More than just the latest buzzword, omnichannel marketing addresses the need for brands to provide a holistic, seamless experience across all channels and devices.
Consumers are more empowered than ever before. They have greater access to more information and can engage with companies in person, online, through apps, print media and video, or they can contact companies over the phone, via email and reach out through social media.
To maintain brand integrity and optimize the consumer experience, your brand needs to provide a consistent experience. Omnichannel marketing “is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent,” says John Bowden, Time Warner Cable’s senior vice president of customer care. According to Bowden, “omnichannel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution. Making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels must be fluid for the customer. Simply put, omnichannel is multi-channel done right.”
The beverage alcohol industry has been using multichannel marketing for years; isn’t it about time that your brand help the customer transition between channels with omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing focusses on the consumer’s experience. Creating a fluid, but consistent user experience across multiple channels is crucial to converting sales. Omnichannel marketing allows consumers to read about a product on a billboard, Google it on their computer, research it on social media, place an order with their tablet, complete the payment on their smartphone, and then stay engaged through emails –all without missing a beat or noticing any change in branding or experience.
How is your brand navigating this process? In October 2015, 83 per cent of retailers said that they were implementing an omnichannel strategy. In fact, according to Adweek, of those surveyed, approximately 70% of companies believe that omnichannel strategies are “Very Important/Critical”, and 78% have already experienced, or anticipate a boost in sales from omnichannel marketing. These are numbers that cannot be ignored by the beverage alcohol industry – and they aren’t being ignored. Or at least not by a small company taking the east coast of the US by storm.
Drizly is an alcohol delivery service that brings drinkers their beer, wine, or liquor of choice straight to their front door. Drizly has yet to reach Canada but it has already become a huge hit in Boston and Washington, DC.
Drizly Connect enables consumers to choose from a range of products that far surpasses that of any traditional liquor store. According to Nick Rellas, CEO of Drizly, the service gives “users a seemingly endless aisle experience in the palm of their hand available next day, for the first time ever. This is Drizly’s next step in evolving the alcohol shopping experience.”
Drizly has successfully used Connect to bring the shopping experience home, empowering consumers to have more choices, across new platforms. Rellas explained that “without Connect, when a customer walks into a liquor store and that retailer doesn’t carry the product they want, the customer either settles for something else or leaves empty-handed.”
According to Michael Di Lorenzo, Drizly’s SVP of marketing, the new service is a “step toward the ultimate online shopping experience. Now, we can instantly personalize the shopping experience for each consumer, no matter which screen they are shopping from, and no matter if they are a long-time or first-time shopper.” This experience is the essence of omnichannel marketing.
Drizly’s latest innovation was engineered by BlueConic, “a customer data platform that harnesses the data required to power the recognition of an individual at each interaction, and then synchronizes their intent across the marketing ecosystem.”
Customer data is at the core of omnichannel marketing. In order to provide a consistent user optimized, individual experience, customer data is vital. It has enabled Drizly to “continuously optimize interactions, leading to increased conversions and enhanced engagement, ultimately helping drive revenue.”
The future of omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing is only set to grow in the coming years. One of the primary factors behind this is the increasing trend towards making purchases directly on existing platforms.
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all already testing ‘buy’ buttons that would enable users to directly buy products without ever having to leave the site. Similar plans are being implemented by Google and YouTube. This turns different marketing ‘channels’ into self-contained marketing funnels. In the coming years, the need for a holistic omnichannel marketing strategy will be greater than ever.
Omnichannel marketing and the Internet of Things
A few more years down the line and the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) may be a reality. The IoT refers to the interconnectivity of different devices which communicate without human interaction. For example, a car GPS detects that the home owner is leaving work and connects to the house via the IoT. In response, the house then turns on the lights and air conditioner. Or an empty fridge alerts a homeowner in time to stop at the grocery store on the way home.
Smart products will also relay consumer data back to brands who can offer personalised, consumer-centric suggestions and recommendations when they are most pertinent. As Stephanie Canarte from St. Joseph Communications indicates, “Omnichannel’s core concept is creating integrated consumer experiences. IoT is all about connecting the physical with the online world. Together, omnichannel marketing and IoT give brands the necessary tools to develop highly personalized experiences.”
Current omnichannel marketing in beverage alcohol
Aside from outliers that are ahead of the curve, like Drizly, the beverage alcohol industry is falling behind other industries in terms of omnichannel marketing. This may have to do with more stringent regulations, but as Drizly has shown, omnichannel marketing is already here and is already producing results in the beverage alcohol industry.
With the continuing development of ‘buy’ buttons across social media and the emerging Internet of Things, omnichannel marketing will only become more crucial across all sectors. The beverage alcohol industry in Canada needs to catch up, and soon.