What is omnichannel retail advertising? | Clear Channel

Mastering omnichannel retail advertising to drive sales

The digital revolution has made omnichannel marketing unignorable for retailers. To grow or even just maintain your audience now requires a comprehensive approach that covers multiple channels and places the customer at the centre.

60% of all retail spend is offline, which means that offline media is still one of the biggest drivers of sales. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how online and offline should work together to nurture customer relationships and trigger action at the most effective points.

 But first, let’s establish what omnichannel retail advertising means.

What is omnichannel retail?

Omnichannel retail is a type of retail advertising that uses all available channels to reach and connect with customers in a cohesive way. This tends to include brick-and-mortar stores, online interactions, print, TV and radio, and forms of Out of Home (OOH) such as high street advertising and shopping centre advertising.

Omnichannel retail is sometimes confused with multichannel retail, but the two have distinctly different approaches. Omnichannel focuses on the customer first, aiming to provide a seamless and consistent experience across all channels. Multichannel strategies, on the other hand, use a product-centric approach to promote a brand across different channels.

 An omnichannel retail strategy can be as simple or as complex as is needed, but might combine elements such as:

  •  Building brand awareness using broadcast media.

  • Activating audiences with outdoor advertising close to the point of sale.

  • Nurturing customer relationships and providing support via social media.

  • Promoting new products via personalised email marketing.

Why adopt an omnichannel retailing approach?

Omnichannel retailing allows brands to tap into the unique benefits of each channel in a way that is crafted around the customer.

The ease and convenience provided by the opportunity to buy online and return instore, or the relationship-building effects of receiving personalised communications across all touchpoints, ensure that audiences feel understood and their needs met.

This flexible and tailored approach might be why more than half of UK shoppers have suggested that an omnichannel customer experience would increase their loyalty.

Omnichannel retailing examples

To better explain how omnichannel retail works in practice, we’ve created a couple of hypothetical examples.

1. Big household cleaning brand

Imagine a big household brand that sells ethical cleaning products. In response to diminishing market share, the brand needs to reinforce its presence in the minds of consumers across the UK.

Brits prefer to shop for groceries instore, so an omnichannel strategy is built around this insight. The brand decides to highlight its USPs by advertising on TV during peak times when families are watching. Brand recall is then triggered at the key moment with advertising screens positioned at supermarket entrances on weekend mornings, which is when families tend to do their shopping.

2. Independent local bakery

For our second example, we’re going to look at an independent bakery that has recently opened and needs to raise awareness of its presence in the local area. The bakery decides to adopt an omnichannel strategy using local SEO to raise its profile on Google Maps, along with high street advertising to improve visibility.

The brand then elevates its presence further by running community events and workshops. These events also help to build brand affinity, and provide the perfect opportunity to offer out loyalty cards to potential customers.

Strategies for mastering omnichannel retail advertising

Omnichannel retail advertising is all about being responsive to the customer, which means that every strategy should be unique. However, there are some basic steps that you can follow to help you master this approach.

1. Always focus on the customer

Omnichannel retail is all about the customer, so this is where you should start when planning your strategy. It’s crucial to understand the unique needs and preferences of your different target audiences, so conducting thorough research and developing audience personas is always a good first step. For instance, Gen Z shopping habits are distinctly different from boomers, which means they require a different approach.

2. Check your branding is consistent

Putting the customer first is important, but so is ensuring that your branding stays consistent across all channels. Omnichannel retailing helps to build more a meaningful relationship with your audience but if your tone of voice or key messaging keeps changing depending on the channel, the experience can be jarring and might damage this carefully cultivated relationship.

3. Keep communications connected

Don’t isolate your marketing assets from each other. To ensure that customers can continue to flow through the journey, all touchpoints should lead to another. Whether this means including a QR code to your website in your OOH ads or promoting a social media prize draw on your packaging, the customer experience should be consistent and continuous.

4. Increase engagement with personalisation

Omnichannel strategies allow you to communicate with your audience on a more personalised basis, rather than treating them as one homogeneous whole. Even public-facing channels like OOH, where revealing personal details would not be appropriate, can still be personalised to the customer’s current situation using factors like the weather, time of day, or even interactive screens equipped with cameras that can display the customer’s face back to them.

5. Reinforce marketing promotions

Special offers, discounts and promotions should be seamlessly integrated into various channels to amplify their impact. This also ensures that they’re available to the customer regardless of which channel they interact with, removing the need for them to hunt down deals themselves.

6. Choose your channels strategically

Tailoring your strategy to your audience means thinking carefully about which channels are most beneficial at each stage of the journey. For example, supermarket advertising is the ideal point to draw attention to a 2-for-1 offer currently available instore. Likewise, using in-store advertising to highlight your flexible returns policy can help to drive sales.

Unlock retail success with OOH advertising

Out of Home plays a vital part in any retail strategy, whether it’s bridging the gap between offline and online or prompting action among audiences who are already out shopping. To learn more about the different formats and advertising environments, as well as how to seamlessly integrate OOH into your omnichannel retail strategy, please get in touch.