Last updated: Omnichannel retail marketing: 5 trends to watch

Omnichannel retail marketing: 5 trends to watch


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In today’s ultra-competitive retail market, brands are under enormous pressure. Advertising and customer acquisition costs are skyrocketing while marketing budgets shrink. At the same time, an increasingly discerning customer base demands more engaging experiences.

This leaves retail marketers with a clear but tough question: How do you cut through the noise of the competition and do more with less? The solution is omnichannel.

With omnichannel retail marketing, brands can engage directly with customers wherever they’re at and deliver personalized content that’s tailored to the individual.

But, as more and more retail brands get wise to the benefits of an omnichannel approach, you need to keep ahead of the curve and future-proof your strategy.

Let’s explore emerging trends in omnichannel retailing and how you can navigate them to differentiate from your competitors and keep customers coming back for more.

  1. Phygital is the new digital
  2. Connected experiences drive ROI
  3. Customer data is both an opportunity and a challenge
  4. Keep customers at the center of everything
  5. The growing role of tech in accelerating omnichannel success

Omnichannel retail marketing: How we got here

Omnichannel retail is the evolution of multichannel and cross-channel retail. It focuses on providing customers with truly personalized and relevant brand experiences, regardless of the channel they interact with.

  • Multichannel retail marketing is exactly how it sounds. It involves marketing products across multiple channels. Content is published manually into each channel, sometimes by different teams, which can sometimes lead to disconnected customer experiences.
  • Cross-channel retail marketing is when brands use marketing automation tools to centralize and automate the publication of content across multiple channels. However, these tools often don’t integrate data from multiple sources, so they don’t provide a complete view of their customer.
  • Omnichannel retailing marketing creates a holistic customer experience by integrating customer, sales and product data from all online and offline marketing and sales channels. This allows brands to create a single customer view to deliver consistent, fully connected 1:1 experiences across multiple channels. Automation flows that leverage AI can be built into these campaigns to provide relevant content to the right audiences in real time.

This results in seamless, highly personalized customer experiences, regardless of whether customers engage in-store or online, giving brands a competitive advantage in today’s ever-changing retail landscape.

Today, omnichannel is a must-have, but many brands are lagging. A 2022 study found that consumers rank omnichannel as a retail requirement, but only 41% of retailers are doing it.

1. In retail, phygital is the new digital

During the pandemic, retail was turned upside down overnight, and loyal in-store shoppers were forced towards digital channels. If brands had weaknesses in their online infrastructure, this exodus exposed the cracks for all to see.

However, as when stores re-opened, digital sales began to dip, and retail marketers were hit with a new challenge — blending online and in-store channels to deliver a connected shopping experience.

This showed us one thing — regardless of your size, customers want the ability to choose whether they engage online, in-store, or both.

Phygital marketing refers to the amalgamation of digital and physical to create an immersive and engaging experience for customers who switch between online and in-store shopping.

While e-commerce is predicted to surge by 50% from 2021-2025 to a sum of $7.3 billion, consumers will continue to rely on mobile devices to enhance their in-store experiences.

By leveraging the convenience and flexibility offered by online shopping and combining it with the personalized engagement aspects of in-store shopping, brands can curate a phygital marketing experience that seamlessly blends the best of both worlds.

2. Connected experiences drive marketing ROI

In the ever-changing world of retail, customer choice is increasing while attention spans shrink. Providing a seamless omnichannel customer experience is a powerful way to retain attention.

Retailers that invest in seamless experiences, and enable customers to engage their brand consistently across multiple touchpoints, will outpace the competition.

The focus now is on meeting customers where they want to engage. On average, customers engage with a brand across six touchpoints before making a purchase. Traditionally, channels like email and social media are used to marketing products and prompt online, in-store, or in-app purchases.

However, the trend is shifting towards in-channel buying to provide a frictionless experience.

This change is already visible. E-commerce platforms such are empowering retailers to sell their products within TikTok without leaving the platform, enabling customers to purchase at that moment and creating a seamless experience.

3. Customer data is gold – if managed correctly

More and more customers are demanding personalized experiences from the brands they choose to engage with. To create those experiences and fuel your omnichannel retail strategy, you need data.

Data provides retail brands with opportunities and challenges in equal measure.

On the one hand, proper management of customer, sales and product data will help build a unified customer profile, providing insight into your customers’ wants, needs, and motivations.

On the other hand, any break in the data chain can lead to disconnected customer experiences, damaging how your audience perceives your brand.

If you want to create compelling experiences that drive repeat purchases and foster loyalty, the ability to unify data and then securely manage and use it is a must.

4. Keep customers at the center of everything

Continually changing customer expectations will be the only constant in the future of retail. After all, constant disruption is the industry norm.

Customers are resetting their definitions of what value means to them, too. A clear trend is emerging where younger shoppers choose to purchase from brands that align with their personal values — even when cheaper alternatives are available.

In the words of Eva Kruse, Group SVP of Global Engagement & Impact for PANGAIA, “What we buy matters.”

To the uninformed, PANGAIA is just another fashion retailer. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find that PANGAIA is a materials science company whose mission is to create an “Earth-positive future.”

As Kruse notes, customers see through green-washing and hollow promises. She believes that brands need to focus on adopting sustainable business practices, and also contribute to the conversation about sustainability.

The collective impact of all the small decisions consumers make on a daily basis in terms of which brands they buy from adds up. Brands that don’t keep their customers at the center of everything, especially when it comes to sustainability, will struggle to stay relevant in a market that’s increasingly putting the needs of our planet first.

5. Fast-tracking omnichannel retail marketing 

The power of omnichannel marketing is clear, but as we’ve seen, only a few retail brands have mastered it.

This presents an opportunity that’s hard to pass up. With the support of a retail marketing platform, you can accelerate your route to success and grow online, mobile and in-store sales by engaging your customers wherever they spend their time.

The most important questions to ask when evaluating any retail marketing platform are:

  • Does it consolidate customer, product and sales data?
  • Which other technology platforms and solution providers does it integrate with?
  • Which channels does it support? This should include both online and offline.
  • How fast is the onboarding process and, by extension, time to value?
  • What are its segmentation capabilities? Can it create dynamic, AI-driven segments?
  • How easy is it to personalize content? Drag-and-drop personalization tokens when building content are fast becoming industry standard to scale personalization.
  • How robust is the built-in reporting? Can it accurately report on both marketing and commercial impact?

With the right tech stack, omnichannel strategy, and customer-centric focus, the future is bright for savvy retail brands looking to drive retention, loyalty and revenue.

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