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Omnichannel #retail Retail

Is your omni-channel retail strategy disruptive or just distracting?

By Amanda Atoyebi, Director of Strategy, NA

Momentum Worldwide


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May 29, 2024 | 8 min read

For The Drum’s retail focus week, Amanda Atoyebi and Kendra Brodzinski of agency Momentum Worldwide take a look at the man behind the curtain of retail’s ‘omnichannel’ revolution.

A busy New York Street

/ Kevin Rajaram via Unsplash

The world is a cacophony of noise.

The shopping journey is no exception, getting louder with each new touchpoint or added tactic. Consumers are inundated with countless products, all vying for their attention. Convenience is king, and easy navigation is key.

As a result, brands and retailers have realized that they must create clear roadmaps for shoppers to easily find what they need, whether in-store, online, or via curbside pickup. It is indeed crucial to be available and deliver the right message and product at the right time – this is one of the factors behind the shift towards retail media investments, targeted online campaigns, and in-store promotions.

The mantra is clear: say something, be something, do something.

But, ultimately, are we offering shoppers disruptive touchpoints that enhance their experience, or distractions that hinder their path to purchase? Bombarding shoppers with a variety of tactics and new ways of shopping isn't the path to success.

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Where disruption becomes distraction

A true omni-channel approach has the power to either propel shoppers towards your brand or deter them completely. The difference is found somewhere within the thin line that separates shopper disruption from distraction.

If you could look up the definition of ‘disruption’ in the retail context, it would be about interrupting a process or shopping journey. When we reach ‘distraction’ territory, we start talking about preventing shoppers from completing their process or giving their full attention to the necessary steps along the way. Once we reach a distraction point, our touchpoints start to detract from the journey instead of enhancing it.

According to MediaCat, 71% of shoppers agree that annoying or intrusive ad experiences make them less likely to purchase from that brand in future. Conversely, they would have a more positive perspective if digital ads didn’t block or distract from the digital content they want to see.

It’s possible we are more distracting than we think.

The ‘omni-commerce’ promise

Marketers across brand, retail, agency, and everyone in-between have been defining and redefining ‘omni-commerce’ to fit the evolving view of what we consider a valuable transaction. But we’ve allowed the term ‘omni-channel’ to carry too much weight in our tactical approaches to converting shoppers, particularly in retail investments.

From offline to online, TV walls to influencers, checkout screens to aisle violators, social media to targeted emails, the typical activation barrage aims to urge shoppers to buy, buy, buy. As marketers, we’re getting closer to being able to build strategic omnichannel ecosystems that are personalized to target shoppers individually. But are we taking enough time to consider the reality of how shoppers think and what they expect from us? While all tactics have the potential to drive purchase, we must ensure we can answer that question with confidence before engaging in the omni-channel battle.

With all the excitement about new capabilities lists, smarter data and the desire to be the first to ‘crack it’, we have to remember that shoppers don’t care about fancy terms like ‘omni-channel’ They just want a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience. They don’t know about the different retail media networks’ capabilities, or about the projections we make.

Instead, a successful omni-channel strategy is built on the understanding that shopper value is created through experiences that seamlessly support shopper needs at any given time. They seek convenient access to their needs, including those they may not have been aware of. An omni-commerce strategy that empowers shoppers is most effective in driving conversion.

What are we converting?

Conversion happens when shoppers have easily and conveniently landed at the solution we led them to. For a longer-lasting purchase experience, there should be a sense of empowerment and shopper choice woven in.

But as marketers become more tactical and integrated throughout the shopper journey, shoppers may lose a sense of control, leading to disappointing omni-channel conversion rates. We may be aiming to disrupt the decision-making process, but are we too quick to override it in our efforts to align closely with shoppers, essentially turning each shopping experience into a personalized trip to Times Square?

Our goal as marketers is to craft a seamless journey from awareness to purchase by understanding shopper behavior across digital and physical platforms. We intervene strategically at the right point in time, with the right tactic, in the right place, with the right message.

For an omni-channel strategy to effectively drive conversion, every interaction point must be designed to enhance the experience rather than detract from it. It’s not about adding a click-and-collect link and calling it a day. It’s about creating a moment that inspires and leaves the shopper with a choice, while ensuring that your tactical ecosystems work to drive conversion by empowering the mindset of the shopper through each moment, not by trying to change it.

For more deep analysis of the heroes and villains of retail in 2024, head over to our focus week hub.

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Omnichannel #retail Retail

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Momentum Worldwide

Momentum Worldwide has a proud history of creating industry-first experiences that authentically place brands in the cultural conversation. 1,000+ individuals across...

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