Businesses in Singapore are always looking for new innovative ways to drive up their sales. Many times, they will adopt new technology to see if this would be of help to their marketing efforts.
There is a danger in this approach. This is because the company runs the risk of making each channel isolated ant delinked from the overall marketing and branding story. Instead, there is a new up and coming trend that appears to be the next wave for businesses. The new wave is the Omni-Channel experience.
Omni-Channel evolved from what we used to call multi-channel marketing / selling. The difference is that for the latter, different channels (websites, store front, eDM, etc) were seen as isolated systems that served to provide the customer with the necessary information needed to make a purchase. Multi-channel marketing is not a bad thing. In fact it served the needs of businesses till l I would say the end of 2012.
However, the marketplace is changing and consumers are much more affluent and savvy. These days, so much information is available with the swipe of a mobile phone. At a retail store, a customer can do a price comparison, read up on customer reviews and drop out at any point of the buying process.
In the face of customers who embrace technologies and devices in all phases of the buying process, it is even more important that businesses engage these customers on all the different platforms to prevent dropouts from happening to deliver a consistent experience.
This is what the omni-channel approach means. It really is about a seamless integration on all available marketing channels. Your physical store, your mobile application, your website, your promotional material on TV, eDMs, your social media presence, etc.
By integrating your channels, you can obtain much better data. This means that you can understand which segments of customers prefer to make purchases at which platforms. Thus, allowing you to be more effective in your marketing efforts by using a medium that best appeals to your target audience.
Equally important, you are able to engage your consumers at multiple platforms, delivering a consistent message to ensure a consistent experience. Omni-channel is definitely the next wave and I see an uptrend in the take up rate for businesses this year.
The question that I constantly face is always this. 'This sounds very expensive.' While yes and no. Many businesses already have a website, some have a mobile app, most have a physical store front. The question is how we can bring this multiple channels together to form a coherent, meaningful and engaging experience for the customer.
The most dangerous number in running a businesses is 'the number 1'. This is because, if you use 1 channel, and that 1 channel fails, it spells disaster for the company Thus, businesses need to to establish multiple channels for to ensure optimal reach to the customer.
Omni-Channel is definitely the way to go. The question is not whether you should adopt it. The question is when.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Benjamin is a business strategist and organisational psychologist. He is also the Managing Director of Balanced Consultancy.