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Omnichannel automation solutions can make a massive difference in how you do business online.
Even before the digital revolution, marketing always aimed to bring together the sum of all its parts and provide potential and current customers with a unified, cohesive message and a flawless pathway to acquiring the goods and services marketed to them. However, it has always been challenging because marketing, or any good marketing, has to come from all angles and multiple mediums, which can sometimes put the customer off. But just when old-school marketers got it down to a fine art, along came digital and online marketing, opening up a whole new can of worms.
Omnichannel automation solutions are a way to regain a singular and powerful marketing message and take customers on a journey to purchase. We'll be taking a look at exactly how they work.
The philosophy behind omnichannel automation is relatively simple — no matter where the customer experiences you, they should have a consistent and accessible experience when interacting with your brand. The brand should have a unified message, and the processes to find out more, become a customer, and generally interact should all be automatic and work as one. Omnichannel marketing strategies aim to ensure this uniformity and consider this philosophy for all the aspects of the system. All the processes built into the system should be:
All processes should have a similar message and goal and have multiple connection and communication points.
All processes should directly connect to form a whole — they should work together towards one unified goal.
All processes should be flexible enough to respond to many potential customer journeys.
Multichannel marketing means using multiple channels to sell your product and promote your brand. It is not unusual, and pretty much all modern brands use various channels such as websites, social media, emailing, and apps.
Quite often, the potential customer's experience differs depending on the platform they use. As a result, there are multiple marketing channels, each with a different approach, style, and offering the customers a different experience.
That's where omnichannel marketing comes in. Of course, it is also across channels, but the customer's process and experience are all the same, no matter which platform they use. The messages conveyed are all the same and flawlessly connected to work together as one. The in-store experience is the same as the app experience, the same as the website and social media experience. And they are connected to create one customer journey.
Whether regular or potential, the customer's journey is at the heart of how omnichannel automation solutions work. They have to ensure the seamless journey of the customer across all channels. In an ideal world, the customer journey is a straightforward and linear one — they come across your brand, click on something, and get to the page where they purchase a product.
In the real world, however, the journey is not as predictable, and omnichannel automation solutions should understand the various anomalies and unpredictable factors that come into play during the customer's journey. They should also add different pathways and branches to ensure that a customer always gets back on track in their experience and doesn't get sidetracked or distracted. But to do this successfully, an omnichannel marketer must understand what the customer experiences at each stage of the critical journey — browse, cart, purchase.
The three-step process that omnichannel marketing automation seeks to streamline and unify is as follows:
By utilizing online and onsite customer behavior information, an automation platform should generate timely and relevant messaging related to or connected with products and services previously browsed and searched. It should be intuitive. It should also consider the patterns of similar visitors to the platform and use this information to present the customer with the correct information for their position in the journey.
It is a critical phase, and anything that takes the customer's attention away from the journey to the next stage, the cart or basket, should be eliminated and redesigned to ensure a smooth transition. The customer is actively engaged with the brand, and marketers must ensure that the automation process facilitates the smooth transition to the cart. If the customer leaves the browsing phase, the omnichannel automation system should record their journey and reconnect via other platforms.
When the browsing automation has worked well, and the customer has had a positive experience connecting with the brand via any platform, they will intend to purchase by carting products. Interestingly, this is the most precarious phase. Almost 70% of consumers don't follow through with a purchase — even after placing items in their cart. However, there are various ways that marketers can alleviate this issue using omnichannel automation solutions, such as abandoned cart programs.
These programs can keep track of items in the cart across all platforms and automatically remind customers that they haven't checked their products out. They can also check with customers what the barrier to purchase was and encourage them to return and complete the transaction.
The final phase of the omnichannel customer experience is the purchase — the culmination of all the marketing and hard work. The job, however, is far from over. What you have in this phase is an active shopper who means business. They've made a purchase already and, as such, they should be encouraged to make more. An omnichannel automation solution should be able to suggest any of the following at the purchase stage:
An upsell: Here the customer is automatically persuaded via pop-ups or suggestions on the purchase page interface, to either upgrade their choice or choose a more expensive option. An example would be offering a slightly upgraded cellular phone to the one the customer just purchased, perhaps at a discounted rate to entice them even further.
A cross-sell: Cross-sells are closely related products or accessories that go with the purchased product. A great example would be the purchaser of a New York Knicks jersey automatically receiving the option to buy a cap, shorts, and other related merchandise.
After a purchase is made, regardless of the success or failure of the up-and-cross-sells, the automated solution should directly provide marketing feedback. This messaging should thank them for their purchase, suggest similar offers and discounts on related goods, and remain connected as far as possible to encourage a repeat purchase.
Omnichannel marketing automation solutions intuitively understand what a customer will do and what to do when they don't follow the predicted pattern. It helps the customer by providing them with what they are looking for and giving them peace of mind when making a purchase.
These automated solutions are highly effective methods for the business to take customers to checkout and help you understand their shopping journeys, buying patterns, and online habits. As a result, customers will view the brand as thoughtful, helpful, and genuinely concerned with their shopping experience, which is excellent for your brand reputation, and of course, your bottom line.
Originally published on January 26th, 2022, last updated on February 9th, 2022.