As they shop across devices, today’s consumers expect every brand interaction they have to be seamless and cohesive. 47 percent of customers would switch to a competitor within one day of a poor experience, which is why omni-channel marketing is mission-critical. Even one disjointed or disappointing interaction can tarnish the trust or kill the connection a brand has been cultivating.
Marketers at best-in-class brands are paving the way for powering omni-channel relevance at scale, rapidly integrating new channels to increase market share and retain loyal customers.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite ways that leading companies are winning over consumers by going omni-channel.
Starbucks goes all-in on mobile ordering to enhance customer loyalty
After ramping up its digital innovation spend, Starbucks can thank its redesigned app for boosting its Starbucks Rewards membership and increasing mobile purchases: Nearly 30 percent of sales are now generated through the app.
The Starbucks app, which had over 19 million U.S. users as of 2016, streamlines the transaction process with order, pay, tipping and rewards tracking capabilities. Customers can view and reload their rewards card by app, website, phone, or store with instant account updates. The app even connects the in-store and mobile experiences with a song identification feature that saves the song you liked to your Spotify account.
By incentivizing customer behavior—offering rewards for visiting at slower times, for instance—the app can gather a wealth of data on each customer’s order and visit history, which can be used to shape future marketing efforts.
“Our digital flywheel is a powerful proprietary asset that is driving deep customer engagement, revenue, and profit growth around the world,” CEO Kevin Johnson proclaimed in a 2017 investors’ call.
Disney uses beacon technology to provide purchasing and navigational support
From planning a trip to managing one in progress, Disney champions the omni-channel approach with wearable technology that works in tandem for vacationers from start to finish. My Disney Experience is a digital component that allows visitors to plan their park activities, manage hotel and dining reservations and add other travelers to a family and friends list. Users can access their My Disney Experience account from the web or their mobile device.
Once visitors arrive at their Disney destination, they can link their My Disney Experience account to a MagicBand, a smart wristband containing a touchpoint sensor. The MagicBand grants access to theme parks and hotel rooms, locates attractions, facilitates purchases and allows the wearer to view photos they take along the way.
Beacon technology tracks visitors’ every move, helping them make their way through the parks while simultaneously providing Disney with valuable data about crowd traffic trends that can be leveraged to improve the customer experience over time.
“The whole system gave Disney a way of understanding the business,” Nick Franklin, who served as Disney’s executive vice president of next-generation experience, told Wired. “Knowing we need more food here, how people are flowing through the park, how people are consuming the experiential product.”
Apple activates real-time customer data to offer personalized music recommendations
Apple is the worldwide pioneer in downloadable and streaming music, with a library of more than 40 million songs that can be listened to across any of its devices. By tracking your listening behavior, Apple can surface highly customized playlists and recommendations for new releases that should be on your radar.
Using its social networking platform, iTunes Connect, artists can also share new music and updates directly with fans that are following them, allowing for a more personalized and authentic layer of communication.
Apple’s recent acquisition of Shazam, a music and image recognition app with over 1 billion downloads, hints at some exciting integrations to come. Shazam enables users to immediately identify audio and visual content; this wealth of data could help Apple curate real-time content recommendations that its customers are sure to love.
Nike brings its brick-and-mortar locations to life with interactive sport experiences
Nike has been at the forefront of omni-channel retail, from its Nike+ app with personalized recommendations to its custom-made NIKEiD line. In recent years, the leader in athletic wear has been making headlines with brick-and-mortar locations that elevate the customer experience, including women’s only stores that offer bespoke services like pant hemming and bra fitting.
The brand’s latest New York location turns retail on its head: the five-story, 55,000-square-foot space contains a mini basketball court, enclosed soccer area, and running simulations—with dedicated staff on-site to analyze performance, suggest the right products for each customer and provide frictionless checkout using the store’s app and handheld point-of-sale systems.
“With Nike Soho, we can realize the promise of personalized performance […] Because it’s more than a store — it’s a personal sport experience,” said Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike’s direct-to-consumer business.
Benefit Cosmetics hits the road to bring its beauty brand to customers on-the-go
Known for delivering its brow services to women around the world, the San Francisco-based beauty brand took this strategy up a notch by launching several brow bar experiences to serve its customers in the U.K.—including its BrowMobile tour, which traveled thousands of miles to surprise competition winners with VIP treatment, and its GlastonBrow beauty drive-thru, which provided free eyebrow waxes and product samples to music festival attendees.
Benefit already owned 50 percent of the U.K.’s market share for brow products, and these experiential campaigns helped increase this share to 60 percent. Now the country’s top-five most popular products are owned by Benefit.
Experiential marketing enables powerful ripple effects across digital channels as well, since customers can share their exciting moments on social media and purchase tested items on its e-commerce site.
Kyra White, head of brand activation for Benefit Cosmetics U.K., commented on the BrowMobile’s success: “It shows our customer that we’re happy to go to them anywhere. Plus it’s really Instagrammable, which is great for a brand like ours which doesn’t do traditional above-the-line advertising.”
Calvin Klein partners with Amazon to deliver an exclusive collection to shoppers—both online and offline
In a strategic effort to bypass department stores and respond to consumer buying behavior, Calvin Klein launched an exclusive underwear line with Amazon during the 2017 holiday season, both online and at two pop-up locations in Los Angeles and New York City.
This partnership brought omni-channel marketing to the next level: shoppers who visited the pop-ups could receive fitting room assistance from Amazon Echo devices, customize their underwear with personalized embroidery, share social media clips and purchase items either in-store or via the Amazon app.
55 percent of those who were polled by RetailWire believe that exclusives will become a bigger part of Amazon’s fashion push, and many are applauding Calvin Klein for its trend-setting relationship with the tech giant.
“We want to reach consumers wherever they are shopping,” Cheryl Abel-Hodges, president of PVH’s underwear group, told the Wall Street Journal. “Digital is one of our fastest-growing channels, and Amazon is a really important part of what is happening in digital.”
theSkimm expands into commerce with curated gift boxes for newsletter subscribers
Dubbed “Oprah’s favorite email newsletter” by Forbes, theSkimm reaches over 5 million subscribers worldwide, targeted toward millennial women who need their daily dose of digestible news. Major brands like Chase, Buick and Starbucks have sponsored content in editions of theSkimm, leveraging the publisher’s “enviable 40% email open rate.”
Within the past couple years, theSkimm has found innovative ways to engage subscribers across all channels, including launching its paid mobile app Skimm Ahead, which automatically adds important events and announcements to customers’ digital calendars.
During the 2016 holiday season, theSkimm also entered the world of subscription retail with its Skimm the Season gift box. With two packages at different price points, the boxes contained recommended products, like wine, books, and gadgets. Naturally, each box also comes with a subscription to its mobile app—an omni-channel integration that provides both brand and consumer with a wealth of information.
“Skimm Ahead, theSkimm’s app, is a featured product in the gift box,” said co-founder Carly Zakin. “The app makes it easier to be smarter about the future by staying on top of major events coming up, like State of the Union, major sports events, new show premieres.”
Emulating a best-in-class omni-channel experience
These seven world-class brands exemplify true omni-channel relevance by creating highly integrated, personalized experiences. Achieving this level of success doesn’t happen overnight, but our own customers can attest that the right technology can make all the difference in elevating engagement.
For more insights on how to transform your marketing strategy and accelerate the growth of your business, download Iterable’s No-Nonsense Guide to Achieving Omni-Channel Relevance.