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Understanding Omnichannel Marketing for Ecommerce Stores

“Toot, toot, toot,” says the solo trombone. [Silence.] “Bum, bum, bum,” goes the bass drum. [Silence.] “Maraca, maraca, maraca,” says the solo maraca. This is how multichannel marketing would sound if it was an orchestra. Each instrument represents one single communication channel, and each plays at its own designated time.

“TootBumMaraca, TootBumMaraca, TootBumMaraca.” This is how omnichannel marketing would sound if it was an orchestra. Each instrument represents one single communication channel, yet each instrument plays in perfect unison with the other instruments. Now, let’s add in the plucking of a cello … TootBumMaracaPluck … and now a shrilly Psycho-themed violin … TootBumMaracaPluckReekReekReek … and finally let’s add in a heavenly angelic choir of angels for the ultimate crescendo …TootBumMaracaPluckReekReekReekLAAAAAAAAAA! 

This is how multichannel marketing would sound at its finest.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the ins and out of everything omnichannel marketing. We’ll cover effective omnichannel strategies as well as examples of brands that are putting effective strategies to work. We’ll also touch on how omnichannel marketing can help your ecommerce business, and we’ll end with a few of the best resources out there for helping to build an omnichannel marketing strategy. 

Effective Omnichannel Marketing Strategies 

How does an omnichannel marketing strategy work?

We’re going to venture a guess that you’ve probably heard of multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing. But did you know there’s actually a difference between the two?

In its most boiled-down sense, multichannel marketing is marketing that reaches a target audience through multiple communication channels or platforms throughout the customer journey. Marketing channels and platforms are literally everywhere you turn—from social media platforms, blogs, and email, to SMS text messaging, and even postal mail. 

Multichannel marketing helps a business promote and sell its products basically anywhere a customer spends their time, and for this reason multichannel is all about choice. Customers are able to interact and purchase an ecommerce store’s products through whatever channel or platform they like best, thus giving the customer the ultimate choice of how and when to buy.  

Omnichannel marketing, though, is like multichannel marketing on steroids. While it recognizes customers across different channels and platforms, it goes the extra step of merging all of the data from those multichannel interactions to deliver the ultimate personalized and consistent messaging—one that even has the power to change through every unique customer interaction. 

Omnichannel marketing provides a seamless shopping experience as it overlaps between the physical, digital, social, and mobile worlds to put the customer at the very core to ensure a consistent and unified experience at every touchpoint. Omnichannel literally means “all channels,” and it breaks down barriers between channels to create one unified whole. In omnichannel marketing, the customer’s experience lies at the very heart of the strategy.

What should you look for in an omnichannel marketing strategy?

When it comes to an effective omnichannel marketing strategy for your ecommerce business, a “customer-first” approach should be at the center of your strategy. After all, omnichannel marketing is all about the customer. With this in mind, here are two omnichannel marketing strategies that can help your business tackle the customer-first approach.  

#1 Personalization. Given the fact that a whopping 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers to them, personalized messages can help drive sales and ensure that your brand stays front-and-center in the mind of the customer no matter where they are in their buying journey.

Drip’s Ecommerce CRM platform is filled to the brim with tools that allow for spot-on personalization. From deep segmentation capabilities that let you see exactly what shoppers are browsing and buying, to dynamic price-drop notifications, discount codes, and product recommendations, Drip can help your online store take personalization to a whole new level.  

#2 Automation. Trying to run an ecommerce store without automation is like Clark Griswold trying to deliver the most fun-filled old-fashioned family Christmas ever—both result in full-blown, four-alarm emergencies. A great time to engage with customers is when they’re opening your emails or visiting your site, and with behavior-based automations and workflows—like those found within Drip’s platform—your business can automatically engage at critical moments during the customer experience.

Create if-this-then-that rules and workflows that react at the right place and time, apply and remove tags to help you gain a deeper understanding of each customer, utilize pre-built workflows to save you time— heck, the automation sky is the limit. Incorporating automation into your online business’ omnichannel marketing strategy will not only save you time AND money (a win-win combination), but it’ll also save your sanity (a win-win-WIN combination). 

How can omnichannel marketing improve your online business?

Omnichannel marketing has the potential to improve your business a few different ways. For starters, because its main approach is all about providing customers with a seamless, integrated shopping experience, omnichannel marketing focuses entirely on the customer—which is great for personalization. While a multichannel marketing approach aims to get your business’ name into the world by utilizing channels to the max, omnichannel marketing pulls together all touchpoints to harmonize the user experience into one big, happy whole.

Omnichannel marketing also improves your business because it presents a consistent brand image and voice to your customers. A consistent marketing message provides a sense of familiarity to which a customer can relate, and with a heightened sense of familiarity comes more trust and, at the end of the day, more sales. 

Brands with the Best Omnichannel Marketing Strategies 

What are some brands that are using omnichannel marketing successfully?

There are numerous brands that have tackled omnichannel marketing successfully. Here are a few that stand out:  

REI. Recreational Equipment Inc., mainly referred to as REI, does a great job of merging the physical in-store world with the digital online world. With a focus on ensuring a personalized shopping experience, REI’s app lets a shopper scan a barcode to reveal what other users think of the product. A shopper simply scans a barcode from their smartphone and voila! instant details and reviews pop up on the screen. Additionally, REI unites the experiences you have in-store with what you’re doing online by doing things like following up about items you bought in-person.

Sephora. Even if you’re not into cosmetics or skincare products, visiting a Sephora store should be on your to-do list if you’re looking to catch omnichannel marketing at its finest. The company’s mobile app utilizes location-based marketing and instantly recognizes when a consumer enters one of its stores.

While inside the store, relevant info—like sweet deals—gets sent to the shopper’s phone, and shoppers can also check out different shades of lipsticks and styles on in-store tablets. Then, once the shopper exits the store, Sephora keeps its brand front and center in the shopper’s mind by sending personalized emails and mobile app experiences like new trends, new products, and video tutorials.  

Timberland. An outdoor-wear retailer that also has a focus on footwear, Timberland uses near-field communication (NFC) technology—a form of contact-free communication between devices like a smartphone and a tablet—to merge its physical in-store world with the digital world.

Throughout Timberland stores, customers can tap on tablets and digital installations to learn more about the products and to see exactly which products are available in-store and which are sold online only. In-store engagement requires no sign-up, and no download or app. Then, at the end of the shopping spree, customers can choose to opt-in via email and receive personalized content related to their store visit. 

What do brands with successful omnichannel marketing strategies have in common?

What’s the single most important omnichannel marketing strategy that all three of the examples above share in common? We’ll give you a hint: It appears as a 12-letter word in each descriptive paragraph … [cue Jeopardy thinking music] … it starts with a “p” and ends with an “ed” … yes, you’re correct—personalized! 

All three brands focus on creating a personalized shopping experience for customers. Whether it’s a detailed review of bear safety gear that pops up on your smartphone with the scan of a barcode, or in-store interactive digital installations that let you learn more about the pair of shoes or the jacket you’re eyeing to buy, a personalized experience is at the very center of each brand’s omnichannel marketing strategy.

What do brands with successful omnichannel marketing strategies avoid?

Because personalization is an important part of an omnichannel marketing strategy that can set your business apart from its competitors, you probably won’t see any of the above brands send generic email blasts or non-personalized messages to customers. After all, what’s worse than getting notifications about the Luggable Loo portable toilet when you have zero interest in camping or doing your business outdoors.

How Omnichannel Marketing Can Help Your Business Succeed 

How does omnichannel marketing improve customer experience?

An omnichannel marketing approach has the potential to improve customer experience because it offers a few pretty priceless benefits.

1. A consistent experience for the customer. Because omnichannel marketing is a strategy that syncs all communications channels together—from email and website to social media, storefront, and more—it provides a customer with an overall consistent brand message and experience.

So whether customer Sue is checking out your store’s emails from her tablet at home, or she’s sitting on a beach in Maui sipping piña coladas and rounding down your store’s checkout aisle from her smartphone, omnichannel marketing ensures customer Sue is having a seamless and consistent experience with your brand no matter where she’s spending her time.

2. A personalized shopping experience for the customer. Omnichannel marketing also improves customer experience because it creates a completely personalized experience. Omnichannel marketing recognizes customers across different devices and channels, and it merges all of the multichannel interactions together to deliver the ultimate personalized messaging experience.

Through personalized messages, customers can receive dynamic discounts, abandoned cart reminders, product recommendations, and a zillion other messages that sync together to provide a seamless experience between customer and business.

3. Brand familiarity. Great omnichannel marketing strategies lead to increased awareness throughout your target audience. By connecting with customers through personalized messages—sending dynamic discounts, product recommendations, shopping cart abandonment reminders—your brand creates a sense of familiarity with its base audience. People like to feel valued, and they love to receive personalized “hellos.” Omnichannel marketing creates brand familiarity across all channels so that your business is always in the mind of the shopper.  

Why is it helpful to streamline the elements of the customer experience?

Friction in the customer experience can dramatically reduce repeat purchases and retention rates. In the ecommerce world, the timing of your business’ messages plays a big role in whether or not a customer will continue interacting with your brand.

Did you know that 54% of consumers expect to receive a personalized discount within 24 hours of identifying themselves to a brand? And, on top of that stat, 32% expect a discount to be issued after just one hour. Talk about down-to-the-wire timing! If your ecommerce business isn’t taking full advantage of sending out automated personalized messages at the right time, you may be missing your window of opportunity to make that final sale.  

How can you incorporate omnichannel marketing into your existing marketing strategy?

If you’re looking to incorporate omnichannel marketing into your online business’ existing marketing strategy, here are a few tips to get you started:

Start small. Remember our earlier reference to Christmas Vacation and Clark Griswold trying to deliver the most fun-filled old-fashioned family Christmas ever? If you’ve seen the 1989 classic, you already know that Clark’s ambitions to tackle everything Christmas all at once leads to an uprooted Rockefeller-sized Christmas tree, 25,000 twinkle lights that cause a citywide power outage, and a squirrel that runs amuck inside a house. Don’t be Clark Griswold. Don’t try tackling all tasks at one time. 

Instead, start setting up interactions between two or three of your channels. For example, connect your ecommerce platform to your email marketing so that when someone buys an item from your shop, an email is locked-and-loaded with a thank you message coupon, or upsell. Once that’s worked out, integrate Facebook Custom Audiences for specific items or categories that launch only after customers open the related email.

Know your audience. Are the majority of your customers spending their time in email? Are they more inclined to shop with you through their smartphone? Are they craving the smooth, tactile feel of physical mail? It’s important to know where your customers are spending their time so that your business can send targeted messages through the most relevant communication channels.

See what your ecommerce platform offers. For example, Shopify offers some handy built-in features and tools to help get you started with an omnichannel marketing strategy straight away. While these built-in features are somewhat limited in the apps (after all, these apps are focused on creating the best selling platform, not the best marketing platform), they’re a good place to try which channels you want to explore more.

Automate. Marketing automation helps a business connect with its customers in more personal ways. It helps a business grow its lists and drive new leads, it helps to nurture leads through email marketing, it allows for segmentation capabilities, it lets a business track website analytics, and it helps to manage the overall relationship between ecommerce business and customer.

Invest in an Ecommerce CRM platform. Drip’s Ecommerce CRM platform is designed to help you build better, more profitable relationships with your shoppers by connecting all of your ecommerce data to your marketing strategy. Get a full understanding of every person who interacts with your ecommerce brand, send automated personalized messaging, engage with people at the most impactful moments by sending a welcome campaign or an abandoned cart email reminder, and keep up-to-date on all of your marketing efforts with engagement metrics (opens, clicks, and unsubscribes), overall revenue, and everything in-between. 

Resources for Building an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy 

Where can you find resources for building an omnichannel marketing strategy?

So, let’s just say that after reading this blog you’ve decided you’re interested in omnichannel marketing (excellent!), you think it’ll be great to implement into your ecommerce business (more excellent!), but you’re not entirely sure how to get an omnichannel marketing strategy up and running. No worries! We’ve done our research and put together a few top resources that can help to guide you along your omnichannel path.

Shopify. We’ve mentioned the ecommerce platform before, but it’s worth mentioning again because the platform is filled with insightful omnichannel marketing blogs, tips on how to pick an omnichannel commerce solution, in-depth looks at brands that use effective omnichannel marketing strategies, and a whole boatload of other tools to help your ecommerce store move in the direction toward omnichannel marketing.

Digital shops and agencies. If human interaction is what you’re craving, reach out to a small digital shop or agency that specializes in omnichannel marketing. Agencies will have whole teams dedicated to identifying your strongest channels and setting up your strategies. A quick Google search will probably reveal marketing businesses you had no idea existed right in your neighborhood. 

Drip ECRM. As a platform designed to bring a brand closer to its customers—and one that’s 100% designed for the buying and selling of anything online—Drip ECRM is loaded with tools and knowledge on all things omnichannel marketing. From blogs (like this one!), our learning hub MyDrip, and a customer service base with live humans, to big-data dashboards that measure revenue and customer stats, behavior-based automations, split testing in workflows … we could go on and on. 

What resources could be useful to marketers looking to build an omnichannel marketing strategy?

We’ve mentioned a few omnichannel marketing strategy resources before—such as knowledge bases, blogs, and digital agencies—but another great way to build an omnichannel marketing strategy for your ecommerce business is to see what other companies are up to.

Sephora, REI, Timberland—we listed those brands as omnichannel marketing standouts, but those are only the tip of the iceberg. Other notable brands with great omnichannel marketing strategies include Disney, Crate and Barrel, Starbucks, and more. 

You might also consider your own “undercover” testing. For example, check out a brand or company you admire, load a few items into the ecommerce store’s shopping cart, leave the site, and see what happens. Do you get a “you forgot this!” automated shopping cart abandonment message within an hour? Within 3 hours? Do you find a 25% off coupon in your email the following day? Are the ads on your Facebook account suddenly advertising exactly what you were “undercover” shopping for? Sometimes testing the waters is all it takes to generate new ideas for your business.

Now Is the Time to Build Your Own Omnichannel Marketing Orchestra

While the idea of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy into your current business strategy may seem daunting and overwhelming, it’s an effective marketing approach that, when done correctly, can give your online business an advantage over the competition and reel in the big bucks of success. So if you’re ready to make the jump to omnichannel marketing, simply “toot, toot, toot” your horn, and Drip will be ready to help orchestrate the transition. 

 

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