3 expert tips to optimise your cross-channel marketing strategy
Today your customers are everywhere, and they are looking for your products anywhere and anytime! Digital has profoundly changed the consumption and purchase mechanisms of consumers: they move from one site to another, from one device to another, from virtual to the physical point of sale.
Now is the time for a true cross-channel strategy! For brands, this offers great prospects: reaching more potential customers by enabling them to access to your products across channels: website, e-mail, SMS, social networks... Be careful, however, to focus on the channels relevant to your business and to offer brand consistency within your consumer interactions (email, SMS, physical point of sale, app and web push-notifications...). The image of your brand and the experience you offer to your consumers must be consistent in a shopper's journey that has become nomadic.
Here are our 3 tips to help you meet this challenge and design a successful cross-channel strategy, without endangering your brand image.
1.Invest in your customer knowledge !
One thing is certain: a good cross-channel marketing strategy is based on an in-depth knowledge of your target customer. You need to know the channels your customer is already using to get in touch with you and evaluate their performance:
does your customer first look for information in-store and then buy the product online?
or is it the opposite?
To understand the role of the different channels, use your own user data to map and analyse your consumer behaviours.
Do not hesitate to ask your customers’ opinion and the points of improvement to unlock any barriers. Use the channels where they already interact with you: your website, app, social networks, SMS! Take into consideration their experiences and ideas; you will make the right decisions by listening to what your customers have to say.
For example: why continue to offer your customers a 100% digital experience if they would prefer buying additional products in store? This is an experience shared by many e-commerce sites that have set up a "Click & Collect" service (online purchase and order pick-up in store). The benefits? "Click & Collect" reduces delivery costs and generates in-store traffic, resulting to additional sales (for 26% of Click & Collect customers, according to a study by Next Content).
Case Zara: read the article on Adweek.com (January 2018)
2.(Re) think your cross-channel strategy based on the role of each channel
Depending on the image you want your brand to reflect, your customer/ consumer profiles and the nature of relationship you have with them, some channels are more appropriate than others. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
• Physical point of sale remains the essential channel for all brick and mortar retailers, but not only! Several initially 100% digital brands have developed their own connected hybrid stores, such as the e-tailer Sézane who launched its store “L’Appartement” (see New York Times article). The physical point of sale enables the brand to offer its customers a full brand experience, to create a human contact and a feeling of proximity. It can also incite consumers to buy more products, for example while they pick up their online purchased products in store (click & collect).
Crédits photo : lesjolismondes.fr
• Website: your virtual shop window accessible to the consumer at any time. Your website must be “alive”, constantly updated with recent news. It must reflect your brand image: colours, visuals and editorial style. Your website must enable customers to obtain information 24/7, and often to buy, book, find a point of sale, or to get in touch with you. Define the essential features of your website by asking your customers via a survey!
• Email: a channel that allows you decide when to communicate with your customers. The challenge is the open rate (by subscribers). To optimise open rates, build your email campaigns as you would tell a story, build scenarios and do not limit yourself to commercial offers (tips, tricks and ideas are always appreciated). Write emails regularly, as if they were part of a scenario in which the customer is a stakeholder. Talk to your customers about your brand, about them and what you could do together.
• Social networks: anchored in the daily lives of your customers, they help to create a close relationship. By developing a regular and friendly presence, your brand becomes more human and more accessible, especially on Facebook. As for Instagram, it invites people to discover your universe.
• SMS: anchored in our mobile habits for already 20 years, SMS is a very engaging channel, essential for many brands. In this channel the open rate of your messages is the best and the fastest. You can use SMS to send promotions, enable your customers to follow their orders, thank them for their loyalty, etc. A quite expensive channel but ultimately very effective, with often an amazing ROI!
Other channels exist (chatbots, mobile app and web push notifications...). Analyse these channels to identify the added value they could bring you and their degree of importance in your customers’ shopping journey.
3.Define the content and experience per touchpoint
By working various communication channels, be careful not to scatter your messages and to lose sight of your brand image. All the channels you use must work together. The more consistent your branding is across channels, the more powerful your message will be.
Consumers must learn to recognise your brand DNA (your values, convictions, the tone you use in interacting with your consumers, iconography...) on any channel/ medium. To get there, use the essential elements of your brand. There should be no image distortion on any of the channels you use. Otherwise your target customers may not recognise you, and you will miss out on valuable interactions.
Focus on building one coherent and unified brand image across channels!
The Boulanger case:
The French retailer, Boulanger, is a good example of brand continuity throughout virtual and physical channels! According to an LSA study, 70% of the Boulanger.fr website visitors go to the store.
In 2013, the brand opened its first Web-to-Store in Paris with a 100% fluid customer journey between web and physical store. It also has a dedicated page on Facebook.
While at home, customers can anticipate their arrival in store by arranging appointments in advance with a sales representative or an after-sales service. The sales representatives are equipped with tablets to be able to provide their customers with as much information as possible. The meetings take place in dedicated spaces to discuss the customer’s projects. The store is also equipped with in-store terminals to guide visitors in their choices.
As these examples demonstrate, each channel in your cross-channel strategy must have a specific role, work together and provide a consistent brand experience in line with your brand DNA.
They enable your customers to purchase from you while respecting each phase of the buyers’ decision-making journey.
Your challenge is then to monitor the cross-channel performance by implementing KPIs that should be regularly evaluated to ensure continuous improvement.
Do you want to learn more? Contact Qwamplify experts to ask your questions and to discuss your challenges