As brands and retailers continue to resort to omnichannel retailing, the challenge of providing a seamless experience across both the digital and the physical sphere is intensifying. Often, brands today kind of neglect the all-important channel that amalgamates the two worlds – Brick-and-mortar stores. Brands are losing out on an immense opportunity of expediting sales. There is a tendency among them to be digital friendly. When it comes to marketing, a lot of emphasis is laid on digital marketing initiatives. The in-store marketing initiatives often go under-attended to. As a result, brands find it difficult to understand whether and how the digital marketing efforts effect the in-store experience of customers. At present, there exists quite a gap between the two worlds.
The misalignment existing between the two worlds
There are numerous studies conducted that have revealed that a bulk of sales still happen in brick-and-mortar stores. As per the estimations of National Retail Federation, two thirds of the total in-store visitors are influenced to visit the store because of something they come across on online. Therefore, it’s important that the digital marketing initiatives are well aligned to that of the ones inside the store.
In fact, ignoring the in-store marketing is one of the primary reasons of existence of this gap. As per the findings of a research by the CMO council, as many as 60% of marketers lay more emphasis on search and social media advertising over traditional forms of advertising like in-store promotions, etc. An omnichannel strategy should ensure that the customers are influenced to make a purchase across all mediums, not just online. There is a definite lack of alignment between online and the local store.
Bridging the Gap is important
Brands must understand that establishing customer loyalty today is no child’s play. Customers have enough options available to them today as opposed to ten years back. So, if they are not satisfied with their shopping experience, they will simply move on to something else, something better. Having a balanced omnichannel strategy that is well integrated in both the physical and the digital world is of paramount importance.
For starters, there should be a certain parity between digital and in-store marketing. For instance, many customers might be enticed by an online promotion. The next thing on their agenda is to go to the local store and avail the offer after obviously going through the whole customary ‘touching and feeling’ part. One can only imagine what the consequences might be if they were to know that the promotion offer is not valid for in-store purchase. This momentary disgust might lead to the customers leaving not just the store, but the brand back altogether for good. Also, it would mean that the brand loses out on realistic opportunities of revenue generation.
Besides, brands spend a hefty amount as a support for local marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, most of it might seem to be a waste if the initiatives across both worlds is not aligned. Brands should look to bridge the gap by maintaining proper communication with the local stores, and using the tools and technologies that will further enable the alignment. The campaigns should be designed in a way such that they are cohesive and applicable to both online and the local stores. A good omnichannel marketing strategy should provide customers with a holistic customer experience across mediums. Every brand must understand that to remain in a position of strength in the time to come.