2012 is the year of multichannel retail, but you already knew that. Selling products through multiple channels is almost essential to doing business today. Online shopping is only growing and the advent of mobile shopping has added another layer of dynamism and mobility, lending credence to the idea that the Internet will continue to play a large role in the way we do…well, everything, but especially shop. Order fulfillment companies à la Fifth Gear couldn’t be happier about the news – for every order made to a digital storefront, some company has to put it in the box and get it to the right address. What retailers shouldn’t lose sight of, however, is their brand and how multichannel distribution and marketing affects it in this increasingly diffuse world.
We’re already living in the future:
Fresh, brilliant technologies constantly provide new ways to integrate platforms and engage customers. But humans are still ancient beings, still hardwired to grab hold of what’s important to us and forget the rest. That’s why the best multichannel campaigns draw on the age-old power of myth to keep customers hungry for more. Without a coherent story driven by core human needs, your messaging is just more chatter.
Birth, Marriage, Sacrifice, Rebirth:
So what do people care about, deep down? The great literary themes point the way. As soon as a customer sees someone vulnerable but determined, he will care. As soon you start selling victorious sacrifice or unbreakable love, people will come back for more. We are drama junkies. We can’t help it.
Sounds good in theory, but how do you wrap your product in a story? For inspiration, start by looking at the lives your product is already changing. Use social media to listen to your customers. Look for human connections, stronger families, stronger people or restoration of hope. Distill what you find. Make the conflict scarier. Make the victory sweeter. Grab peoples’ hearts, then leave them glowing.
That’s what great storytellers have done for millennia. But now we’ve got a massive leg up. We have the tools to keep the story going and to keep people hungry for the next chapter. The best multichannel retailers spread the gripping story across many platforms, but keep the conclusion in just a few strategic places.
Cast a broad net to set up the attention-grabbing story with TV spots or banner ads that have the question but not the answer. If possible, give different parts of the puzzle through different channels. Keep the story alive in customers’ minds throughout the day with outdoor advertising or well-designed apps. Sprinkle it into social media conversations. Reference the high points in your catalog. Then give people easy steps to your product website, where they can watch the whole video or learn the big secret or see the long-awaited kiss.
2012 is the year of the multichannel retailer. E-commerce is on the rise. We have links in e-books, QR codes on park benches and branding woven seamlessly into every available medium. There has never been so much opportunity to create a truly gripping, immersive multichannel campaign for your customers.