Brands appear to be going omnichannel, adopting new platforms and tools as they appear, in an effort to be present everywhere, all the time. However, new technologies sound promising but often don’t deliver. Alejandro Tauber the former editor-in-chief of thenextweb.com shares some of the most promising trends and how they can be used to create more engagement for brands.
Virtual and mixed reality shopping assistance
Value added: boosting customer service.
Brick-and-mortar shopping has the advantage of always having someone around to help you out. The same can be done for virtual shoppers. A Forrester study found 52% of brands investing in ways to help brand representatives communicate with prospective shoppers in real time through the media and channels they are on – such as chat, text, social, video.
These representatives needed to be treated as a specific brand audience who require their own marketing programs. They need to be trained on brand purpose, tone and messaging, to ensure consistency and quality of communication with customers.
Some stores introduce mixed reality shopping assistance. Dutch supermarket, Albert Heijn, introduced an AR application that automatically creates a shopping list from recipes chosen by shoppers. When in-store, the app directs the shopper to where each product is located and provides information on discounts and special offers.
Upgraded social selling
Value added: generating more sales on social media
A Statista survey showed that sales via social media channels will triple by 2025. About half of China’s internet users are already shopping on social networks. They spent over USD351 billion in 2021, almost 10 times the USD36 billion spent by US social shoppers.
Live video accounted for 21% of total physical goods sold online in China, in the first half of 2021. Forrester says 81% of companies plan to increase or maintain investment in livestream selling over the next 12 months.
Live videos are great for product demonstrations, virtual showroom visits or even on-appointment personal shopping. Amazon, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook already offer tools for live commerce, requiring only the right content to go with the flow. KitKat tripled its online sales by hosting a Facebook Live event for its Chocolatory Australia campaign.
Channel selection is also important, depending on where your target customers are.
Using push notifications to re-engage
Value added: converts one-time shoppers into repeat customers
One great way to convert one-time shoppers into long-term customers is through push notifications. If brands can get shoppers to opt-in, they can push their latest news, new products and personalised discounts directly to shoppers’ devices.
Companies can send well-timed nudges to customers to come back, check out new products, or replenish their previous purchase. However, they must be careful not to be too pushy.
58% of customers expect follow-up messages after making a purchase. A well-timed follow-up message can build relationships with the customer, and if tailored correctly, can lead to continued business.
Offline is the new online, and vice-versa
Value added: making the buying experience seamless
“Phygital” is the hottest buzzword in omnichannel retail in 2022. Even online brands are opening up brick-and-mortar showrooms to let customers physically experience their products. In the Forrester study, 54% of surveyed consumers said they’re likely to look at a product online and buy it in a store; 53% said they’d look in-store and buy online.
Experience is not the only reason – omnichannel is about convenience. Shops offer a location where needs can be instantly gratified for people who just can’t wait. Moreover, customers who pick-up in a physical store can be exposed to more products and brand messaging, increasing the likelihood of future purchases.
Build communities, not third-party data
Value added: increasing brand awareness and retention
With third-party cookies being restricted, omnichannel retailers must find ways to generate first-party data – given voluntarily to the retailers. To do this, they need to gain trust, and trust is created by a sense of community.
A strong community building team that leverages appropriate channels – chat rooms, in-person or online experiences – for a brand’s personality can increase customer retention and brand awareness.
Communities take commitment and time to form. Yet, with a clear purpose and well-defined success metrics, a community can deliver a sense of ownership, exclusivity and identity to customers, who in turn will be more likely to share data and have an incentive to keep coming back for more.
Alejandro’s full article can be found at https://thenextweb.com/news/5-omnichannel-trends-integrate-into-marketing-strategy-2022
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