Trends 2018: Omnichannel is the New Normal
As smart technology enters our homes, cars, work and leisure time, marketers have the opportunity to innovate and reach potential customers via ever-expanding touch points. No purchasing decision is too small and omnichannel marketing is the new normal in 2018.
Shopping: Mobile Integration
The future of shopping will be phygital as we see options to purchase in both the physical and digital realms. Mobile is the common denominator between customer retail experiences. Deloitte in the US reports that more than 90% of consumers now use their phones in the shopping process.
According to Think With Google people are also using their phones as an “in-store research adviser” with a massive 82% of smartphone users saying they consult their phones on purchases they’re going to make in a store. Online shopping South Africa is forecasted to grow to over R53 billion in 2018 and it is estimated there will be over 21 million active smartphone users here within the next five years so mobile shopping integration is an imperative for marketers in 2018.
Home: Your Voice is Your Command
The Annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held recently in Las Vegas and the home of the future is truly something to behold with everything geared towards a technologically integrated lifestyle. The dominant tech feature of 2018 is voice assisted integration, the question is, whose voice- OK Google, Siri, Alexa or Cortana?
For marketers this means relooking at their brand platforms to ensure they are optimised for voice search. For an idea of how big this is and is going to become, Google Assistant is now available on over 400 million devices, and the global predictions, summed up by Branded3 are:
- “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.” – comscore
- “About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.” – Mediapos
- “We estimate there will be 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020.” – Activate
- “By 2019, the voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry.” – Technavio via Skyword.
Social Media: Personalisation
It’s only natural that in 2018 we might start yearning for more “human” interaction. How can social media help? By becoming more personalised. Social is going to need to reassure the user (if they want to keep them) that they know them better than Siri or Alexa does. The days of marketers churning out generic content are almost over.
On the up side, marketers have the skills and tools to create content which is genuinely useful and ads which reach the correct target market. In terms of personalisation, INC.com mentions “Social Listening” as one of the trends this year, and I agree. Analytics need to be more than tracking growth; they need to monitor what people are saying and act on the feedback. Ironically, it’s Chatbots which will give customers some of the personalisation they’re looking for. There are at least 100 000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger and a staggering two billion messages are exchanged between brands and audiences each month.
In closing, 2018 is going to be the year of the consumer and by extension, time to make your brand’s omnichannel presence a strategic priority.
Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting
About Prana Business Consulting
Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business. Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.
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Is Omni-Channel another buzz word? No, it’s actually been around for ever, just applied fractionally and therefore not very well. People have busy lives and are subjected to many messages of influence, both subtle and overt, through-out the day. There are also choices of shopping channels and the mesh that is the purchasing environment of today, means that strategy needs to have a strong thread of interconnectedness.
The movement towards Omni Channel is to have 1 clear campaign strategy rolled out to multiple channels with an adaptable communication method, and increase accessibility to purchase. i.e.) Web-to-store and store-to-web. The style used on a commerce platform is different to the style used in mobile or brick and mortar. The mistake that most bad executions make, is that there is a heavy reliance on tradition, and participation in online is as if to dip feet into the ocean…. Doing something to say that the brand has a presence. Adam Silverman, an author and opinion leader on Omni-channel says, “In the race to keep up with skyrocketing consumer expectations around omni-channel experiences, many retailers moved quickly to roll out omni-channel fulfilment capabilities without fully understanding the incremental expense of operating these programs. Today, retail executives are beginning to shift their focus towards profitability: moving from implementing to optimizing their omni-channel fulfilment initiatives.
Creating a unified customer experience that is crafted for the target market provides the best possible return and a lasting value perception. The foundation for this is a strong understanding of the full path to purchase so as to create interconnected touch points.
For example, An immune booster campaign crafted to develop the niche fresh vegetable and fruit juice health segment is rolled out in store with visual media, print in health magazines, digital with information sharing on Facebook, billboards and mall advertising. That’s 5 different channels of communication, but the real question is in the impact. The manufactures have used a small budget to make the product available in 2 major retail groups, health shops and an e-commerce mobi-site.
Below is an example, geared towards achieving an objective:
10 potential consumers, drive to work every morning and see the billboard message. The response is “I wonder what that’s about” or “How interesting, I didn’t know that”. The campaign should stimulate interest at this point.
6 of the 10 subscribe to a fitness magazine and see the advert again. The response is “I’ve seen this before”. The campaign should entice interest and maintain it… 5 readers are on Facebook and decide to join the vegetable fruit Juice page.
Facebook shares relevant information, frequently. The reader should get enough information to become a fan.
The 3 fans go in to a retail outlet after work and see the advertising in-store. This triggers a reminder to purchase. The other 2 readers go to a mall over the weekend and see the mall advertising giving the brand a trendy feel. They then go into store and are curious yet unconvinced. Tactical posts promoting a launch offer on the e-commerce mobi-site encourages the reader to trial. The 2 readers decide to go onto the site during a commercial break while watching TV at home to purchase the special launch offer. A case of the product is delivered to the door the next day with a coupon as a gift of the next purchase. Mission accomplished!! The rest relies on the brand to deliver at the 2nd moment of truth.
In this example, 50% of the sample size were convinced to purchase via a campaign that had frequent and relevant communication. The brand was also smart enough to provide an incentive to purchase at a time when the target market is relaxed enough to consider with the convenience of executing the purchase via e-commerce. Niche segments usually have higher loyalty, reducing the cost of recruiting consumers into the brand. The essence of impact rests in the quality of the campaign produced and in the execution.
The biggest focus on a new brand is to drive awareness and trial. If the communication plan creates enough structured hype across multiple channels to generate trial, and the product is available to purchase across platforms, the omni-channel strategy should yield results. In my opinion, Omni channel marketing will become mainstream, as brand owners realise the impact on influencing brand growth.