Omnichannel marketing: The consumer IS the channel.

As part of an op-ed series, BizNews shares the expertise and diverse perspectives of members of the university community. In this piece, Greg Maloney discusses how to market to consumers who today have access to many retail channels and sales within minutes to buy a single item.

By Greg Maloney, marketing instructor, College of Business

Omnichannel marketing is the latest trend in marketing that looks at the experience from the consumer’s perspective. It’s been labeled the “single largest opportunity” for businesses right now.

Greg Maloney
Greg Maloney

Moving away from traditional channels, omnichannel marketing recognizes that multiple vehicles can make up a single purchase process for the customer and tries to merge them all into a single experience. The way the consumer shops is now more important than the specific channel they purchase from.

Omnichannel marketing represents the biggest shift in marketing and consumer behavioral changes since 1995 when Amazon was first created.

The numbers are clear:

  • 81% of consumers browse online before making an in-store purchase
  • 71% of in-store shoppers use their smart phone to browse deals online while in the store; 19% buy from a competitor while shopping in-store
  • 60% of consumers would be willing to share personal information (such as GPS location) in exchange for discounts
  • 75% of all shoppers admit to using coupons and rebates they received through email and social media

A shopper browsing at Kohl’s website receives an in-store alert letting them know which of the products looked at online are in stock, and a 20 percent off coupon. A few days later, a thank you email from Kohl’s delivers another discount coupon. Target reminds customers of upcoming special events based on previous purchases identified by a gift tag.

Creepy? Not so. It’s knowing your customer and delivering a personal touch. The salesperson knowing you by name has now evolved to the company knowing your purchasing preferences.

Omnichannel marketing is feasible and cost-effective for a broad range of businesses. The must-dos:

  • Have a presence on the web
  • Be aware that consumers are hyper price sensitive now
  • Collect information from the consumer and use it
  • Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

Expand your knowledge on this topic by participating in the FIU College of Business “Next Level Growth” seminars.

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