As a mid-size manufacturer targeting both brick and mortar and digital consumers, how do you make an impact? What are some of the key components to creating a rich customer experience across both marketplaces? And how do you maximize your impression to build brand awareness and amass a crew of fresh advocates for your brand?
There isn’t a magic bullet. Many different consumer groups and behaviors are out there. But one thing is certain—it is far more effective in today’s world to employ an omni-channel engagement strategy; one that integrates several of the shopping methods available to consumers. In fact, Aberdeen Group Inc. claims that companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.
In today’s complex retail environment you need more than just a great product with beautiful packaging. Consumers have so many ways to engage with your brand across both digital and physical space. That’s why your brand’s message must be consistent, relatable, and authentic across multiple channels. It is essential to the functionality and symbiotic relationship that exists in a full-fledged brand ecosystem. Remember, a healthy brand ecosystem exists when business goals and practices are aligned with the brand strategy.
Let’s look at how that works in three important marketplace configurations.
We’re so connected now that it’s hard not to start the research phase right from our own sofa. Evidence of this is found in Wolfgang Digital’s research result that mobile sessions accounted for 59% of all sessions by device on e-commerce sites. But just because we start on our phone, doesn’t rule out the occasional desire to visit a store—for further consideration, or to purchase the product. Today, consumers want convenience and choices, from researching products online to purchasing online, and then having the item shipped to home or pulled for local in-store pickup.
Your brand’s website and e-commerce site should be designed with this diversity in mind. Make sure all content is centered on driving the overall brand experience. Here are four ideas that can help fuel a great experience in the customer awareness and research phase:
1. Stay Relevant
Employ a strategic inbound marketing plan to increase your chances of showing up in the top Google search results. Create rich content on your site, whether through SEO writing or an active blog, as it will help keep your customers tuned in to your brand and your product offerings. Use this opportunity to express the compelling truths of your brand. Consumers today want to connect with authentic brands.
2. The Simple Sell
The design of your site should be clean and clutter free. Don’t make visitors work for content. Instead, allow easy access to product descriptions and reviews so browsing experiences are focused on what makes your products stand out. Remind shoppers which of their local retail stores carry your products. Better still, offer online purchase with in-store pick up.
3. The Big Picture
Make sure your products are showcased beautifully and clearly reflect your brand’s image. Excellent photography goes a long way, especially online. Be empathetic to the fact that visitors aren’t able to touch and feel your products at this stage. If it’s velvety soft, say so. Cool to the touch? Mention it. If you have great packaging, don’t be afraid to show it off! It’s a great opportunity to connect your online visitors with your products in physical retail locations.
Take a look at S’well, a company that creates reusable aluminum bottles with a goal of eliminating plastic bottles. Not a new concept by any means, until S’well put a fashion forward spin on it. Their site grabs your attention immediately with its clean design and beautiful product photography. The shop page has a great filter tool for quickly finding and exploring potential purchases. There’s even rich content developed on a regular basis through a blog titled, “Stories”. S’well connects with potential and existing customers via the blog by talking about artist collaborations with the products and insights to the brand. Yet another way to infuse authenticity and truth into the brand experience.