Omnichannel commerce. What does it really mean?
Retail brands around the world are rethinking their marketing strategies to try to figure out how to break through the next ceiling of performance plateaus. Instead of trying to just get better at bidding, targeting, or creative, there’s a new evolution taking place to think more customer-centric.
How can we think less about just optimizing channels and more about aligning better with our customers?
Marketers have talked a lot about becoming more omnichannel forever, but maybe the time is finally upon us for this to become a reality. I’ve certainly noticed a change in urgency with the brand and agency marketers I speak with that omnichannel is no longer a “pie in the sky” concept, but rather an ideal they are ready to tackle. It just makes too much sense. Of course, we should be more customer-centric! Even without hard evidence, most marketers know that there is potential to unlock in an omnichannel marketing approach.
– Josh Dreller (Sr. Director, Content Marketing @ Skai)
Do you have any burning questions you’d like to ask our expert panel? Would you like to contribute to this series? If so, please reach out to our content director, Josh Dreller, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retail Media Roundtable question
Retail media doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are plenty of other touchpoints between a brand and its customers that influence purchase decisions.
Question: How can a retail media team best work with their counterparts on the paid search and social advertising teams to maximize retail sales?
Stephanie Rogers (SVP Strategic Services @ Advantage Unified Commerce)
Commerce has become ubiquitous and the inspiration to buy can happen at any time; as marketers, our job is to make it easy to move from inspiration to purchase. It is critical that retail, paid search and social media planning happen in tandem since today’s path to purchase often includes all three touchpoints. While many brand marketing organizations still operate separate teams and budgets for these channels, clients need to break down silos and encourage collaboration to maximize investments, performance, and consumer experience.
Starting with experience, make sure the integrated team understands the interplay between the channels and plans for a frictionless shopper experience. Even with the recent pullback on social commerce initiatives from Meta and TikTok, social still plays an important role in product discovery (see #tiktokmademebuyit). Products promoted in social should be optimized for search – both within relevant retail media networks and across the open web (e.g., Google or Bing). Planning teams should collaborate on keyword lists and bid strategies across platforms to maximize performance (and avoid bidding against each other). On the flip side, mining search activity can yield insights that influence content/messaging/offer strategy (maybe even product development) in other channels.
Similarly, the brand’s retail media plan might drive a unique targeting strategy, offers or add-to-cart functionality executed across social and display. Retail partners can deliver incredible audience insights thanks to their rich trove of 1st party data. Use that to refine your segmentation, targeting, and messaging strategies in other channels, and tap into the growing pool of RMN off-platform inventory that extends into social media and beyond.
Lastly, commit to sharing performance data across channels so that you can better understand the interplay between them. While the signal loss attributed to Apple’s ATT has made cross-channel sales attribution more difficult, more intentional measurement planning with built-in learning agendas will establish benchmarks and goals to continually improve your unified commerce investments.
Erik O’Granning (Director of Client Advertising @ Accenture)
Despite retail media networks often being closed-loop and self-contained channels, there are clear advantages to having a well-integrated approach to a brand’s overall media, as well as having coordination across teams supporting all media channels. First and foremost is being able to report on potential sales impact on a brand’s overall business. While a brand and its teams might not be able to measure cross-channel attributed sales directly, they can look for correlations between them.
Take for example a potato chip brand promoting their new flavor by running a video campaign on various social channels. The social team would likely measure success against video engagement and brand awareness metrics, but they most likely won’t see direct sales reported. That’s when retail media comes into play. The team running sponsored product ads across retailers, where the products are in distribution, could then look to capitalize on the increased search traffic for that specific product and correlate the time when the video campaigns ran, to the time when retail media saw reported sales.
Another value of coordination is ensuring teams prioritize brand and product continuity. While this might not have a direct impact on sales there is intrinsic value to having your brand be perceived the same way across channels, ensuring quality brand representation and product information be consistent, improving customer experience. To measure this, you could look to sentiment analysis, brand perception studies, and product review analysis.
Lastly, there is value in shared learning to improve optimization. For example, keyword search-based channels can find value in sharing keywords and competitive targets across channels, in order to reach as many customers as possible. For social channels, being able to understand retail basket analysis can bring to light new in-market audience segments based on products frequently purchased with a brand’s products.
In summary, coordination and cooperation between all media channels (social, search, retail, etc) come down to active and open communication and it will in turn increase sales, and improve customer experience, brand perception, and media efficiencies if done right.
Danielle Benson (Performance Marketing Manager, Retail @ Harry’s)
Collaboration is the name of the game when it comes to adding retail to a brand’s media mix. Whether this sits within the traditional marketing organization or the retail team, the need to meet customers where they shop and be seen is the highest priority.
At Harry’s, we have approached it from a flywheel perspective creating dotted lines between the marketing channels within different departments and defining clear ownership of campaign types. For example, as the retail performance marketing lead, I help oversee anything considered onsite at a retailer. For these campaigns, I work closely with our sales and brand teams to tie together their goals into my marketing plans.
When it comes to anything we consider offsite, we have created relationships with our growth marketing and brand teams to share learning, run tests, and ensure retail is thought of in their marketing plans to make sure we are creating a consistent brand voice across all channels.
From this collaboration, we have started to include retailers within our organic brand campaigns, such as social media, and have partnered with our growth teams to do retail-specific testing to help bring awareness from a top-of-the-funnel perspective. By focusing on the strengths of each team and our customers at the core, we have learned how to develop 360 campaigns for awareness and consideration while focusing on conversion at retail.
Melissa Barringer (Director, Retail Expert Services @ Skai)
Many campaign management teams are used to focusing on a single channel at a time but as we get access to more advanced campaign management tools we have opportunities to close the gap between channels. Creating workflows for analyzing cross-channel insights and finding ways to communicate them frequently with each other will paint a larger picture of how shoppers interact with a brand. We can all make strategic decisions based on channel insights we may not have considered before.
Across teams, we are likely working with the same catalog of products and even though we are pulling different levers, we are having touch points with the same audiences just at different instances in the shopper journey. If we can understand how a shopper is responding and interacting with ads on one channel, there are findings we integrate into our strategies for another channel.
For example, if a product is trending in paid search ads but has been a lower priority for advertising in retail media, we should work to understand which keywords are driving the performance for that particular product and mirror this on our retail channel so that we’re taking advantage of the trend and making it easier for a shopper to find that item on our retail sites as well.
Another example could be as simple as maintaining consistency of branding verbiage across channels. If we’re finding certain messaging is resonating with audiences on our social media, we should replicate that verbiage across paid search and retail media so that a shopper is having a consistent experience wherever they interact with your brand. In traditional media, we used to say a person needs to see an ad 5x before they act upon it. A shopper journey is not linear so consistent messaging across all channels is going to be key in nurturing this experience.
Connected commerce = retail media in an omnichannel approach
As part of Skai’s omnichannel marketing platform, our Retail Media solution empowers brands to plan, execute, and measure digital campaigns that meet consumers when and where they shop. Built with best-in-class automation and optimization capabilities, our unified platform allows you to manage campaigns on 30+ retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Instacart all in one place.
Client results include:
- 461% increase in Amazon Ads ROAS and 57% increase in page traffic for Bondi Sands
- 92% increase in share of voice on Amazon for a Fortune 500 CPG brand
- 72% increase in revenue for VTech
- 1,390% year-over-year sales growth for Kamado Joe
To learn more about Skai’s omnichannel solutions—please schedule a quick demo today!