More than just a buzzword, “omnichannel marketing” represents a significant shift: marketers now need to reach and engage prospective shoppers wherever they are—whether it’s on desktop, via a mobile device, or in-person on-the-go. While shoppers still go to a dealership to see, feel, and test drive the cars they’re interested in, to get them onto your lot, you need to think beyond just the traditional channels of email and ads on radio and television. Implementing omnichannel marketing means using all channels—from social media and online advertising to mobile apps and in-person interactions—to provide a seamless buyer’s journey across multiple devices, allowing for consistency and constant connectivity between your dealership and the customer.
According to a 2017 Bain Automotive Global Survey, 50% of people start their car buying journey online and switch between online and offline modes an average of four times before setting foot in a dealership. For example, someone might research what vehicle they want on their smartphone, and then continue their search on desktop computer. Later on, when they’re ready for a test drive, they might contact the dealership on the phone, or send an email. This multi-device journey full of starts and stops only reinforces the need for an omnichannel strategy.
Here are a few excellent examples of companies out there that are already doing omnichannel marketing.
The iconic animated film giant is one of the best examples of omnichannel done right. They provide a seamless experience between all platforms; desktop, tablet, and mobile, making for a smooth and enjoyable customer experience.
After booking a trip to Disneyland through their website, you gain access to various passes and tools that allow you to plan your trip down to the finest detail, and check in with ease when you arrive. It also includes a Fast Pass, which acts as a room key, a photo storage device, and food ordering tool. All these things combine to make for a truly omnichannel experience.
Auto dealerships can learn a lot from Disney. Start with perfecting a website that is fully responsive and looks good on mobile, desktop, and tablets. Different devices means different screen sizes, so that means having slightly different versions of your website. You could also have an app developed that customers can use to streamline their purchases, set up appointments to view vehicles, or go for test drives.
Disney’s highly technical approach allows them to harvest data from multiple touchpoints to deliver a more customized and targeted customer experience. It provides deeper insights into customer behavior that they may not have been able to arrive at if they were taking a more old-fashioned approach.
For Virgin Media, customer experience is everything, and they focus on their omnichannel efforts on channels that help them provide the highest level of service. For example, one customer was given an extremely personalized, omnichannel experience after unloading his frustration on Twitter.
Much to his pleasure, the Virgin social media team responded to him right away to resolve the issue. It led to a phone conversation with a representative named Dan, who acted as the disgruntled customer’s main point of contact. He encouraged the customer to reach out to him directly in the event of future issues, reaching across the company’s different marketing channels to provide a personalized customer experience.
If one of your customers has a bad experience and lashes out over social media, take a page out of Virgin’s book and respond quickly with a one-on-one customer care experience. Adding a personal touch can work wonders even with the most unhappy customers. To do this, you’ll need to keep a close eye on what people are saying about their experiences with your company over social media and on online review sites like Yelp and Google. When you see a negative post from someone, don’t hesitate to reach out and see what you can do to solve their problem and maintain their customer loyalty. When all channels and employees work together seamlessly to go the extra mile, it can make a lasting impact.
Orvis is a sporting goods retailer that specializes in fly fishing gear and pet supplies, so they aren’t directly appealing to the Millennial base that is so important these days. They are, however, adopting digital technologies to provide a more modern shopping experience.
If you visit an Orvis store, you’ll find employees with iPads who can instantly order any out-of-stock product. Customers can also purchase any product currently in the store and pay via the employee iPad credit card readers. This means they don’t have to wait in line to cash out, so customers are free to roam the store and explore their wares. It provides a more free and seamless experience and that is what omnichannel marketing is all about.
For car dealerships, you could equip your sales team with tablets that allow customers to research deeper into what cars you currently have in stock, and what features and options they come with. The easier you can make it for customers to become well informed and make the best purchasing decision possible, the better off everyone will be. Adopting this type of approach will give you more ways to form relationships with your customers, especially with the millennial demographic which embraces technology so strongly.
These are just a few examples of what good omnichannel marketing can do for your business. If you haven’t considered omnichannel, it’s time to get on board or be left behind. To get started, you’ll need to invest in a good CRM software and combine all of your sales and marketing data into one platform. That way you can plan, track, and measure all the different channels in one place and make effective use of the data you collect on your customers.