Ecommerce took off like never before during the pandemic, as brands and businesses sought to stay in contact with consumers even as shopping habits changed dramatically. However, this wasn’t the first moment that omni channel marketing became popular, as even before this consumers were already combining digital purchasing with gathering local information online, reading reviews etc - many of which led to a local experience, such as visiting a dry cleaner or a restaurant. Recent research has identified that the pandemic may have slowed down this omni channel approach temporarily - during lockdowns - but now that the world is opening up once again it is very much at the forefront of how consumers want to interact.
3 key reasons why omni channel marketing is here to stay
Local engagement increased, even during the pandemic.
Predictably, ecommerce experienced a big upward tick during COVID-19. Perhaps not so predictably, local engagements in the UK also grew by 42%. This was not due to more consumers visiting stores but the increased number of clicks on websites. That engagement with a local business website could then lead to a number of other actions, including buying something from a website, booking an appointment or using a click and collect function. The main message of this seems to be that consumers were looking for a safe way to engage with businesses but focused on those businesses being local.
Preferences have diversified
This diversification is something that really suits a combination of offline and online experience. Only 17% of consumers surveyed choose to shop completely online while 37% like to shop locally. Interestingly, two-fifths of those who took part in recent research said that their preference would be either to check a product out in store and buy it online, or buy online and then use click and collect to get it. 76% of consumers want this kind of omni channel approach to returns too, choosing to buy something online but being able to return it in store. What this seems to indicate is a shift to a much more hybrid experience with digital channels being used to convert online or offline, depending on personal choice.
An omni channel approach is already working for some industries
In particular, for those businesses in sectors such as B2B, retail and finance where local engagements grew during the pandemic. What emerged from this data was that those businesses most able to take their products and services online during the pandemic were the best placed to then attract and engage local customers. For example, finance providers were able to set up online forms and meetings and offer a click-and-meet experience. Business location shifted from being a centre for marketing activities to something of a critical asset.
Post COVID-19, omni channel marketing is here to stay. The best way to approach this is to swiftly adopt the new channels and platforms that customers have shown a committed preference to during the pandemic and to meet your customers wherever they are, for example on smart devices.Iconic Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency in London focused on transforming growth forecasts for clients from mediocre to majestic. To find out more about Iconic Digital’s award-winning digital marketing services get in contact today on 020 7100 0726.