a specific retailer, what’s your footprint like¬—how much space do you have to maybe put in a demo station or digital kiosk/display with helpful product information, price comparisons, reviews or fun, interactive content? If you’re a retailer, what communications will you put in across your stores to play up your campaign?

    You’ll likely find that the biggest question marks will be around your in-store capabilities. However, this channel is not to be overlooked. It has the greatest chance for conversion—shoppers are 9-12X more likely to convert in-store than online (Bain). And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 91% of all U.S. retail sales occur in-store.

  3. Map out anonymous vs. known communications

    Next you’ll need to strategize how these campaigns will play out across channels for different shoppers, including both anonymous and known shoppers.

    Most likely the majority of your shoppers will be anonymous—meaning you don’t know who they are. Since, you have no personal information stored on them, you’ll have to decide how to most effectively target them with relevant communications.

    In the online world, we know that we can advertise based on gender and age, if that makes sense for your product. Certainly, the more relevant the content/promotion, the more effective it is as far as conversion. So, targeting by demographics—including income—makes tremendous sense. The question becomes, what about in the store? Do you have any way of continuing that content/promotional targeting?

    3 Ways to Convert Shoppers with Digital In-StoreThe answer is yes, if you have some kind of digital capability in-store. Digital screens with dynamic content capabilities allow you to serve up content based on triggers such as store location, date/time, etc. You get the ultimate control (at a reasonable price these days) to coordinate what the shopper is seeing online with what they see in the store. And, by combining in-store analytics technologies with these digital screens, you can also target content in-store based on age and gender. How you ask? As shoppers are standing in front of your product, category, window display, etc, the analytics can identify a shoppers’ gender and age in real-time trigger relevant content based on these determinations. Again, the advantage is to better target that specific shopper with the most relevant message at that specific moment to have the greatest impact.

    Additionally, for your anonymous shoppers, you might want to consider building-in ways to help convert them into known shoppers so that you can have a greater impact on future promotions. If so, a strategy needs to be explored that prompts the user to enter an email address in exchange for some value. It’s important that you really start with just an email address and no questions asked. Only over time, as the relationship is nurtured should you ask for more information and, in true relationship fashion, offer exclusive status or rewards.

    On the other hand, there might be certain shoppers who have purchased from you before or who have signed up for your emails—these are known shoppers. Hopefully, you have them and any of their digital behaviors along with purchase history saved in your CRM system. If so, you’ll want to fully personalize your campaign communications to them for the greatest impact.

    In addition to mapping out content for email, website promotions and dynamic in-store content, discussed earlier, you can also use geofencing technologies to ping shoppers outside or nearby the retail store or beacons to ping shoppers inside the retail store with relevant offers based on their location via their mobile device. Keep in mind that, regardless of method, personalization, specific to a shopper’s location, definitely increases likelihood of conversion. In fact, 57% of customers are more likely to engage with advertising that is location-based than other forms of advertising (JiWire).

Today shoppers have lots of options—just getting them to consider your brand is a big challenge, but converting them to a sale is another feat in itself. Today multi-channel campaigns are a critical piece in winning both of these challenges. And, while creating compelling, multi-channel campaigns, is definitely a big topic, I wanted to breakdown the key areas that brands and retailers must pay attention to given the complexities of today’s retail. Brands and retailers that execute on this strategy will certainly be ahead of the rest.

Image Copyright: takasumi / 123RF Stock Photo

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