Data is at the heart of the omnichannel challenge for SMEs and ETIs

This is called a paradox. according to an OpinionWay study of September 2021 Omnichannel ranks in the top 3 marketing priorities for SMBs/ETIs. However, only 1 in 4 of them admit to actually implementing these kinds of strategies, while 26% are still limited to a single channel relationship.

While the Covid crisis has hammered home with a bang, as agility and data were supposed to be the alpha and omega of companies’ digital strategy, this dissonance between rhetoric and facts is challenging. Lack of information about good supporters or lack of budget? Careful about the complexity of such an approach? Tools poorly adapted to the structure of an SME? Depending on each company, the reasons can sometimes be several. One thing is certain: the omnichannel shift represents real opportunities that SMEs/ETIs would unduly deprive themselves of.

The importance of omnichannel should no longer be up for discussion

The digital revolution is permanent and constant in our consumer experiences. Traditionally, a company segmented its customers based on a sales channel, usually in stores or on its e-commerce site. That era is really over. Now a customer can start searching for a generic product on Google, for example by typing “men’s sports basketball”Two hours later, a targeted ad on social networks can prompt him to ask consumers’ opinion about a company he doesn’t know that offers this type of product. The next day, his buying journey can either take him to the store for testing or result in an online sale. In the meantime, the same consumer may be attracted to another brand by an advertisement“push” a selection of baskets sold by email or a discount proposal for a first order on social networks.

From this basic example, it is easy to see that a potential customer can go to a store, an e-commerce site and a social network at the same time… He can also be in a marketplace, through an application e-commerce or succumb to a offer during a live shopping. The multitude of touchpoints complicates the behavior of each purchase, so that each customer now has a specific path for each of their wishes. In order to influence every detail, whether favorable or not, for the purchase decision, a company can no longer categorize its audience. Whether physical or digital, all channels must logically fit together and be connected to deliver a successful customer experience.

New consumer expectations

In parallel with these ever-increasing requests, customers have become more demanding. They no longer hesitate to constantly compete, scrutinize and voice opinions about a product or a brand. These new components are reflected in new expectations. They are looking for a consistent relationship across all branded media through a smoother experience and ultra-personalized journeys. Not wanting to waste any more time, they have the strange impression that they are addressed as a monolithic block, which in turn means that the multiplicity of their needs would be denied.

Of course, the health crisis has accelerated this logic and added new strategies. Previously almost considered a militant act, it has now become more widespread and more suspect to consume it. Consumers must be able to distinguish simple, genuine lines of communication for passengers from social obligations. To convince them, a company must communicate more transparently and promote more ethical and local sourcing. On these points, SMEs and ETIs have an intrinsic advantage over e-commerce giants who are often criticized for their ‘greenwashing’. Their more human dimension and their pronounced territorial anchorage make it easier for them to establish this closer, genuine and authentic bond with their audience.

Photo credit: Skaze

“The end of the crisis has allowed the emergence of new opportunities for SMEs/ETIs. Many industries have recovered by adopting more authentic communications, which is now a strong argument against large companies. Some sectors had already started adopting this rigor of omnichannel, most notably retail, a very general public sector, of which fashion is a part. Many niche sectors for their part have not been petrified by this crisis, they have had the good reflex to open up their communication and reconsider their ambitions. For example, online training in B2B has become widespread, the health sector has become more democratic, while the food vertical has been able to recover from the closure of stores. Finally, mortgage brands have benefited from the wave of desire for a new life far from the big cities. They also all had to find omnichannel answers to new consumer demands and expectations.”To explain David Levy, CEO of Skaze.

Data, the driver of omnichannel for SMBs/ETIs

according to an study by the consultancy Olivier Wyman conducted in 2021, 52% of independent companies that combine online and offline are growing, compared to 39% for companies that only operate offline. For an SME/ETI, omnichannel is not a fad, it is a tangible and accessible commercial lever that makes it possible to reduce inventories and be more efficient and profitable.

However, in order to take full advantage of these benefits, an SME/ETI must be well supported and equipped with the right software tools to pursue two essential objectives. The first ? To be able to collect, centralize and unify all collected data on all its contact points. In an era of third-party cookies that is fast approaching, it is imperative that a business learns as soon as possible to take advantage of its own data. However, raw data has no real value, it is then necessary, thanks to machine learning tools, to succeed in converting it on the basis of criteria adapted to the business objectives.

From there, an SME/ETI can achieve the second objective of its omnichannel policy. Namely being able to activate various marketing levers in real time from this valued data. Targeting market audience for a sales period, location for a drive-to-store promotion, shopping hours, average shopping cart per device… Good tracking and good use of data allow SMEs/ETIs to be present at all stages of the customer journey on a dynamic and proactive manner.

Photo credit: Unsplash / Carlos Muza

Towards more human and innovative advertising

SMB/ETI companies have a crucial advantage in an era of transparency and authenticity. Due to their more human dimension, they have a closer connection with their consumers and are 360° on all their activities.

“We are now entering a phase of advertising redundancy. The messages systematically become the same and so do the strategies. To overcome this fatigue, the best strategy in the future is to humanize content and messaging to increase engagement and better unite communities. SMEs/ETIs are already more advanced in this respect and the coming years will confirm this advantage. New opportunities are emerging with web 3.0 (metaverse, NFT, cryptocurrencies, etc.) that will drive new ad formats and new ways to interact with users. This novelty effect will take away this impression of publicity and there will also be an opportunity to reinvent certain levers by associating them with new technologies.notes David Levy.

As you will have understood, omnichannel is now an essential strategy that is no longer the preserve of ecommerce giants and large accounts. This vision of the future, Skaze, defends her for a few years. Founded in 2016, this omnichannel trading desk supports SMEs/ETIs in this paradigm shift by providing them with technical, programmatic and human support adapted to the size of their structure.

For more information about Skaze, visit the dedicated tools page!

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