The Deloitte annual holiday survey of consumers found that omnichannel customers spend 208 percent more than customers who shop in-store alone. Due to statistics like this, retailers and e-commerce companies have made providing a quality omnichannel customer experience a top priority. The modern consumer shops online through multiple devices as well as in-store and is well-researched and informed. More and more brands now syndicate themes and messaging across all marketing platforms to meet the expectations of their versatile and educated patrons. The best practices of these three successful omnichannel businesses can teach entrepreneurs of all industries how to best serve their client bases in years to come.
Hailed by many as the omnichannel king, the outdoors and sporting goods retailer has pushed its many channels — brick-and-mortar stores, catalogs, online, mobile and social media — to become more useful, unified and relevant to the shopping experiences of its customers. More impressively, Cabela’s has had tremendous success in its endeavors and is recognized as one of the true, few operational omnichannel retailers. How do they do it?
- Offer Multiple Mobile Apps: Whereas most retailers offer a single mobile app, Cabela’s has three. One app translates the company’s hub website to the appropriate specifications for smartphone access, another app is centered around shopping, and its last app is called the Recon Hut app. The Recon Hut app is an interactive GPS app that allows users to drop pins that map their specific movements in the outdoors, meaning a user could pin where he or she sighted a deer and add additional pins along the route in which they tracked it. It is a feature uniquely applicable and relevant to the company’s customers and it’s tied in directly to the shopping app.
- Promote and Sell through Social Media: Cabela’s is tuned into its target demographic of fishermen and hunters, as evident by the 5 million Facebook friendsand the activity found on social media pages. These “fans” post photos of hunting trophies, share their fishing stories, discuss best campgrounds and techniques, which ultimately leads to unprompted discussion of their favorite products and purchases. The company also uses YouTube as a viable medium, posting how-to videos and product demonstrations on their channel that garner hundreds of thousands of views.
- Streamline Digital Sales: The Cabela’s website spurs more than 50 percent of the company’s direct sales. This may be due to the the incredible availability of inventory. Their gun library, for instance, is a sight to behold as a massive collection of firearms and serves as mush as an educational resource as it does a sales site. The website and and its subsequent categories is also very user-friendly. It utilizes “planogramming,” which involves breaking the site down category by category and evaluating usability and navigation, which results in numerous category tabs at the top. The company also implements remarketing tools, meaning that if a consumer visits the website but does not make a purchase, based on that customer’s browsing, Cabela’s offers him or her a relevant banner ad at a subsequent site.
Beauty retailer extraordinaire, Ulta, has been experiencing steady growth and sales even as other retailers face slumps. This is the direct result of the company prioritizing and investing in omni-channel tactics. Here’s how:
- Focus on Internal Communication: Within the Ulta hierarchy, multiple teams are constantly connected and participate in consistent communication. This communication helps create a singular experience for its customers, regardless of the department they deal with, and this is especially important when it comes to dealing with complaints or issues. A supply chain problem, an inventory issue and merchandising snag are all treated with the same dedication and in the same manner, helping to convey consistent service, making for satisfied guests.
- Test in small increments: Additionally, Ulta is not afraid of testing products, but the organization is smart about testing and practices testing in small volumes. Ulta first adds new products to its e-commerce site before these products are introduced into stores, typically two weeks after the e-commerce launch. Reportedly, this method was implemented after the company noticed that customers were “webrooming,”which is the process of a customer performing online research on a product before venturing into a brick-and-mortar store to actually buy it. It is the reverse of “showrooming” in which customers examine products in-person then end up buying online. Two weeks ends up being the average length of time between the web research and in-store purchase and this practice has allowed Ulta to deliver the main goal of omnichannel, providing a seamless experience for shoppers.
The office supply retailer has been around the brick-and-mortar block a few times and is no stranger to marketing, but the organization has really upped its game in the digital world by embracing omnichannel strategies. Which ones can entrepreneurs borrow for their own companies?
- Evaluate Each Channel for Performance: Consumers behave differently within different channels, but a diligent company knows how to understand the function of each channel but still create a cohesive experience for its clientele. Some channels are better suited to generate awareness about a brand or product while others are more conducive to the process of purchasing. Staples identified the purpose and function of each of its channels and used that knowledge to help determine what to focus on in each one to achieve a seamless experience.
- Pay Attention to Shopper Trends: Staples noticed that in recent years, customers had begun to shop earlier and earlier on Black Friday. The company modified its selling plan to accommodate by launching mobile dealsat 11 p.m. the evening before and continuing those mobile-only deals through until 5 a.m. the morning of, thus providing customers the opportunity to shop when convenient for them. A simple observation allowed for them to increase holiday sales.
Modern entrepreneurs must understand how modern consumers buy and which channels best suit these buying conditions. With the days of solely selling through retail brick-and-mortar store now a thing of the past, companies of the future should integrate contemporary practices and harness the power of omnichannel now.