As more and more new technologies compete for consumers’ attention in the marketplace, consumers are often choosing to use multiple sources of input to make a single purchasing decision. For instance, a consumer may initially see a product she likes in your store’s catalog, further research the purchase using the store’s mobile app, then read reviews online on her computer, then go to the store’s brick-and-mortar location to make the actual purchase.
When the consumer is able to transition seamlessly from one channel to another, being available on so many fronts is a great boost to business for retail stores and can do a lot toward increasing customer loyalty. However, cross-channel marketing has a downside, as well: If your store is inconsistent in price, customer rating or any other aspect of the customer experience, customers will get frustrated and will often take their money elsewhere.
For an improved cross-channel marketing experience, follow these tips:
Pay attention to how customers are using your marketing materials.
Are customers spending most of their time on your mobile site looking at photos of products, but most of their time spent on your website reading reviews? Make reviews more prominent on the website and increase the size of photos on the mobile site, or make them easier to find or enlarge.
Look at what customers are buying through various channels.
Pay attention to whether customers tend to make certain types of purchases in one medium or another. For example, if you own a housewares store and customers are three times as likely to purchase bedding through your catalog but tend to purchase kitchen equipment online, put bedding at the front of the catalog, but kitchen equipment on the front page of your website.
Offer the same information through different channels.
Customers who are unable to access customer reviews through your mobile app, for example, may be frustrated not be able to find that information. Even if you’ve determined that most customers do not use the app to read customer reviews, make sure customers still have the option — just don’t put them front and center. Use expandable menus to show customers that they have the option to view any information they need, without making them do a lot of scrolling through areas of the page they don’t care about.
Sync prices across all platforms.
If you’re offering a sale on women’s jackets on your mobile site, make sure to offer it through other mediums as well, and at the same time. If you have problems syncing up prices, at least warn customers that prices may be different in the store versus online, and consider offering them the lower of the two prices if they find a discrepancy. Most customers will have their smart phones with them while in your store, so it shouldn’t be too hard to prove if there’s a price difference.
Offer the option of creating an account.
If a customer creates an online account with your company, the specifics of that account can move between a computer and a smart phone. For instance, if a customer adds an item to his wishlist on the computer, next time he signs in on his mobile phone, that item will be waiting for him.
Test out marketing methods to see what works.
Cross-channel promotion sometimes reaps great benefits, and other times it falls flat. Take careful note of how one channel impacts another so that you can decide which methods to retain and which to toss. For example, some stores print a website on their receipt where customers can go to fill out a satisfaction survey and receive a coupon for their next visit. Some engage in email marketing for online or in-store sales. Some promote sales through social media. Test out a few methods and see what works.
Know Your Guest Author:
Valerie Cecil is a research coordinator, marketing specialist and writer for Outbounding.com. Her work allows her to investigate many topics, ranging from online consumer relations to effective communication in the workplace. When she is not working, she enjoys kayaking, watercolor, and scouting out the best Retail Packaging Tissue Paper out there.