By guest author Tracey Wallace, Managing Editor at Bigcommerce
Earlier this week we published Part 1 of an article from our partner Bigcommerce featuring the first three of six operational strategies to succeed in omnichannel selling. Check out Part 2 below.
4. Integrated Marketing
Did you know that inbound tactics generate 54 percent more leads than traditional paid marketing?
Digitally savvy consumers are simply tired of being sold to. They are sold to in their Facebook feeds, on their way to work via billboards and NPR ads, and at home via merchandise placements within their favorite TV shows.
Seriously, we live in an ad-consumed environment, and with the advent of the Internet of Things, this is likely to only get worse. So, how do you pull in new customers without annoying or bombarding them? The answer is inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is the process of using Search Engine Optimization (SEO), blog posts and your social media accounts in order to pull in customers who have a similar world view as you. Instead of pushing them down a funnel, you pull them through with relevant content that serves their self-described needs — rather than forcing a product on them that is ultimately useless to their overall wants or desires. Inbound marketing is the practice of cultivating a loyal customer fan base — and this increases your customer lifetime value, meaning that every customer you win has a higher average order value (AOV) and repeat purchase lifetime.
All of this together means that yes, inbound marketing is absolutely worth it. What do you need to get started? Well, you need a website and a blog, social media channels and someone to manage it all. But, if you’re saving upward of $80,000 by switching from on-premise to SaaS ecommerce technology, then you have the money to spend. Better yet, inbound marketing platforms like Hubspot are inexpensive and serve scaling online businesses best.
How is this an omnichannel strategy, you ask?
Simple. Once you get a customer, inbound marketing ensures that they remain a customer. By increasing customer loyalty, you can focus on tactics to pull in additional customers through your online marketplaces.
5. Optimized Social Media Advertising
It’s no question that social commerce is taking off and brands will have to adapt. Having a strategy regarding which products you sell on social media versus which you sell on your website and other marketplaces is key to business growth and harnessing loyal customers.
The best scaling strategy for online businesses utilizing social commerce is to sell specific products on online marketplaces while also using social network advertising to encourage customers back to your website and to make purchases there.
For instance, if a customer buys a pair of shoes from your brand on Facebook, you’d want to retarget that customer with ads featuring either similar items or complete-the-look items — and require them to come to your actual site in order to purchase.
In addition, product ads can help to take the A/B testing out of social advertising, optimizing your ads for the highest possible ROI. And, if you’ve already ensured high customer loyalty via the previously mentioned strategies, your brand will be well off.
6. Automated Multichannel Operations
Finally, how do you make all of this work in an omnichannel environment? Well, you need inventory syncing, for one. After all, if you’re making sales across the Web at various touchpoints, you need to make sure that you actually have what you are selling in stock, and that another platform purchase hasn’t put you between a rock and a hard place when it comes to order fulfillment.
The best way to scale this process for a growing business is to automate it — and third-party provider Channel Advisor does just that. Channel Advisor essentially syncs your data across all of your channels in order to ensure that you have the item in stock and are ready to ship it out to that customer — no matter where they purchased it.
This type of multichannel management is what will set you apart from the up-and-comers in the industry, and prove that your online business is truly a lean, mid-market operation.
We’ve covered a lot of strategies here, many of which most small online businesses don’t automatically associate with omnichannel success. However, in order to earn the highest possible customer satisfaction and brand recognition, every single possible touch point you have with a customer needs to be seamless, intuitive and interesting. By ensuring that these six tactics are optimized, it won’t matter where a customer purchases your product. You’ll ultimately be bringing them back to your website and keeping your brand top of mind for the customer.
About the Author:
Tracey Wallace is the managing editor at Bigcommerce, where she covers topics concerning online small businesses. In a previous life, she wrote about small business and boutique success at Mashable, ELLE and Time Out New York. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Bustle, PolicyMic and Refinery29. She honed her chops at Shoptiques, where she was the director of content for the Y-Combinator startup.