Engagement Tools for the Omnichannel Commerce Marketer
Never before have marketers had so many opportunities to engage consumers. Ever-connected and digitally savvy, today’s shoppers can get the products and services they want nearly anytime from almost anywhere using practically any device.
Technology has created this omnichannel opportunity, which has become a formidable challenge for even the most established brands, many of which still struggle to manage inventory and other gaps between their brick-and-mortar and online locations.
It’s time to consider your omnichannel strategy. A great place to start is to learn about the technology and tools you can use to engage consumers and increase their loyalty to your brand over time. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of omnichannel marketing and the tools marketers can use to leverage this growing opportunity.
Omnichannel and multichannel are often confused when it comes to marketing. But the distinction has less to do with technology and more to do with a brand’s strategy.
Companies that focus on maximizing the performance of each channel — online, in-store and mobile — are using a multichannel marketing strategy. An omnichannel approach considers every channel customers use or could use to engage with a brand. It puts customers, rather than business goals, at the center of the strategy and aims to ensure a consistent experience across all points of interaction.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How can they interact with your brand? Where might they run into problems? How can you improve the experience? Then, take time to listen to your customers, and invite them to share their experiences.
One luxury fashion brand used social listening to uncover issues with its products that were affecting online sales. Rebecca Minkoff, the first fashion brand to embrace Snapchat, found that social media platforms provide an invaluable opportunity to forge relationships with customers and learn from them.
Rebecca Minkoff co-founder Uri Minkoff said the desire to learn from consumers and deliver unique experiences based on their needs is what helped shape the Rebecca Minkoff brand into what it is today.
For example, the brand’s “See Now, Buy Now” initiative lets shoppers purchase the brand’s new seasonal fashions shortly after their runway debut.
It makes sense: Consumers view engagements with your brand as a one-to-one relationship. They’re seeking — to the point of expecting — a personalized conversation with you.
For example, a shopper who consistently views swimwear on your website would likely be interested in an in-store swimwear sale. If that shopper buys swimwear in-store, she’d likely appreciate related product recommendations for items like sandals and beach towels via email.
Your omnichannel strategy begins with your online presence — both your website and the tools that support it behind the scenes, which include your ecommerce and marketing automation platforms and your presence on social media.
Solid integrations across your marketing automation stack are critical for omnichannel engagement. Add to that a clean feed of product data, shared across your ecommerce and marketing automation platforms, and you’ll begin to engage consumers in more personalized ways that deliver results.
Consumers are embracing personalization, but they want to feel in control of their experiences. According to Oracle Retail 2025, three in five consumers (58 percent) had a positive attitude about the idea of having their grocer suggest a shopping list for their approval based on purchase history and social and environmental data. But there’s a limit: Almost the same number of consumers (54 percent) indicated having that grocer automatically charge and ship items based on that information was invasive.
Among your most important engagement tools for personalization is a commerce-focused marketing automation platform. It should track your shoppers’ online browsing, carting, and purchasing behaviors and automatically deliver messages to re-engage them with your brand and encourage them to purchase the products they’re considering.
Browse and cart recovery applications automate messages to shoppers that recover revenue that would be lost when those shoppers browse your site or put items in their carts, but then leave before buying.
Deep personalization comes next. Product recommendations are an excellent way to engage shoppers and begin having a more personal conversation. When you add a recommendations engine to your marketing stack, you can send highly personalized product recommendations to customers across all of your messages.
For example, once someone browses a product on your website, you can automate browse recovery to send a personalized email that includes information and images of other products they are likely to be interested in based on past browsing, carting, and shopping behaviors. It might also include links to informative articles, videos, and other relevant content.
While personalization in omnichannel marketing rightly focuses on the consumer, it’s also important that your tactics support your broader business goals. The best marketing automation platforms allow you to change product recommendations based on the business rules you set.
Designer label Vince Camuto sells its shoes, clothing, and handbags in its own retail stores, through major retailers, and online. The brand automated a welcome series and cart recovery messages to personalize email and generate brand awareness. Website traffic increased by about 80 percent and revenue from email increased 60 percent.
Vince Camuto also got creative with personalization. When a new store opens or an event is scheduled at an existing store, the ecommerce team emails subscribers within a 50-mile radius. During a particularly rainy period in New York City, the team segmented New York area subscribers and sent them an offer featuring rain boots.
The impact of targeted, automated email campaigns was so profound, the company shifted its online strategy to move away from paid search to focus on email, which accounts for 29 percent of web-generated revenue. “In some months, email outperformed paid search as a revenue driver,” said Eve Loughran, ecommerce manager for Vince Camuto. “We’re seeing a very strong return on investment.”
At a base level, your ecommerce platform and marketing automation must capture and share both online and in-store purchasing behaviors. A seamless in-store pickup process for online purchases — one that is convenient, with no waiting — is critical because those shoppers may have begun their purchase journey online to avoid the in-store experience.
A growing number of brands are using technology to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping behaviors. Augmented reality allows shoppers to visualize a product in their homes or on their shoulders to see how the product will fit for them. For example, virtual clothing can be superimposed onto a shopper’s mirror image.
California-based Jerome’s Furniture uses augmented reality to allow online users to see, with the click of a button, what thousands of products would look like in their homes. It has been a huge success: Those who use the tool spend at least 15 minutes on the website and are 73 percent more likely to convert.
“For those who prefer the in-store experience, we introduced an app that allows users to scan a QR code on any piece of furniture and quickly view product details, online customer reviews, videos, and user-generated content,” said Scott Perry, senior vice president of digital marketing.
“Customers can also use the app to track orders and make a wish list while in the store. There are so many opportunities to close that gap and give customers the seamless shopping experience they expect.”
Look for marketing automation platforms that offer high performance, scalability to grow with your business, and smart architecture. Choose a vendor that offers a history of success in these five areas.
- Solid integration with other systems. Your systems should share, in both directions, the data that matters most to your business. It’s great when your CRM and your marketing automation platform are integrated, but if that integration doesn’t support the product feed from your ecommerce platform, it’s not enough.
- Capacity for deep segmentation. Align your personalization tactics with your business goals. For example, make sure you can determine which products you’d like to feature in automated workflows, such as products with the highest margin or products that are trending on your website.
- Commitment to innovation. The teams that create your marketing automation tools must be prepared for the expected and the unexpected. That means fortifying systems to prepare for increased demand during high-volume selling periods and maintaining strong industry partnerships to ensure high deliverability for your messages.
- Client services. Individual heroics don’t scale. Don’t count on what you or your team alone can accomplish with marketing automation. Your time to revenue will be faster when you can tap into a network of commerce marketing experts to guide your strategies and tactics.
- Exceptional support. Access to help when you need it ensures more uptime and more reliable revenue generation. Customer support that is live and provided by friendly experts is essential.
For more details on what to look for in a marketing automation platform, download this whitepaper: “Critical Questions to Ask Your Commerce Marketing Vendor.”
By beginning to apply some of these tools, you’ll be able gather data on those who engage with your brand and provide the more personalized experience they want. As you progress in your use of technology to automate your commerce marketing tactics, you can begin to gauge how your approach is affecting your customer lifetime value and your brand’s bottom line.
About Oracle + Bronto
Oracle + Bronto provides a cloud-based commerce marketing automation platform to mid-market and enterprise organizations. Oracle + Bronto is the number one ranked email marketing provider to the global Internet Retailer Top 1000, with a client roster of leading brands, including Rebecca Minkoff, Vince Camuto, Lucky Brand, Theory, Björn Borg, Ashley Homestore, and Christopher & Banks. For more information, visit Bronto.com.