Email: the essential DNA of every multichannel campaign.

Email: the essential DNA of every multichannel campaign.

Discover how to build a long-term data strategy:

When digital began to go mainstream, dialogue with customers relied almost exclusively on email. Today, the variety of digital channels means your brand is faced with two choices: carefully and precisely building trust and loyalty, or spreading your message so thinly that it achieves nothing.

That’s why email remains the most effective way of building and sustaining customer relationships, as it’s still the only way to communicate with your audience on a one-to-one basis at scale. Bringing together all marketing interaction into a single unified system is seen as a Holy Grail by many marketers. But in reality, creating a multichannel presence calls for large budgets and matching headcount.

For most organisations, a less complex ‘multichannel’ approach, that harnesses multiple channels to leverage best impact and value, will provide an equally effective solution. The key to success lies in ensuring you have a single view of your customer. And that they have a single one of you. And at the heart of this approach is data. Data, in a multichannel ecommerce approach, is everything.

For this blog, I will cover the following:

• Defining an effective approach to data collection
• Using data to drive up loyalty
• How behaviours create patterns
• How data mining can double sales
• Future proofing your data strategy
Data and insight can come from lots of places and interactions

Up-to-date data is essential:

Most organisations build data organically over many years, and it’s not unusual for this to be held in a variety of different systems. Each of these will have been designed for a specific purpose and often they will hold data that correspond to the original purpose of that system.

For example, in-store systems will produce customer receipts with dates, times, item and purchase details, whereas online sales will utilise ecommerce, logistics and accounting systems to capture data.

However, very few of these systems were designed with the concept of creating a personalised, seamless customer journey. To build a unified view, you need to combine information from a number of sources. Some of the most obvious include:

• In-store systems
• Ecommerce systems
• Dispatch & logistics
• CRM
• Accounts apps
• Email automation platform
• Website analytics

Real data in real time:

In many cases, these systems weren’t designed to share information with each other. Known as ‘data silos’, they’re a nightmare for every multichannel infrastructure architect or designer.
You need to extract the data, and keep them updated with any changes that have been caused from its use in other parts of the system.

When designing your multichannel data infrastructure, it’s critical you integrate all this data. Fortunately, several cloud-based systems are available that share data and deliver best-of-breed functionality, helping you achieve a seamless data picture.

One of the most common examples of this approach is where customers have chosen Magento for their online store, CRM to track customer behaviour, and dotmailer to provide the email engine. Some retail clients have moved their entire in-store operation over to web-based processing, making integration even easier.

Share, and share alike:

Critical to the success of your multichannel strategy is that all data is captured, shared and made available to support decision-making. You must also make sure that any third-party data you can capture is brought into the database. For example, it’s important to have an end-to-end customer picture that goes right up to the point the goods are put into their hands. This is especially true of your sales teams. You’ll look silly for reaching out to a prospect if your CRM isn’t up to date and they’ve recently made the purchase!

Use data to drive loyalty:

The better you know your customers, the better you can tailor the conversations you have with them to foster advocacy. The great experiences you enjoy with brands are those when you feel like they’ve taken the time to understand you personally. But to do that successfully, you need to collect as much data as possible and utilise it effectively.

One of the most effective uses of email communications is to gather that crucial customer data and to build customer intimacy, trust and satisfaction. These are the critical factors for creating loyalty, support, and ultimately advocacy from your customer base.

With the wide acceptance of capturing email addresses as part of a point of sale transaction, companies can now build deep and detailed intelligence on their customers that relates to their demographic and purchase habits, and potentially provides a goldmine of marketing information.

There are many examples of effective customer nurturing approaches. One very effective method is the creation of points-based reward schemes that are designed to encourage repeat purchases and make loyal customers feel like VIPs. Only 32% of customers commit to a second purchase – so trying to keep the customers you’ve already spent time and money acquiring is a no-brainer. Using a loyalty program extension with Magento and dotmailer, you can sync customer data, like points balances, and use it to segment contacts and automate rewards emails to grow sales.

The more you know, the more you sell:

Some of the most powerful business cases for triggered emails are abandoned carts. According to the Baymard Institute, around 67% of carts are abandoned at the checkout. Some of the common reasons for abandonment include:

• Shopping around – the online world has made it easy for consumers to shop around and if your products are of higher value, it’s natural that people are going to mull over what they’ve seen
• Shipping costs – unexpected delivery fees or slower-than-expected shipping timescales
• Bad UX – a convoluted user journey and bad checkout process is a sure-fire way to make people leave your site
• Voucher and promo codes – once they get to the checkout and see the option to enter a discount code, they leave the site and don’t return when they can’t find one
• Reviews and testimonials – if you’ve not integrated an independent reviews function – like feefo – into your site, people leave to find them

By linking email and website behaviours, you can create individualised emails that re-promote the products customers have browsed, with incentives to complete the purchase. These provide an up-to-the-minute, detailed insight into how interested customers really are, partly through analysing purchase data, but also by tracking open, read and click-through rates. Flexible. Fluid. Fast

The future of your data strategy:

When Apple launched The Newton, their first hand held device, 20 years ago, it rapidly became the butt of industry jokes and died a death. However, the ARM chip they used to deliver powerful mobile computing is still with us, and has driven a revolution not just in technology, but in every aspect of how we live, work and communicate.

From the perspective of future proofing your data strategy for the ever-changing technological landscape, you must be aware of and ready to harvest the opportunities of new channels and devices. But more pertinently, ensure your data can be shared easily across all aspects of your multichannel platform.

If a customer is engaging with certain content on your social media channels, you’ll want to use this information to inform your email communications. And for this to happen, you need connected systems that talk to each other.

A central CRM that connects to all your other technologies is one example. For instance, the dotmailer platform integrates with Salesforce, MS Dynamics and OroCRM, and feeds data straight into the CRM software. You’ll want to choose other best-of-breed technologies that offer the same level of flexibility and connectivity, so that you can continue enrich your database, and give every team who uses the CRM a fuller picture.

Want to learn more? Checkout our whitepaper which details how to build a cost-effective multichannel marketing approach that can produce a powerful ROI. It also includes a 13-point checklist to implement your multichannel strategy.

By, Rohan Lock, Regional Director, APAC, Dotmailer

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