Can Facebook Democratize Omnichannel Retail?

By John Waldron

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Content and social media marketing isn’t just for e-merchants. You might be utilizing the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to build awareness of your high street presence, and may very well be marketing your wares across these channels as well.

Furthermore, you’ll have also at some point made the wise decision to open up an e-store of some description to boost your sales. Not everyone can make it to your physical store, after all – but in the digital age that doesn’t and shouldn’t prevent someone 50, 100 or even 1,000 miles away enjoying your brand and your products.

So far, so good, right? But let’s put those distant customers aside for one moment (don’t worry, they’re safe – they’re not going anywhere), for today I want to focus on the omnichannel experience for your in-store customers.

What is omnichannel sales and marketing?

A good question. Before we answer it, however, I think it’s helpful to understand what omnichannel isn’t – and it isn’t multi-channel.

Multi-channel sales and marketing describes the scenario when you’ve got multiple channels through which you market and sell your wares. So, for instance, you have your high street store, your ecommerce site, and perhaps a few items on something like eBay. Your customers know that they can access your wares through any one of these channels – if you haven’t got what they want on eBay, they’ll try your website, and if it’s not on display there, then perhaps they’ll phone up your store and speak to a sales associate.

This is the multi-channel approach.

The fundamentals of omnichannel essentially amount to the same thing – but with a key difference. With omnichannel, your customers have access your exact same inventory, no matter which channel they go through to connect with your brand and your store.

Indeed, moving into omnichannel sales and marketing means that you’re giving your customers the exact same experience no matter if they’re in-store or on their mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop.

The omnichannel revolution

Omnichannel sales and marketing has come about in response to the evolution of the smartphone. High street retailers like yourself will of course have noticed the change over the past 5, 10 or 15 years.

As consumers, our smartphones have become the device of choice for all manner of digital activities – not least shopping. When considering a purchase, our smartphone is our research tool, perhaps first and foremost – whether we’re at home or actually in the store. Indeed, The Importance Of Responsive Design in Emails

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