Some online retailers have heard of cross-channel marketing; they might even know it’s a powerful tool for increasing conversions. But they aren’t totally sure what it is or what it offers.
Let’s take a look at cross-channel marketing for ecommerce, its benefits and possible barriers to the strategy.
What Is Cross-Channel Marketing?
Cross-channel, at its most elemental level, is a holistic marketing strategy recognizing today’s consumers are spread across a variety of channels.
Still not sure what that means?
It might help to identify single-channel marketing. If a mobile user is playing a game on his or her smartphone, they are likely to receive an advertisement for another mobile app or even a paid upgrade to their current application. This is one channel – mobile apps.
Conversely, cross-channel marketing recognizes a consumer might be on Instagram one minute, a mobile app the next, and a news website after that. Thus, if you are going to reach ecommerce customers in today’s fractured marketing landscape, you’re going to need to get crafty with your outreach.
What Is Ecommerce?
Shopify provides an ecommerce definition that is pretty straightforward.
“Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.”
If you’ve ever sold an old bike via Craigslist, well, that’s a form of ecommerce Even if you haven’t yet engaged with ecommerce as a seller, you have almost certainly bought something through the internet.
What’s the Difference Between Multi-Channel and Cross-Channel?
Now, we are getting into the nitty-gritty questions. While there are certainly differing opinions on the topic, multi-channel marketing is not the same as cross-channel marketing. Multi-channel marketing admits customers are all over the place, so to speak. It’s more concerned with hitting multiple silos, such as social media, email, and online advertising.
Think of it like checking off boxes on a form.
Unlike multi-channel marketing, cross-channel marketing is a comprehensive and integrated strategy. It still hits social media, email, online advertising, and the rest – but, it also promotes social media via email marketing, just as it you promote video content via your blog. In other words, it draws a continuous line through each of the check boxes, thus making your market strategy interconnected.
What Are the Benefits?
The primary benefit of cross-channel marketing is its ability to reach customers wherever they are. Another reason cross-channel is so powerful is it creates synergy. For example, seeing an image of your latest product release on Instagram and Facebook might pique a customer’s interest – maybe even getting him or her to hit “like” – but it’s not enough to instigate a sale. However, with enough repetition, the shopper starts to really want what you have to offer. What pushes this shopper into a buyer is a flash sale announced via email.
Research shows when customers receive outreach in two or more channels, levels of engagement are 166 percent higher than a single-channel rate and 642 percent higher than for customers who receive no messages whatsoever.
Understanding User Behavior and Loyalty
Another benefit of cross-channel marketing is its ability to keep your company top of mind. As consumers are served reminders of your brand over social media, banner ads, mobile video advertisements, promo emails, and the rest, they begin to familiarize themselves with your brand and identity.
Similarly, you can use these same strategies to increase the ranks of your social media followers, or ask for customer reviews. This adds to the wider conversation happening about your ecommerce brand.
It also makes customers feel valued and heard.
If you run a large ecommerce company, cross-channel marketing could step on the toes of your internal teams. The social media team might not know why you are wrapping their duties in with the paid advertising team. Be sure to communicate the strategy and its benefits to all of the teams it might affect. If you run an ecommerce SMB, on the other hand, it’s probably very easy to implement cross-channel early on.
Cross-channel can also be tough for short-staffed e-stores lacking expertise in a variety of marketing channels. Fortunately, there are services and agencies that specialize in this so you don’t have to be the expert.