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Shoppers are no longer defined to a single channel. They bounce between in-store visits, online shopping, social media storefronts, and more — and they expect brands to meet them wherever they are.

When consumers have the freedom and flexibility to switch selling channels on a whim, data-driven marketing becomes paramount. Leveraging data to understand customer behavior and what is driving conversions isn’t just a competitive advantage; it’s essential to grow your business and rein in spiralling acquisition costs.

That’s why building a unified view of your customer — who they are, where they’re buying, and how often — is at the heart of successful multi-channel selling. 

In this blog, we’re diving into how you can do exactly that.

 


 

What is multi-channel selling?

Multi-channel selling is when businesses utilize multiple selling platforms to extend their brand’s reach and enhance sales opportunities. 

Multichannel selling increases the number of touchpoints available to reach and convert, giving your brand more visibility in the marketplace. In sum, expanding your business’s presence into new channels ensures you don’t hit a ceiling and find yourself struggling to acquire customers in the long term.

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Popular channels for multi-channel selling include online marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy, eBay), physical stores, eCommerce websites, social media platforms (TikTok, Instagram), mobile apps, and wholesale partnerships.

A successful multichannel sales strategy requires businesses to provide a holistic, consistent customer experience across sales channels.

To achieve this, retailers are constantly trying to seamlessly integrate our operational silos — eCommerce platforms, inventory software, order management, loyalty management, customer data, and more.

The goal? By unifying all these channels, retailers have access to the whole data story. This gives them the insight they need to build out a comprehensive multichannel strategy.

Leveraging customer data for effective marketing

Customer data is at the core of any effective multichannel marketing strategy.

Systematically gathering customer data from different platforms and touchpoints in the shopping journey enables you to zero-in on customer behavior, demographics, and preferences. This is the first step to aligning your brand messaging across platforms and building a cohesive brand identity that consumers can trust. 

To leverage customer data effectively, all of your sales channels — whether that be a physical retail store or an online store — need to be unified so that customer data can be collected and shared centrally. Tools such as CRM software, customer loyalty platforms, POS systems, and influencer marketing platforms can help you gather comprehensive data from every interaction in the customer journey, from brand awareness to the point of purchase and beyond. 

This allows you to build unique customer profiles that records these interactions across physical and digital channels. Note: It’s important that customers are explicitly consenting to share their data with you, to stay compliant with data privacy laws in your region.

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But to get genuinely valuable insights from this data, you need to ask the right questions. Keep these questions in mind as you study your data:

Who are my best customers? It’s a small proportion of your customer base that’s responsible for the majority of your revenue. Think about how to reward that most valuable cohort with perks that will bring them back to spend more. Ideas include early access to sales or product releases, lower prices, free shipping, free samples, and priority customer support.

How many customers have I lost? Controlling customer churn is essential to keep your acquisition costs under control. Data can tell you whether the customers that are churning are new customers who aren’t making repeat purchases or long-time customers churning out after several purchases. You can view this information across selling channels to see whether losses are isolated to a single channel, like your Shopify store, or various channels.

Which customers am I at risk of losing? If it’s been a long time since purchasing or customers are no longer opening promotional emails or loyalty program updates, these are red flags that these profiles are at risk of churn.

Which channel has the highest repeat purchase cycle/average order value? Your highest-performing channel can tell you a lot about which touchpoints are resonating with your customers. For example, if your online store sees the highest average order values, consider how you can better personalize upselling and cross-selling recommendations in your brick and mortar store to capitalize on the experience of talking to in-store sales representatives.

Strategies for multi-channel selling


1. Tap into existing customer profiles

Customer profiles should form the nexus of your multichannel selling strategy. This granular customer data allows businesses to segment their target audience and tailor marketing efforts to the needs and preferences of each customer. This targeted approach ensures that marketing messages are more likely to resonate with customers, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

For Jordan Hepburn, manager of HobbyTech Toys, collecting a vast array of omnichannel data makes it possible to segment their customers in a variety of ways, including where purchases are made, what marketing campaigns those customers received/responded to, average order value in-person vs. shopping online, and more.

hobbytech toys is an example of a multichannel retailer

2. Optimizing for lifetime value

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) refers to the total amount of revenue a customer relationship is expected to earn for your business. High CLV is a good indicator of customer satisfaction and loyalty, because customers are choosing to keep returning to your business over multiple sales cycles. 

Brands can increase CLV by investing in marketing and loyalty initiatives geared towards turning one-off purchases into repeat purchase behavior. This includes loyalty programs, click-and-collect options, personalized email flows, and recommending complementary products.

Upselling and downselling tactics can also simplify the shopping experience for customers. By ‘downselling’ we mean suggesting a discounted product or bundle at the checkout that offers cost savings. This prompts customers to consider the additional value on offer and boost online sales.

3. Utilizing customer databases

Tapping into databases is a straightforward way to maximize opportunities to interact with customers. It’s common for businesses to organically build vast databases throughout the sales cycle — but without actually leveraging them in a marketing or loyalty context. 

Existing databases can be used to drive repeat purchases and reach new segments you might not be aware of. Moreover, it’s a great way to showcase the size of your customer base to any potential buyer in the future.

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However, it’s important that you don’t ‘over-leverage’ databases in a bid to secure more sales. If email flows or SMS have low open and engagement rates, this behavior is more likely to push customers away from purchasing. 

Monitoring metrics like open rates will help you gauge how much interest exists for new products or promotions; high open rates can signal strong interest, while low open rates may  require you to reevaluate your email strategy to avoid alienating customers.

Campaign planning and execution

Targeted campaigns help businesses capitalize on key events or periods of time when consumers are more open to hearing about promotions or new products. 

Targeted campaigns fall into two main groups: Event-based campaigns and time-based campaigns.

Event-based campaigns cover occasions such as customer birthdays, anniversaries, and product launches. Time-based campaigns focus on key holiday periods (like peak season and Easter), new seasons, or annual sales events that are highly anticipated by customers, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Using a combination of these campaigns enables you to effectively nurture potential customers and push them toward your selling channels. However, targeted campaigns mustn’t be generic excuses for communicating with your customers; they need to resonate with your target audience. 

If you’re an outdoor retailer, Memorial Day weekend is likely an important event for your customers. You can develop email nurture campaigns that target both returning customers and first-time customers. For example, you could celebrate gearing up for fun summer activities, like hiking, kayaking, cycling, and more.

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Use technology to drive marketing efforts

Planning and optimizing marketing campaigns across your eCommerce store and offline channels requires a level of coordination that’s impossible to achieve manually. Fortunately, there is a range of platforms available to assist businesses with data-driven multichannel selling and marketing. 

For example, Klaviyo is an integrated marketing automation platform that enables businesses to create and manage personalized review, email, and SMS campaigns based on criteria like customer behavior and purchase history. Marsello, meanwhile, offers advanced loyalty management software to set up and manage retention-driving loyalty programs across platforms.

Automated workflows save your team valuable time and resources when managing a multichannel retail strategy. You can automate the repetitive parts of customer relationship and loyalty management, such as sending welcome emails, birthday rewards, order fulfillment and shipping updates, and more. This ensures timely, relevant communications with your wider audience, helping to build brand trust.

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When combined with segmentation, this takes your multichannel marketing strategy a step further by automating the sending of communications based on criteria such as purchasing history, online + offline shopping behavior, location, and demographic information. This way, you can craft highly personalized marketing campaigns for specific groups, without the burden of having to send or schedule each message or email. 

For instance, you can use automation to follow up with a customer after purchasing a specific product listing. HobbyTech Toys has an email flow that follows up with customers after a craft knife purchase at the point where the blade needs to be replaced. Even though this is in the product description, this reminder of key product information post-purchase provides ongoing value to the customer.

Measuring and attributing success

Monitoring the success of your marketing campaigns is key to refining campaigns over time for better results. Key metrics for evaluating campaign effectiveness include:

Revenue. The total value of sales that can be attributed to a campaign is a massive indicator of how well it resonated with customers and tapped into their preferences/pain points.

Basket size. Whether a campaign successfully persuades customers to add further items to their shopping cart.

Open rates/click rates. The number of recipients who opened a campaign email or message helps to measure engagement and whether your offer resonated with different segments. For example, if 30% opened an email but just 5% clicked, it’s important to investigate how your email marketing might be falling short.

However, measurement alone doesn’t tell you what actions were taken as a result of a marketing campaign. Knowing which touchpoints are contributing to conversions is key to optimizing omnichannel selling. 

For example, adding UTMs to a campaign allows you to track first/last clicks from different campaign elements, so you can understand what’s driving engagement in real time. Assigning unique coupon codes to promotions also means you can measure how much revenue has resulted from each campaign, minus the cost and any sales/discounts that are applied.

Customer data comes to the forefront here. You can use historical data to predict customer behavior around different events or times, enabling you to tailor marketing strategies accordingly. For example, you can avoid overselling inventory during key sales events by timing email communications when stocks are high. Data like demographics, behavior, and preferences can be used to create different variations of campaigns for A/B testing, so you can find what combination of assets and messages performs the best with different segments.

Practical tips from industry experts


Rory Moss, Chief Revenue Officer at Marsello

“There are databases across each and every business that haven’t been utilized to their full extent.”

As we said earlier, your customer database provides a strong foundation for targeted marketing efforts and segmentation. However, your databases need to be in a good state of maintenance to leverage useful insights about channels like physical storefronts and even your own website. This means properly integrating marketing platforms like your loyalty management system and your POS to make sure that comprehensive insights are flowing into your database and enriching insights over time.

Jordan Hepburn, Manager at Hobby Tech Toys

“Always have more data than you think you need.”

According to Jordan, spending time and resources gathering data is key. Even if that data doesn’t have a clear application right now, it could be immensely valuable in the future, depending on what targeted campaigns you want to try. 

Jordan’s marketing calendar leverages Klaviyo for automated segmented marketing campaigns on key events, like Mother’s Day and Black Friday. Mother’s Day, for example, is only sent to men on their mailing lists. But carving out time to actually manage this data is crucial. Jordan prioritizes spending an hour per day on data analysis and campaign planning to understand the ‘wins’ and weaknesses of each campaign.

Learn from retail experts Rory and Jordan in this multi-channel marketing masterclass:

webinar - experts give advice on multi-channel marketing

Final words

Successful multi-channel selling requires brands to have a unified understanding of their customer's behaviors, preferences, and interactions with numerous touchpoints in the shopping journey. It’s essential to gather and analyze customer data across platforms to create targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with key customer segments, fostering loyalty and driving repeat purchases.

Customer databases provide a key starting point for analyzing data and understanding what communications are likely to drive urgency to purchase. However, it’s not just about having access to data, but knowing how to leverage it to anticipate customer needs and deliver consistent experiences. Integrating eCommerce platforms, marketing automation, CRM, and loyalty management not only improves operational efficiency, but ensures seamless customer experiences across channels that build brand trust.

Customer data helps to transform marketing spend into a serious growth engine for your business and transform multi-channel selling.


 

Need help? Get advice from a retail marketing expert and start driving repeat sales.

Book a demo

 


 

Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

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