Last updated: Consumer brands and the omnichannel customer: Playing for keeps

Consumer brands and the omnichannel customer: Playing for keeps

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When digital commerce channels were introduced, the rules of retail for consumer brands instantly changed. With myriad sales channels and touchpoints, CPG companies had to toss their in-store playbooks out the window. In these early days of online retail, they mulled over questions like: “Do our customers want us to sell on Amazon?” and “What should we post on our Facebook page?” Today the road to DTC success requires a much deeper strategy, across a myriad of channels.

The number of channels exploded as technology kept evolving. Commerce got social and most consumers had a powerful computer in their pockets at all times.

What exactly changed and how can consumer brands make the most out of the opportunity digital commerce presents?

Let’s explore three essential steps for success in the direct-to-consumer world
  1. Have a flexible omnichannel strategy
  2. Recreate the in-store experience in digital channels
  3. Engage with consumers early on in their journey

How consumer brands can blur channel lines for DTC success

As the number of sales channels increased, shoppers craved a smooth experience across them all. Their mobile app needed to talk to the website and the look and feel of a social profile needed to echo the vibe of the store. Channels began blurring into one strong, unified customer experience.

Today, the modern path to purchase includes as many channels as the customer wants it to. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) retailers that want to make the most out of each and every sales opportunity have learned to effectively leverage targeted messaging and digital and traditional channels to serve their broader strategy.

Their game plan stays flexible in order to follow the whims of customer preferences. After all, where customers are and how they prefer to transact can change overnight.

Having a strong presence on the top selling channels and keeping up with brand-new channels that might take off soon present a distinct DTC advantage.

Make your digital channels shine

The omnichannel consumer reigns supreme in modern retail: They want a seamless experience across all channels, from discovery through checkout. Pricing, personalization, customer service, and speed attract consumers to online shopping. But consumer brands need a deeper focus on replicating the in-store discovery and inspiration experience to keep their attention.

If a shopper walks into a store, an employee might ask if they are looking for something specific or chat about the weather that day. This rapport building is a bit tricky online, but essential for engaging the shopper early on in the discovery phase to gauge their buying intent.

Some brands rely on a chat feature to proactively engage shoppers and to answer questions as they arise. But, just as you want several associates on the sales floor at one time to not let shoppers slip through the cracks, you’ll need to properly staff and train customer service agents to make sure they respond to questions that come through the chat feature in a timely manner. Otherwise, you risk cart abandonment.

Businesses that put chat to work enjoy significant benefits according to the 2021 Aberdeen Research survey, Maximize the ROI of Chat in Commerce Activities. The study found that “companies incorporating chat capabilities that enable consumers to have an effortless experience enjoy 75% greater year-over-year (YoY) growth in annual revenue.”

Being where shoppers are and engaging them in a helpful way pays dividends for brands that are willing to implement the right technology.

Can consumers find you?

The customer journey needs to be driven by discovery. These moments of excitement and curiosity inspire shoppers to learn more and eventually make a purchase.

With the number of digital channels vying for consumer attention, building relationships early on helps a brand continue to stand out from the crowd. Some even tap into influencers to meet consumers on the social channels where they already are, with the added bonus of being endorsed by tastemakers.

The game has changed for CPG marketers. For DTC success, they must delicately balance traditional and digital channels and points of engagement to meet consumers on channels they trust. It requires a balance of push and pull to spark interest for newcomers and inspire shoppers to become repeat customers.

Old direct-to-consumer marketing playbooks don’t work today.
Tap into the future of CPG, DTC, engagement, and loyalty HERE

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