creating personalised and engaging omnichannel journeys — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

The rise of omnichannel marketingOmnichannel marketing is the practice of seamlessly integrating the customer’s experience across all channels. It’s not just about having a presence on multiple platforms, but ensuring that the customer’s journey through these platforms is consistent and fluid.For retailers, this means that the in-store experience should be harmonised with online shopping, mobile applications, social media engagement, and more. The goal is to provide or deliver what’s referred to as a unified brand experience where customers can interact with the retailer whenever and however they choose, without any friction or dissonance. The importance of personalisationThe other critical aspect of the future of retail marketing is personalisation. Today’s consumers demand more than just products and services – they want experiences that are tailored to their preferences and needs. A recent study showed that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalised experiences.Personalisation can come in many forms. It can be as simple as addressing the customer by their name in communications, or as complex as offering personalised product recommendations based on their previous purchases or browsing behaviour.Harnessing technology to enhance personalisationAs we look to the future, technology will play a pivotal role in enabling more advanced levels of personalisation. AI and machine learning, for instance, can analyse vast amounts of customer data to predict behaviours and preferences, allowing for more nuanced and precise personalisation.Consider the role of predictive analytics. By analysing past purchase behaviour and browsing patterns, predictive models can forecast what a customer is likely to want or need next. This can empower retailers to deliver highly targeted product recommendations and promotions, driving sales while simultaneously improving customer satisfaction.Integrating personalisationCreating an engaging omnichannel journey is about more than just being present on multiple platforms – it’s about personalising the experience on each of these platforms.Consider a customer who often shops online but decides to visit the physical store. If the retailer has been tracking this customer’s behaviour, they could provide personalised in-store offers based on the customer’s online browsing history. Similarly, the customer’s in-store purchases can be used to enhance the personalisation of their online shopping experience.The reemergence of mailingWhile digital platforms have taken a significant hold in omnichannel marketing, a surprising old player has been making a comeback in the retail industry: direct mail. With the increasing digital noise and intense competition online, retailers are rediscovering the value of a tangible, physical connection with their customers, making mailing a viable method to enhance omnichannel strategies.Direct mail can provide a personal, tactile experience that online platforms cannot. Consumers can physically touch and feel the promotional material, which can make the brand more memorable. Not to mention, studies have shown that the response rates for direct mail can often exceed those of email marketing. Personalised mailing for omnichannel marketingYet, it’s important to note that the future of direct mail marketing is not about indiscriminately sending brochures or catalogs to every mailbox. Rather, it hinges on the utilisation of targeted mailing lists to enable personalised mailings that are tailored to individual customers. These targeted and personalized mailings can connect with other channels, thus forming an integral part of the omnichannel journey.Data and technology can be leveraged to personalise direct mail content based on the recipient’s previous interactions with the brand. For example, if a customer frequently purchases certain products online, a retailer could send a catalog showcasing those products or related ones. If another customer abandoned their online shopping cart, a personalised reminder in the form of a postcard could be sent to encourage them to complete the purchase.Moreover, QR codes or unique URLs can be included in direct mail pieces to connect the physical mailing to the digital world. These tools can direct consumers to a personalised landing page, app, or online store, allowing them to effortlessly continue their journey across multiple channels.The role of financial managementNo matter how advanced and personalised a retail marketing strategy may be, it ultimately needs to make financial sense. As such, careful financial management plays a pivotal role in shaping and implementing marketing strategies and campaigns.Hiring qualified professionals for financial managementOne crucial aspect of sound financial management is hiring qualified professionals who can make informed decisions about the allocation of resources and budgeting for marketing strategies. These professionals often come in the form of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). However, the dynamic nature of today’s business environment presents an important choice to make: should businesses hire an on-site CFO, or consider the services of a virtual CFO? Whether a business chooses to go with an on-site CFO or a virtual CFO depends largely on its specific needs, size, and available resources. Both have their distinct advantages and can contribute significantly to the effective financial management of the company’s marketing strategies.These professionals not only handle the intricate details of financial planning and management, but they also have the expertise to foresee financial trends, analyse cost-effectiveness, and maximise ROI on marketing campaigns. As such, the decision between on-site and virtual CFOs is a critical one, bearing direct implications for the financial health and marketing success of the company. Budgeting for future retail marketing campaignsQualified finance professionals can assist in preparing robust budgets for marketing campaigns. With a deep understanding of the retail market and consumer behaviour, they can help allocate the budget optimally across various channels to reach the target audience effectively. Whether it’s deciding how much to invest in technology for personalisation or determining the cost of integrating new channels into the marketing mix, these professionals play a crucial role. The interplay of finance and marketingFinancial management is a crucial backbone of any retail marketing strategy. By hiring qualified employees to manage the finances, retailers can ensure they’re investing wisely in their marketing efforts, thus laying a solid foundation for engaging, personalised, omnichannel customer journeys.Effective financial management enables retailers to keep up with the evolving landscape of retail marketing, ensuring they not only remain competitive but also achieve sustainable growth. Therefore, investing in financial expertise is as important as investing in the latest marketing strategies and technologies.Personalisation and omnichannel integrationThe future of retail marketing lies in the combination of omnichannel strategies and personalisation. Retailers that manage to merge these two aspects effectively will be well positioned to create engaging customer journeys that drive brand loyalty and growth. As technology continues to evolve, the possibilities for personalisation and omnichannel integration will expand. Retailers that stay ahead of the curve, investing in the right technologies and strategies, will secure a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace. Ultimately, the future of retail marketing is not just about selling products but about delivering personalised and engaging experiences at every touchpoint of the customer journey.

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