Omnichannel Marketing – then vs. now

Barblin Mayhew Content Queen
  • Name: Barblin Mayhew
  • Wohnort: New York City – Vereinigte Staaten
  • Job-Bezeichnung: Marketer & Brand Storyteller

Isn’t it interesting how most industries have their own buzz words and how they frequently change? In 2013 the word “omnichannel” seemed to be the buzz word of the year in the fashion industry. Everyone was talking about omnichannel, how products which are available in stores also would have to be available online, how ship-from-store and return-in-store were absolutely mandatory and how consumers would expect to be able to shop from a brand in whichever way they chose.

At the time, I was researching a new Denim Fit Guide strategy for Calvin Klein Jeans and I really wanted to take the same approach to the marketing of the guide and deliver the customer a consistent experience in stores and online. As we were going through competitive research I was not only surprised but quite shocked how many fashion competitors offered a completely different online experience to find a denim fit than what they communicated to their clients in stores and even on the garment.

Subsequently we developed a strategy to touch the consumer as many times as possible with more or less the same message to make it stick! And though CK had their difficulties providing a true omnichannel experience to their clients in regards to the actual product experience, we created a true omnichannel marketing campaign. We worked with almost all departments to roll out this beautiful and useful new tool in stores, online, through advertising, visual merchandising, associate training and even “Fit Events” in stores.

But what can or should an Omnichannel Marketing experience look like in 2021? How should businesses interact with their customers? With stores closing, foot traffic being down drastically and small business owners who perhaps do not have the set up or infrastructure to run an online store, where does this leave retailers and how can they still market their product and promote their business?

CKJ Spring'14 Hong Kong_1

Know thy customer!

It all starts with the customer. It is important to understand the qualitative and quantitative demographic of your consumer and to really understand what these insights mean for your business. What are your customers wants and needs and how can these insights help you market your product to them? Even if you do not have the most elaborate CRM system, talk and listen to your clients in whichever channel. Especially in the day of Social Media listen and read about your followers and truly try to understand your customers profiles. Plus, dig deep into the knowledge of your associates and find out what they know about their clients and what they can share for you to better understand your business.

Listen to thy customer!

According to the winter 2020 “Future of retail operations: Winning in a digital era” research report by McKinsey & Company: 

  • 83% of customers claim they want their shopping experience to be personalized in some way
  • effective personalization can boost store revenues by 20% to 30%

How amazing is that? You can use the insights you’ve gathered and tailor the content marketing to their liking – actually it’s expected of you. And the beauty of it all is, if you have a decent CRM system, that’s not rocket science anymore. So tailor the experience, personalize the newsletter based on their shopping history, demographic, interests, etc. Data needs to be understood which is just as important as asking the right questions while assessing insights, in order to tailor your marketing to the information at hand. Plus straight forward Clientelling is still one of the most important ways to interact with your customer, so make sure to have your associates follow up with a personal note or phone call when communicating with your customer base. A personal relationship to an associate in a store goes a long way, especially in the fashion, beauty and jewelry industry. And even if foot traffic is down, here’s a great tool to bring your store to your clients – it’s the FaceTime or Zoom of retail and brands like Woolrich, abc Carpet and Ted Baker already use it!

Don’t annoy thy customer!

It is so important to repeat your marketing messaging especially when we are talking about a specific event or message that has an ‘expiration date’ like a SALE or a promotion for a special holiday. But please don’t overdo it – customers get annoyed quickly and you don’t want to risk them clicking that UNSUBSCRIBE button. Be considerate when communicating with your client base, you want them to be interested but not annoyed.

Show thy storefront some love!

There’s nothing more annoying than walking into a store and not being able to find the product or product sections you were already looking at online prior to your store visit. So if you communicate fit or a special promotion, make sure that these are presented the same way in stores as online. Same marketing message, same presentation, just IRL! Shoppers appreciate consistency and the continuation of a story will help you bring your product to life.

All in all, customers want to become part of a brand or business if you have a story to tell. So treat them with honesty and be transparent and clear about what you stand for and how you will interact with your customers. If you are clear about your company values shoppers who align with them will want to become part of the story of your business!