[/vc_raw_html][text_output]With yuletide celebrations fast approaching, the annual wave of Christmas shoppers are out in full force. With this Christmas season forecast to be the biggest yet for retailers, we are going to explore why brands need to create an omni-channel marketing strategy that seamlessly integrates both the online and offline world. By getting these two better acquainted and working in partnership with each other, brands can form a power couple that not only marries up to how consumers shop, but also gives brands greater amplification and consistency.
The online and offline tango
It is not a revelation that consumers are changing the way they shop and engage with brands. 2015, heralded as the year of the mobile, has firmly entrenched an on-demand culture. With mobile phones and computers being so ingrained in our lives, the line between offline and online is increasingly being blurred.
Consumers are shopping online in ‘micro-moments’, with 54% of all shoppers planning to shop in short moments throughout the day, rather than do a “marathon” shopping session.
Consumers, continuously flit between online and offline, across different channels. They research online, interact with their favourite brands on social media and visit physical stores as part of one shopping journey.
Shoppers are also increasingly reaching for their online devices during their physical shopping experience, with people searching 37% more inside department stores than last year.
Consumers no longer separate the online and offline world, so why should marketers?
What many brands don’t understand is how this blended online-offline experience can work to their advantage. The two processes can encourage, assist and strengthen each other. For example, make-up reviews and online advertising can drive consumers into stores. Likewise, 67% of customers searching online are driven by information that was found offline.
At a time like Christmas when brands are trying their utmost to get the consumers to ‘bite’, creating a consistent and seamless omni-channel strategy is more important than ever. Teaming up print advertising, in-store advertising and and promotions with their online counterparts of paid ads, banners, social posts and optimised landing pages ensures broader brand coverage and reach.
Geolocation targeting, beacons and apps have no doubt revolutionised search. In the future we’ll see the offline world being increasingly infiltrated by the ever expanding digital landscape. Apps are using geo-location information to deliver you discounts (o2 Priority moments,) dates (Tinder,) quick coffee (Starbucks) and directions (Google Maps) – all just moments away. This on-demand culture shows no sign of losing momentum.
By integrating in-store with online, brands are able to deliver what is right for that consumer, at the right time in their purchase journey. Rebecca Minkoff has introduced a digital store which targets millennials that are native digital users. The store includes interactive displays and a digital fitting room that allows you to log your sessions, and then choose to purchase from your mobile device or over the phone later. As a result they have seen a 6-7 time increase in ready to wear sales in 5-6 months.
The Power Couple – Who is doing it well?
A prime example of a brand combining their online – offline strategy to create a marketing power couple is John Lewis. Nothing quite says Christmas like the much-awaited annual John Lewis Christmas campaign.
By creating a Christmas campaign that spans both the online and offline landscape John Lewis is able to further permeate a consumer’s world to amplify their brand. Within 3 hours of the launch of the TV advert there were 39,872 mentions of the ad’s hashtags #manonthemoon and #onthemoon on Twitter. The emotive story about the Man on The Moon has taken the Twittersphere by storm and received a warm response across all social channels.
Offline we have the TV adverts, the Lunar Lookout on the roof of their Oxford Street store, ‘Moon Gear’ merchandise – telescope included, The Moon themed set and the soundtrack. This theme is brought across to the online landscape, where they have the YouTube video, the App, the game, the Christmas landing page. The intricate detail that these marketers have gone into when planning this cross-channel campaign is second to none. With planning commencing in January this all-encompassing campaign has been brought together in beautiful harmony- coincidence that there is a full moon on Christmas day? I think not.
Rivalling the heart-warming Man on The Moon campaign is the story of Mog’s Christmas Calamity. This nostalgic campaign by Sainsbury’s features a very clumsy cat from the popular children’s book series by author Judith Kerr and has been voted by many as the favourite Christmas campaign of 2015. This has a lot to do with the comprehensive nature of this “charming tale” that again unites both online and offline efforts.
This multi-faceted campaign around the story of Mog The Cat sees the TV advert, teamed with the book, being continued into the online realm, with a social campaign that encourages viewers to video themselves reading excerpts from ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ using #ChristmasIsForSharing. The story of Mog has pulled on the heartstrings of the British public, with the Mog the cat toys proving popular in stores nationwide.
By creating a omni-channel strategy, Sainsbury’s is able to create greater campaign amplification and further strengthen the story of Mog.
Lifelong marketing happiness
So with Christmas fast approaching and the festivities in full flow, it’s about time online and offline stopped being just acquaintances and tied the knot. With consumers seamlessly transitioning between online and offline shopping it’s important for marketers to adapt and embrace this unity. Through creating a Christmas campaign that spans the online and offline landscape, brands are able to amplify their reach and permeate both the customer’s online and offline worlds. Leveraging these two independent channels into a connected, omnipotent unity can amplify reach and conversions, ultimately giving brands strength and presence across the whole marketing landscape.
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