MediaPost says that customers are “platform-agnostic” these days. They seamlessly switch between desktop, mobile, and tablet devices to shop to their hearts’ content. In fact, Google has confirmed that 90 percent of people switch between different devices to complete a single task, using at least three devices per day. Adding to the equation in-store shopping as well as TV- and phone-based purchases only intensifies the diversity of options.
Although this makes for a fantastic shopping experience for customers, it poses a growing challenge for successful e-commerce marketing among retailers and marketing professionals. It challenges marketers to creatively enhance their approach for effective cross-channel engagement and tracking.
As a marketer, do you think there is a constructive way to engage and track the online and offline customer experience through one system? Unfortunately, this question hasn’t been sufficiently answered by most marketers, to meet the challenge.
The Separate Worlds of Online and Offline Channels
In fact, MediaPost understands that retailers have progressed with online and offline stores as separate channels for the last 15 years. It’s ingrained in retailers and marketers that these separate channels can hardly ever be integrated into one place, to achieve desirable e-commerce marketing.
For some marketers, this issue is rooted in a lack of knowledge about effective cross-channel engagement and tracking procedures, particularly among new and traditional marketers. They don’t exactly know where to get the advanced data systems to handle the interconnected workload, or they don’t know how to design them.
But for other marketers, this issue is about cost. It’s expensive to update information systems to optimize the online and offline e-commerce marketing experience in one space. More specifically, it’s the lack of precision and predictability tied to offline shopping that drives up costs. The digital sphere offers a more easily interconnected space to explore engagement and analytics with less uncertainty.
Who’s Succeeding at Cross-Channel Engagement and Tracking?
Fortunately, there are some prominent companies who are achieving success through cross-channel engagement and tracking. One of them is Nordstrom, making an admirable stride in ecommerce marketing.
Nordstrom does a great job blending the online and offline customer experience for integrative tracking. For example, it displays the closest store location and inventory information with search results, for products. This makes the shopping experience more convenient with multiple options showing on one page.
Certain retailers, such as Best Buy, offer customers the online option to check which nearby stores have products in stock along with the option to order these products and pick them up in stores. As you can imagine, these retailing milestones make it easier to analyze online and offline progress together.
Start Small and Work Your Way Up
If you’re confused about where to start with cross-channel engagement and tracking, we suggest you start small. Mimic exceptional companies such as Nordstrom and Best Buy. Try to incorporate ways for customers to determine local inventory at convenient locations through your website.
Track how many in-store visits are connected to online purchases. You could even run social media campaigns to garner interest in new products by offering sign-up forms for free samples that need to be picked up in stores. Besides, people love getting free samples.
Overall, cross-channel engagement and tracking are difficult, but they aren’t impossible. Want to learn more about converting online searches to in-store purchases? Go ahead and read our POV: Search-to-Store Attribution: Solving the Missing Link. Or see how we helped a leading equine supply retailer boost its e-commerce sales.