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What Is Multichannel Marketing for E-Commerce?
Multichannel marketing refers to the use of three or more different marketing channels to engage prospects and customers across various mediums, networks, and devices. While multi-channel marketing strategies can be deployed for other types of businesses (such as B2B, brick-and-mortar retail, and services) it can pay off big for brands, makers, and anyone else in e-commerce.
A few years ago, Harvard Business Review published a survey of 46,000 shoppers demonstrating that 73% of consumers gained product awareness through multiple channels before they made a purchase.
What kinds of channels are they using? Multichannel marketing can encompass both online and offline channels:
- Google or Bing Ads
- Social Media Ads on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, etc.
- Social Media Marketplaces like Facebook Shops, Pinterest Buyable Pins, and Instagram Checkout
- Affiliate marketing partners
- Shopping comparison engines
- Ad Retargeting platforms
- Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc.
- Google Local Inventory Ads/Google My Business listings
- Sponsored content on relevant media sites
- Outdoor advertising (think of Apple’s iPhone billboard campaign)
Here, we will explain why multichannel marketing is becoming more and more essential to brands aiming for high top-line growth, and outline a basic multichannel marketing strategy for e-commerce.
Benefits of a multichannel marketing strategy
Increased product or brand awareness
Because of how human brains are wired, consumers seeing a product on multiple channels will better remember a product the next time they see it, if they encounter it on a different device, in a different app, or a different channel than they’ve seen it before. It just makes it more remarkable than a numbing series of the same commercials on TV.
SaS research indicates that multichannel customers spend 3X to 4X more than those who interact with just a single channel. There’s also evidence that ads alone, on multiple channels, can result in a 24% higher conversion rate. The increased exposure dishes up consumers with higher lead scores, ready to make a purchase.
Invest wisely in your multiple channels and manage the costs. If you do this, the increased buyer spend, new customer acquisition, and higher conversion rates will also improve your bottom line.
More opportunities to tell your brand’s story or demonstrate your product’s benefits.
Expanding your reach and getting deeper information out there through a variety of channels helps provide the “proof” that a consumer needs to prompt them to buy. According to SAP, 74% of businesses increased their sales after deploying a multichannel strategy, and 64% saw increased customer loyalty and new customer acquisition.
The basic strategy for a multichannel marketing campaign
Over 90% of marketers struggle to seamlessly connect more than three channels throughout the buyer journey. — Gartner
How can you avoid this struggle? It’s all about finding the common threads that can marshall your data into usable insights to help you pick the winners.
Start by looking at your customer data to see which channels are your strongest.
Look for those channels that have the highest ROI in terms of your advertising or listing costs.
But don’t limit that to just bottom-line revenue. Also look for channels that produce a high level of customer engagement.
Look for patterns. Can you see which segments of your target audience are drawn to particular channels?
Establish these basic metrics, and apply the figures to each channel you want to enter.
Behaviors that show consumer engagement:
You’re not looking for behaviors tied to conversion goals, just ones that indicate interest.
- Count up Likes and Shares on your social accounts.
- Measure how much time users hover over a banner ad or a particular section of sponsored content.
- Starting a shopping cart
- Completing a purchase
- Signing up for a trial or sample
- Responses to special offers
These aren’t actions per se, but you can use your own social media channels to monitor mentions and comments about your brand or products. This also enables you to respond quickly to negative remarks and make it right with every consumer. Win them back, and they can even become brand ambassadors.
Then put it all together.
Once you’ve measured these things for your existing channel or channels, you’ll be able to tell which of these behaviors respond best to that category. If you’re selling well to a younger demographic, try expanding your Social channels either into direct sales through social commerce (from Facebook Ads to Facebook Shops, for instance). Or, try adding Pinterest if your Instagram channel is already selling well. You might also discover which of your affiliate sites is making better use of your content.
A final word about multichannel selling
If you do decide to engage in multichannel marketing, there’s one more strategy that can make all the difference in supporting the effort. Multichannel selling (the desired result of multichannel marketing) is best served by a syndicated product feed created from your master product list. Channel feeds such as those offered by Shoppingfeed will accurately sending out your fully optimized product information to every channel you’ve selected, giving you a further leg up in the form of higher search rankings for your products.
A smart, research-based multichannel marketing strategy combined with a smart multichannel selling strategy should yield an optimal ROI and higher revenue growth over time.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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