For the last few months my colleagues and I have been talking internally about a revolution we see slowly building momentum in the minds of marketers and loyalty planners alike; the growth, development and implementation of an omnichannel loyalty marketing approach—the next phase of multichannel and omnichannel marketing.
The problem, though, is that marketers—let alone retailers—are still trying to catch their breath and tackle how to deliver a consistent omnichannel marketing experience. We believe loyalty plays a critical piece in this effort and recently released our own whitepaper to make the case. Omnichannel Loyalty – Designing the Ultimate Customer Experience defines what we would like to believe—in loyalty circles at least—begins a vital conversation about how marketers and loyalty specialists can evolve in these increasingly tech-centric times when consumers want to be engaged through all channels simultaneously, thereby allowing the user to decide which medium is their preferred choice, and not the marketer, and then delivering messages that are personalized and relevant. The essence of omnichannel loyalty is lofty and perhaps futuristic, but the technology exists to prepare for this eventuality today.
That’s why a recent National Retail Federation blog—a Q&A interview with Rob Gruen, the EV of Array Marketing, a custom merchandising solutions’ company—caught my eye. Gruen doesn’t exactly dismiss the coming omnichannel marketing revolution, but he anchors it to the in-store experience—an assertion that nevertheless waters down the importance of omnichannel loyalty across all channels and touchpoints. Rob’s advice is to not overlook basic in-store marketing principles like measuring foot traffic, in-store conversion rates, average transaction size, and spending time walking around your stores talking to customers and gaining feedback.
Good advice indeed but omnichannel loyalty is about so much more than just the in-store retail experience. It’s about connecting with customers and potential customers at the earliest stages of engagement. And as our whitepaper illustrates, that early engagement does not always begin in the store. It often begins when a customer wakes up and has that “ah ha” moment where they want to buy something. Better still, it can also be an “ah ha” moment soft-sold by the marketer themselves. In other words, the ideal loyalty pitch is when a customer buys something they never knew they needed or wanted, but even after purchase, they still don’t feel like they’ve been sold at all. That’s the type of seamlessness we’re talking about.
Omnichannel loyalty is (or should be) a required outgrowth of omnichannel marketing, and is only possible thanks to today’s latest technology—mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) and the data collecting capabilities to process the complete shopper picture, capturing and understanding their behavior, and then to segment that data. That’s not something that can be easily collected simply in-store with store managers and salespeople.
Of course it’s always smart to remind marketers about the basics. Besides, even with all the technological transaction wizardry about, the bulk of purchases still are made in-store and ecommerce is only a fraction of total spending. But with omnichannel loyalty, marketers would like to be present almost when a purchase has just been dreamed about.
Omnichannel loyalty has arrived. Want to learn more? Click here to download our whitepaper and further the conversation with your own colleagues.