When considering the shopper engagement opportunities that omnichannel retailing present, it’s all too easy to begin with the mindset that it is just about managing transactional channels – in-store, on your website, or through an app.

To influence and leverage the shopper decision making process, it’s vital to understand the role and impact of all the available touch points in a seamless shopper journey towards a decision to purchase and beyond right through to advocacy.

Social media channels are now part of the service offering for many high-street retailers, as well as providing general education and shopper advocacy opportunities for the brand and product offering.  But  having social media channels there, open and ready for business on behalf of your company and brand, also requires a strategy for communicating through that channel.  Knowing what role you want that channel to have, and how you want to influence shoppers through it, is vital.

Channel understanding and the shopper journey

Retailers and companies with a consumer service offering commonly regard social media as just an extension of customer service; using it to underpin an approach to dealing with customers in the post-purchase and advocacy points of the shopper journey. However, and particularly when it comes to considered purchases where shoppers need reassurance of a good consistent experience, social media channels are increasingly influential when it comes to deciding who to purchase with too.

It goes much further than pure offer communication; awareness and consideration, pre-purchase, involves shoppers adding to and removing possible purchase choices to refine their final shopping list to the point where they have the confidence to put their flag in the ground, and buy.

Tools for shopper journey analysis

The Market Creative uses its proprietary tool, SHOP, to analyse the strength and value of how a brand or retailer uses its communication channels to engage with customers and prospects.

Without an in-depth interrogation by channel, you may have an incomplete understanding of precisely what you should be saying to who, and when.  We have used this tool to great effect in conjunction with a brand Retail Safari, enabling us to define a clear view using seamless shopper thinking as to how a brand can use available channels, including social media, to engender trust in shoppers.

Ultimately, as social touches so many points from awareness, past purchase and through to advocacy, clear focus is necessary when defining an omnichannel strategy.  The underlying understanding is that social media is influential in more than just the post-purchase shopper journey, and that generating confidence in a total customer experience is crucial for retail growth.

If you want to understand more about how your customers shop for your brand, and how to use that understanding to devise a successful omnichannel strategy, have a chat with us today.

 

Caroline Finch-Denham

Account Director