Omnichannel Experiences: Creating Online And In-Store Moments That Matter To Millennials

These experiences are not simply coordinated, and not simply integrated, they become continuous.

Mobile marketers, take note: Millennials already live in an omnichannel shopping mindset. In fact, they were living in this mindset years before most businesses realized they needed to adjust operating models accordingly. These young shoppers carry with them the central expectation that a spectrum of seamless and consistent online and offline engagements will be the norm across their shopping journey.

The goal of omnichannel marketing is not to create multiple experiences across multiple channels — that’s multichannel marketing — it is to build a unified brand-to-consumer interaction across all channels. Omnichannel experiences are not simply coordinated, and not simply integrated, they become continuous. A consumer can begin an experience in one channel and complete that interaction somewhere else. And, with the Millennial demographic set to spend some $200 billion in coming years, the imperative for brick-and-mortar to focus on omnichannel to reach them is more critical than ever.

Success begins — and begins only, as there are many ways to inspire Millennials in the omnichannel space — with close attention to social-media interactions, live support, and real-time surprise and delight.

  • The Social Experience: Based on our recent research, more than 1 in 4 young consumers, aged 14 – 29 (including both Millennials and Gen Z), said they use a mobile phone while browsing in a physical store, seeking guidance, input, and validation from friends and family on their screens. Engaging organically with Millennials as they share these experiences requires nuance and a sense for strategic delicacy, adapting to the distinctive “dialect” of each platform in positive and relevant ways. Taco Bell has earned notice by using Snapchat, for example, challenging young consumers to “Doodle Wars” that can be shared and saved for later, piping more attention to the brand-related drawings via Twitter, and all the while steering diners toward fresh brand-focused engagements.
  •  Mobile-to-Live Support: Some 60% of Millennials recently told Radial that they want online chat and communications as part of their in-store shopping segment. A key opportunity for brick-and-mortar, then, is to seamlessly match a conversation that starts on mobile to a moment when an expert in-store representative can pick it up, further prompting the anticipatory inspiration that Millennials say they crave. The hospitality industry has become a superb example of this kind of handoff, with staff having all the immediately preceding information available on desktop and/or mobile device at the moment of the switch.
  • In-the-Moment Inspiration: Brands that commit to omnichannel experiences can plug into Millennials’ openness to new ideas in the moment — specifically the kind that arise during otherwise-occupied segments of their shopping journey. Advertisers can prompt or seal the deal around restaurant visits, for example, giving users a chance to skip a seating line by donating to a social cause on their smartphone. This aligns with Millennials’ affinity for purchases that leverage philanthropic outcomes — 70% of them will spend more on brands supporting what they perceive to be worthy causes. It’s an omnichannel solution with in-the-moment meaning, driving sales and loyalty.

In an omnichannel world, opportunities are free to emerge in seamless and consistent ways at any time, in any space … if these moments match the expectations and values of the Millennial consumer. Each of the above approaches fosters increasingly meaningful moments and, when it comes to Millennials, each instance represents a prime way to tap into the generation’s spending power as it reaches its peak.

Julie Bernard is Chief Marketing Officer at Verve.

A version of this article originally appeared on MediaPost.com (MediaPost Communications).

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