Stimulus Australasia
ENTERPRISE DIGITAL SOLUTIONS

Omnichanel strategy

Omnichannel strategy

Examples of how Australian companies do it well

Most businesses today use a mix of marketing tools, sites and platforms, including websites, social media and sales apps, as well as advertising, flyers, billboards and more.

Here we look at the best examples of how companies within Australia use omnichannel marketing to create consistent, compelling and engaging interactions for their customers.

 

What do we mean by omnichannel marketing?

When you chose an omnichannel approach for your enterprise business, you will be working to ensure that there is consistent messaging, content and design across any media channel you use.

This model creates a seamless and unified experience for customers as they navigate through your online platform, brick and mortar stores or offices, and through any other marketing they encounter.

By creating consistent messages, your customers will have a clear sense of who you are and what you are about, and be comfortable in their interactions with you; whatever the channel.

 

Merging online and offline experiences in stores

Ikea have long been leaders in creating marketing messages that are unique, heartfelt and somehow tailored to individual customers.

To suit the diverse needs of customers, they now offer in-store, in home and virtual design and planning appointments. The Ikea Place app allows users to get a view of how products might look in a true-to-scale version of their bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

Businesses that can build consistency between their traditional stores and their on-line persona are more likely to retain customers, have higher repeat visits and customers who express significantly higher rates of brand loyalty.

 

Going mobile

One of the biggest opportunities for connecting with customers in direct and meaningful way is through the use of mobile technology.

Companies like the Australian arm of Sephora use customer data to influence the content on their mobile website. Sephora realised that more than half of purchases made in store have been researched online before the customer attends the shop front.

Flash sales are advertised on the mobile site to encourage customers who might have been browsing and viewing products to head in store and complete the purchase. Real-time data can also be delivered to mobile phones which gives customers the capability to check product availability in any store.

 

Engagement all the way

Consumers are becoming more discerning and in many cases are ceasing following and turning away from companies they consider to be unresponsive, inattentive or not listening.

Following the recent changes that Facebook made to their algorithms, some companies are struggling to get their content in front of their social fans.

Cibo Espresso started life as small single outlet in Adelaide, but have grown to have stores right across Australia.

With the careful design of social media content and the creation of a loyal community of customers, they have a brand profile that translates from Facebook right through to their website.

Customer photos, posts that invite responses, competitions and other communications prompt high levels of engagement across all content.

 

Creating an online community

Kidspot is a website with content curated especially for parents. They created a loyal reader base of parents who would read articles online and also engage in chat in groups and forums set up on Facebook.

They decided to set up a space within their own site that was akin to Facebook; to bring their customers onto their site rather than having them interact at a third party site.

Kidspot has created a secure, friendly and loyal community of highly engaged users and an accompanying set of data profiles useful for target marketing and messaging. With a huge, active and connected community, the site was sold almost ten years ago for $45 million.

 

Bring make up style from histogram to the consumer

L’Oreal are leaders in makeup and hair product industry, and have a loyal and established customer base. But L’Oreal recently proved they are an innovative digital brand that understands what consumers want and need.

Their commitment to using data and tech was confirmed when they became the first big beauty company to employ a chief digital officer. One of the cutting edge customer solutions they rolled out used AR technology.

They have enabled customers to try out products using Modiface a Virtual Hair and Makeup Try On service available from within their website.

Customers can upload photos or use in-device cameras to experiment with colours and shades, previewing more than 100 styles with augmented reality tools. Customers can even seek to replicate styles they view on social media posts or in high-end fashion campaigns.

 

One tag line- many placements

You’ve probably seen the commercials, the web advertisements and the advertising on busses. UberEats ’“Tonight I’ll be eating” campaign featured several installments in a series where celebrity brand ambassadors described what they would be having for dinner.

UberEats went all out with this campaign; rather than developing individual messages for target segments, they focused on this tag line and messaging.

The campaign had high saturation, generated 50 million media impressions and 204 million online views. "Tonight I’ll be eating” has had in excess of 90,000 shares on social media, with a 98% positive reception.

 

Making the most of Movember

The best omnichannel campaigns aren't only created by retail and commercial vendors. Cause marketing benefits from the omini approach, as demonstrated by Movember.

This campaign focuses on improving men’s mental health and the prevention of suicide, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.

This annual men’s health fundraising charity engages on social media through personalised email and showcasing user content. These outlets all link back to the main website where users can donate, register or get involved.

A balance between careful message and a bit of fun helps ensure Movember get the tone of their content just right. Simple and funny, Movember make fundraising a talking point in workplaces, sports clubs and across the community.

Although it’s about bloke’s health, Movember didn’t exclude women from this camping either, creating opportunities for engagement for women, who are typically bigger users of social apps.

 

Looking to the World Wildlife Fund

The World Wild Wildlife fund may well be one of the best-known charities in the world. And they have a competitive omnichannel strategy.

They run a regular email marketing campaign that keeps customers connected and updated about programs and initiatives.

One way they combine email marketing with website content is by sending email updated with the number of subscribers for a particular cause or initiative. They offer digital membership cards and use branded materials and gifts to give their brand ambassador’s merchandise to raise awareness in the real world.

They are certainly present in many physical and online spaces, and so well known that you can know even ask Alexa to help youmake a donation to World Wildlife Fund. Integration with voice search systems is an increasingly important to give your customers a quick way of finding you.

 

The need for speed

It has estimated that this year, 53.9% of all ecommerce sales will occur on mobile devices. Consumers are likely to switch devices several times before they commit to a purchase.

For this reason, optimising the mobile experience is crucial. Time matters. It is thought that more than half of all consumers will abandon a site that takes longer than a couple of seconds to load.

The use of an accelerated mobile app (AMP) enables near-instant download of HTML copy for a phone. Clothing brand George reported that by improving mobile load speed by even one second, it increased their revenue by 5%.

 

Follow the journey

Effective omnichannel marketing allows you to demonstrate how you understand your customer’s interests and motivations.

One company that does really well at using each channel for its intended use is print company Scholastica. They have an extensive presence on Pinterest, which they use to showcase their beautiful and much-loved book collection. Their boards are so clear, bright and engaging that you can spend hours browsing.

Their boards aren’t full of advertising; there is no need. It’s so nicely done that it’s hard not to hit the webpage link and start spending. And, to sweeten the deal, customers via Pinterest can access a special discount voucher. Brilliant!

 

 

Social to web

Customers are highly mobile, across websites and apps, through email and links. Hopping between channels with an expectation of consistency is normal.

Appliance and homewares company Delonghi lured Instagram followers back to their website by encouraging them to take the test to determine ’what’s the best coffee machine for me?’ Building strong connections from social accounts to your website will give you the best opportunity to showcase your range and convert curious browsers into repeat customers.

 

Uniqlo grabs customers' attention

The Japanese company that is known for its simple, comfortable clothing has received praise for its innovative omnichannel marketing.

As they opened a suite of new stores in Australia, Uniqlo rolled out an engaging multichannel initiative. A digital display board was set up in locations around Australia.

The display would change rapidly, frequently generating unique codes that customers could scan or photograph.

These customers could then upload their unique 5-digit code to the Uniqlo website. Once on the site, they would be informed about the product range, taken through several screens before being notified they had won a shirt or could use their coupon code for a discount in store.

 

Chatbots working for government departments

If one of your brand values is to be accessible and have a strong customer focus, a chatbot can help you provide a level of service at any time of the day or night.

AI-powered chatbots often pair conversational data with customer profiles to answer questions without human help. With enough data, bots can be trained to handle more sophisticated queries. They can also be a great way of point users to where they need to be, and are useful for high-volume traders who need to be available for hundreds of users at the same time.

Government departments around Australia such as the tax office are now investing in chatbots, along with universities including the University of Canberra, Deakin University, and the University of Adelaide.

Allowing customers access to self-service materials is a great way of building both brand and positive relationships.

 

Citbank reap the rewards

Banks can do well with the omnichannel approach too. Citibank converted their hugely successful Thank You rewards program on the USA to Citi Rewards here in Australia.

This rewards campaign has been equally successful here, because Citi acknowledge the need for partnerships with other companies.

They have made clear their commitment to reminding members that they can redeem rewards "anytime, anywhere," a characteristic that has become increasingly vital to any loyalty program hoping to drive customer engagement.

 

Synchronised product information and inventory

Having a smart software system underpin your marketing and communications is critical. Your platform should be smart enough to handle multiple sites and accounts, and help you to ensure that inventory and stock levels are accurate and updated across any and all your spaces.

Data sets that aren’t combined or cohesive can cause epic confusion for customers. Billabong found a software solution that integrated all of their third-party apps and allowed them to maintain a strong brand presence to boot.

 

Know and understand buying habits

There sure has been a lot of change in consumer buying habits over the last two years.

With delays, a huge increase in the number of people shopping online, the closure of retail stores and for some companies a slowdown due to stock availability, the marketplace is unlikely to return to how it was any time soon. Online giant Catch have been encouraging their customers to think about what they need for Christmas... in July, with their Xmas in July sale.

To prepare for unexpected changes to the market, many online retailers are now using omnichannel strategies and tech to help them manage demand and customer expectations.

 

Using omnichannel marketing in response to COVID-19

While omnichannel marketing has been an approach on the rise for the last ten years, the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated an already present shift towards retail ecommerce.

Over the last eighteen months, just about every business has been forced to think about how they operate in a cohesive way in an increasingly online environment, and most retailers have needed to be much more strategic about the need for an omnichannel strategy.

This has also lead to significant investment in omnichannel capabilities amongst medium to large size enterprises. Companies like JB Hi-Fi used omnichannel to full effect during COVID-19 lockdown and have continued to increase profits right through the start of 2021, when they were up 86%, as a result.

 

Ensure your customers have options

For most businesses there was a real need to diversify their sales and delivery options during COVID-19, and the challenge for those operating in an omnichannel framework was keeping it consistent. For businesses that were still able to operate retail, food and beverage, grocery or other shop fronts, there was a real need to keep in store experiences consistent and safe.

But at the same time they had to learn how to juggle new services such as click and collect, local delivery or shipping to alternate drop off point.

There were also new payment gateways and payment options to be implemented and rolled into broader communication systems.

Many businesses that pivoted to offer AfterPay services noticed a higher average order value across their transactions.

 

Simultaneous expansion

As we move out of COVID-19 restrictions in Australia, retailers are discovering an interesting phenomenon.

Growth in an ecommerce environment isn’t always at the expense of in-store purchases. Now that big-name fashion brands like Gorman are releasing new collections, loyal shoppers are browsing online and via social media, and discussing the clothes in comments and chats.

Now that stores are open again, customers want to use the opportunities to see the garments and try them on before purchase.

The lesson is to ensure physical stores are prepared with stock, brand messages and sales offers as you expand your operations online.

 

Boosting customer loyalty through multiple touchpoints

Encouraging engagement across multiple channels is one of the keys to the omnichannel approach. Businesses need to know where their customers are; both geographically and in terms of the online places, spaces, forums and sites they frequent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that more and more businesses have had to provide customer services in multiple and accessible ways.

This includes effective and responsive operation of social media accounts. Responding to messages that come in via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is one of the best ways you can build confidence among consumers. This responsiveness has also been shown to benefit willingness to spend.

 

The top tips for omnichannel marketing from Australia’s best

  • Know your customers and take the time to understand their customer journey
  • Gain leverage from the tech to enable you to focus on creating brand messages
  • Ensure you have access to real-time data to be able to alter your strategy and keep content current
  • Strive for consistency across all customer touchpoints but know when to mix it up to keep customers interested
  • Provide an excellent customer experience- through your websites, email, social media, phone lines and in-store

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