Let’s kick this article off with a little quiz: How many of you have casually browsed products on your phone while a) watching television; b) waiting at the doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store; c) at dinner with family or friends; d) while working or traveling; e) scenarios a through d. For those of you who chose one of these, and for many of you who probably chose option e, you’re not alone. 95% of consumers, especially millennials, admit to doing other things while shopping—including all of the above.
This type of multitasking is something many people probably don’t even notice they’re doing. With our trusty devices and favorite brands constantly at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to stay subconsciously connected to the point where searching for new shoes while watching Stranger Things is second nature. It also makes it much easier for consumers to switch back and forth between different channels during their shopping journey.
"Omnichannel" shopping remains the norm, and with Amazon paving the way, consumers expect for retailers to understand, personalize, and deliver on their needs every time they interact across channels. It's time to take things even further than the Omnichannel marketing of today and really focus on Identity marketing instead.
By doing so, retailers can successfully capture and truly win over today’s channel-shifting consumers. Here's how:
1. Incorporate Customer Identity Resolution.
First and foremost, you must be able to successfully identify your customers across their multiple channels and identities. That’s where things can get a bit murky for retailers: What happens if a customer uses multiple user accounts or email addresses throughout their shopping journey? What happens if they peruse your website but end up purchasing in-store? What happens if they browse on their computer, cart on their mobile web browser, but then ultimately make the purchase on their mobile app? Single channel customer recognition isn’t enough.
The trick here is to implement a behavioral marketing strategy that incorporates customer identity resolution between browsing, buying, and returning across both the physical and digital worlds. This will make connecting with your customer at the right time with the right product and messaging (no matter the myriad of channels they’ve engaged with) a whole lot easier.
To truly understand the customer life cycle, retailers must shift their focus toward tactics and tools that ensure consumers are trackable across their full range of touchpoints, and harness online and offline customer data. Identity resolution comprehensively connects omnichannel engagement to recognize individual behaviors and offer a better experience for the customer with every interaction.
2. Don’t Completely Ignore In-Store.
We all know the “brick and mortar is dead” headlines, and maybe we’ve even said it ourselves, but when it comes to the omnichannel consumer, do not ignore their affinity to shop in-store. 50% still favor this channel. Why? 80% of in-store buyers appreciate the immediacy of walking away with the product same-day, and 78% prefer to check out the product in person.
Furthermore, choosing to shop in-store often depends on how much time the consumer has to wait on the product: 80% of stay-at-home parents say they shop in-store because of boredom, and with kids at home, they probably have a greater need for the product the same day. This is a substantial audience who still values the in-store experience, so don’t neglect them in your marketing strategies.
Instead, implement campaigns that actively attract and engage these customers: Utilize geotargeting to identify and reach those with specific messaging near certain store locations, tout in-store-only sales and events in their email campaigns, and send recommendations to their inboxes based on the products most frequently purchased in-store. Better yet, make sure offline data is something you are effectively tracking and leveraging in your behavioral marketing strategy—you won’t regret it. (More on that below…)
3. Sync Your Online & Offline Data.
These days, consumer browsing and buying habits are no longer linear—90% of people have browsed online and purchased in-store. And in true omnichannel fashion, consumers also switch between online and offline when it comes to pick-ups and returns. 53% of people are most likely to buy online and pick up in-store, and 61% of people have bought online and returned in-store.
The key to crossing digital and physical lines is savings and immediacy: Consumers avoid shipping fees, reduce the time required to locate an item or receive reimbursement for a return, and can complete either action same-day. Many retailers have caught on to this trend and already offer online/in-store options for customers, and Kohl’s has even gone as far to start accepting Amazon returns in-store.
This again is why it’s so important to properly identify customers and sync omnichannel data to give consumers a seamless interaction with your brand no matter where they interact with you. For example, you might think you have a high value customer online, but they’re often returning in-store—meaning they’re not as high value or as happy as you thought. Marrying up online and offline data will help you focus on understanding why they frequently return the items they buy online (maybe it’s product sizing or a description on the site throwing them off), and it helps you save on future costs from future returns while delivering a better customer experience.
If you aren’t using the above Identity marketing tactics effectively or looking at channel data wholistically, you’re missing opportunities for growth and cost optimization, as well as ways to continue to turn casual shoppers into loyal, longtime customers.
Read our latest report to learn more about the ways in which consumers are regularly making purchases—and what you can do to better recognize and cater to them across all channels.