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A Retailer’s Guide to
Omni-Channel Strategy
Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook Hacks

1. Why eCommerce Businesses Need An Omni-Channel Strategy

In today’s social media-driven marketing landscape, the success of an eCommerce business is determined by how it overcomes two main challenges:

  1. Consumers have too many ways to interact with your brand, from their phones, emails, social media and search, so you need to be able to sell on all of those channels.
  2. There is so much noise in the marketplace; your customers are saturated with ads and messaging everywhere they look. Your brand has to rise above in order to catch the consumer’s attention.

With the advent of digital marketing and the playing field split across the myriad social media channels, eCommerce businesses need to be fine tuning an omni-channel strategy to match.

An omni-channel marketing approach not only benefits consumers, but also benefits an eCommerce business’ bottom line.

Overwhelming research suggests that customers spend more than double when purchasing through an omni-channel retailer, contrary to a single-channel retailer. These customers are typically more loyal too.

FACT: Consumers are no longer a captive audience. On average, people are spending 8–12 hours a day consuming online media, yet have an attention span of only 8 seconds.

Consumers attention span is 8 seconds

Today’s customers are easily distracted and constantly on-the-go. In the hyper-connected, notification-filled modern retailer’s world, getting your customers’ undivided attention through to checkout is increasingly more challenging.

02. What is Omni-Channel?

For eCommerce stores, employing an omni-channel marketing and retail strategy means allowing customers to connect, share, engage and convert easily across all social media channels and retail touchpoints.

In other words, you – meaning your brand, store, product and purchasing mechanisms – need to be virtually everywhere and enable customers to convert on any channel.

Omni-channel refers a retail strategy that translates the customer experience into an experience that is not only fluid across kinds of devices – mobile, desktop and offline – but seamless and consistent with your brand, as your customers interact within a very broad spectrum of marketing mediums.

This means that eCommerce businesses need to think in terms of omni-channel marketing to provide a continuous positive customer experience, and successfully sell in the modern eCommerce space.

eCommerce marketers need to be prepared for customers accessing their stores and interacting with their brand from multiple devices.

Omni-channel eCommerce targets consumers
Increase shopability through an omni-channel strategy

03. The Basics: Leveraging Omni-channel for eCommerce

Customer purchasing by mobile

You can breakdown an omni-channel marketing strategy into three components:

Identification

The first of the three elements of a true omni-channel marketing strategy is identification, which refers to the recognition of customers and prospects across disconnected touch points.

Whether it’s an engaged customer commenting about an interest in buying products on your Instagram, or someone purchasing your products through buyable pins on Pinterest, omni-channel selling necessitates a cohesive social media marketing strategy and brand voice consolidated on all the platforms.

With prospects and customers interacting with your promotional material and conversion touchpoints, as an omni-channel retailer you need to persistently and accurately identify them.

Engagement

The second element is engagement; engaging your customers through a consistently maintained combination of customer-facing channels, while honing in on their respective strengths.

Engagement success rests on your business’ ability to deliver a positive customer experience and valuable content that leads to conversions without frustrating or confusing the customer.

Deployment

The third element of omni-channel marketing culminates in the final stage of deployment. Manifested in the orchestration of a coordinated customer experience from initial exposure to your marketing material through to the actual purchase.

Deployment success depends on a combination of using optimal channels for your brand, personalization, data-driven insights, messaging and actualization of customer requests, resulting in multi-layered shoppability.

Bottom line

A successful omni-channel marketing strategy is one that has no singular destination. Especially since new media channels continue to crop up and dominate the marketing arena, customers have become fragmented between their multiple online profiles, disconnected across several channels, which ultimately affects their purchasing behavior.

04. Why Your Brand Should Be Present and Selling on Social

Today the technologies used to connect the channel to the customer continue to become more complicated, increasingly ramping up the challenge for marketers.

Ensuring a smooth connection between your store and the social media channels your customers use makes a world of difference.

FACT: Today people spend an average of 50 minutes per day on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger social platforms.

That is more than double what we spend reading. And exercising. Even more than 10 times what we spend actually socializing on social media. Almost as much time as we spend eating and drinking each day.

Customers daily time spent on social platforms

When customers spend nearly as much time voluntarily exposing themselves to social media marketing channels as they do with vital necessities, like eating and drinking, you know it is an enormous opportunity for reaching your audience!

Therefore, omni-channel selling is a strategy that companies, big and small, need to bring to the forefront of their eCommerce marketing.

05. Marketing and Selling on Instagram: Supercharge Your Retail Omni-Channel Strategy

Instagram has quickly grown into a crucial medium for omni-channel selling and marketing. It is the channel with the highest engagement rate and therefore has massive potential to drive qualified traffic and yield conversions.

FACT: According to Yotpo’s Instagram data, 72% of customers say seeing Instagram photos of a product increases their chances of buying, and 38% of customers say they frequently purchase products they find on Instagram first.

Supercharge your retail omni-channel strategy

1. Channel your brand with visual aesthetic and quality images

Since Instagram is almost entirely visual, it’s important to stand out from the pack, create an aesthetic vision through your photos that falls in line with your brand. Brands can also curate photos from their customers, fostering a strong customer personality for users to emulate and connect to.

Utilizing best-practices such as tasteful filtering, editing style, and consistent color themes will help your Instagram page appeal to the masses.

When curating your Instagram feed, look at the big picture instead of each post individually. Aim to post high-quality photos consistently, as well as ensuring your content is still varied and not repetitive.

For example, clothing brands may want to include flat lays of items, user-generated photos of their customers wearing their clothes, and text-based images when promoting a sale.

Omni-channel marketing example

Image source: Pink Lily Boutique Instagram

If you look at some of the top followed accounts on Instagram, you will likely notice a pattern. They have all created a certain persona connected to their brand within the feed, which will allow your business to generate a social buzz that competitors will be envious of.

2. Use hashtags to increase visibility and build up your following

There are 500 million active users on Instagram (and counting) from all over the world. Read that sentence over again. With a social reach of over half a billion people, utilizing every Instagram tool at your disposal is critical for eCommerce marketing success.

Hashtags are an easy, built in and effective way to expose your content, making it visible to users who may not have encountered it otherwise.

When selling on social channels, create your own hashtag based on your business’ name to track brand awareness, as well as the content your customers generate around it.

Instagram marketing strategy example

Another effective hashtag growth hack is to include popular hashtags already related to your industry, such as #bridetobe or #interiordesigns. Including these will allow customers already interested in your business field to find your store with a simple #hashtag.

Keep your Instagram hashtag game business-focused. Accounts that clutter their photos with unrelated hashtags are often seen as spammy, and are far less likely to attract clientele that will actually make a purchase.

Keep it professional to maintain brand credibility and drive those hashtags to conversions.

omni-channel marketing strategy pro tip

Successful Instagram posts are hashtag-heavy.One Quicksprout study showed that posts that have 11 hashtags get nearly 80% interactions versus posts with 4 hashtags, which get only 31%.

3. Direct Followers to Your Shoppable Instagram

Instagram is not in the business of letting their audience leave their platform. It is to no benefit for them to help your eCommerce customers link out with ease. For example, if you use a link to your store in a photo caption, it won’t hyperlink and will appear as normal text.

But your customers want the easiest path to purchase as technologically possible. With Yotpo’s Shoppable Instagram, make it simple for potential customers to get details on specific items and purchase on the spot by linking your bio to a shoppable version of your gallery.

Yotpo’s Shoppable Instagram directs followers to a seamless enhanced version of your feed, where customers can shop the products they see in your photos easily.

Shoppable Instagram is necessary for omni-channel eCommerce

By inserting a simple “link in bio” phrase in your product caption, you effortlessly create a profitable connection with your omni-channel efforts.

Removing the unnecessary step for your customers can both increase conversions and sen you on the way to effectively start an Instagram shop.

Omni-channel examples pro tip

You can collect all your customer photos uploaded to Instagram and curate a shoppable UGC gallery on product and home pages.When Vanity Planet implemented Instagram photos on their site, they saw a 24% increase in checkouts!

Instagram curation is a great way to adapt an omni-channel strategy

4. Extend beyond standard sponsored posts

Instagram ads can do a great job of not being invasive to your scrolling pleasure.

Ideal for any company budget, Instagram ads contain an easy “buy now” link to your site for potential customers.

Instagram also offers other types of ads you can utilize, including single image, video, or slideshows worthwhile for highlight multiple products, further facilitating retailers to sell on Instagram.

The best ads use UGC to look and feel identical to a regular Instagram post, making the platform great for native advertising.

Since Facebook purchased Instagram, you can even create advertising and track conversions for both platforms from your Facebook Ad Manager for ultimate omni-channel optimization.

Encourage customers to share photos of their purchases by using the business hashtag you created. Gamify the process by offering rewards or discounts as an incentive for customers that share photos with your products.

This is a fun way to have your customers highly engaged and creating buzz around your brand.

If customers are sharing photos on Instagram, odds are they would be delighted to have those photos shared with other Instagrammers. It gives a sense of accomplishment that their aesthetic eye is keen enough to be displayed to a wider audience of users and shows them that you value their loyalty.

User-generated photos from real customers are not only a great testament to your brand, but create authentic social proof around your products.

omnichannel customer experience pro tip
More than three-quarters, 77% of shoppers prefer authentic customers photos to professional shots.

Customer's preferred product photos

If any of your customers have a large social media following, consider asking them to be an “influencer” for your brand. Provide free or discounted items for the customer in exchange for promotion of your brand on their feed.

Many Instagram users have developed a large social media following during the “Instagram boom” over the last few years.

Having thousands of eyes on your products through Instagram influencers is a great way to market to a wider audience. Providing free or discounted items to these influencers in exchange for promoting your brand is a sure-fire way to gain exposure.

Social influencers pro tip

Focus on influencers with a high engagement rate rather than those with a large follower count. Accounts with followers who take the time to comment on a post are much more valuable than ones who have simply accumulated a large following.

06. Facebook Marketing Tips for an Omni-Channel eCommerce

With well over 1.5 billion users, Facebook has become the undisputed social hub of the internet’s cyber world. No platform comes close to the type of reach your business can have on Facebook, making it the most attractive tool to market your omni-channel business. Follow these marketing tips and tricks we have curated, and start increasing retailer sales on Facebook.

1. Utilize built-in Facebook Page marketing tools

Your Facebook business page comes equipped with all kinds of potential branding tools: You can create a vanity URL with your business name to help customers find your Facebook page easily in the search bar. Also you can create a call to action that will appear at the top of your page.

Use attractive, professional photos for your cover and profile photo. Your profile photo should be a recognizable brand image, such as your logo, but your cover photo can range more widely as long as it fits your brand. Make sure to create cover and profile photos using the appropriate dimensions.

Edit as many fields as applicable in the About section of your page, including a link to your ecommerce site, contact info and a description of

Directing customers pro tip
You may want visitors to “Shop Now” sending them to a link to your ecommerce site or “Sign Up” directing them to your newsletter mailing list.

2. Mix it up with different types of Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are especially effective for smaller businesses on a tight budget. There are a variety of Facebook ad designs geared toward achieving one of three end goals: awareness, consideration or conversion.

You can target your audiences as broadly or narrowly as you wish. For example, set your ad audience based on age and location, or go even deeper by selecting people with certain interests, such as sports or clothing brand names, or friends of people who already like your page.

Experiment with a variety of ad and content types to see what’s most effective for your brand. Facebook’s Ad Manager comes with a built-in analytics tool that measure clicks and conversions. For setting up successful Facebook ad campaigns, you can find details in BigCommerce’s Complete Guide to Advertising on Facebook.

Customer review ads pro tip
According to a Facebook case study on Yotpo, ads with customer reviews have a 4x higher CTR and a 50% lower CPA, making them cheaper and more effective than standard ads.

Facebook ad example

3. Create compelling authentic posts

Quality over quantity is key in creating compelling Facebook content that will stand out on feeds and create a trustworthy reputation and tangible ROI for your brand.

Facebook users are saturated with so much content each day that they can see through shallow or spammy posts. They will only pay attention to content that provides value and real insight for them, such as other customers’ written or visual testimonies about your brand.

Post relevant content from your own blog or site, or content from third-party sources that is related to your brand lifestyle or industry.

Once you paste a link in the Facebook status bar, a preview of the destination site should appear. Make sure that you delete the long text-version of the link to save space and make your caption look clean and scannable.

Visual user-generated content pro tip
Always use an image, infographic or video with your post when possible as these types of content tend to get more likes, shares and comments than text-only posts.

4. Engage your audience

Build up a loyal fanbase and engage customers new and old by posting content that not only looks attractive and adds value, but also gets them to engage with your brand.

Contests are a fun way to get both old and new customers engaged. A common contest idea is to give away a product to one winner who shares your post and tags three friends, but the sky’s the limit on how creative you can be. The main goal of hosting contests is to simply drive your followers to spread the word about your brand.

You can also encourage visitors to engage with you by asking questions or starting a conversation with your post. Try post a photo of two products on your site and ask which one they like better to see your likes and comments section flourish.

Facebook traffic pro tip
Remember that timing is everything. Post when you know most users are checking Facebook.The biggest spike of visitors on Facebook occurs at 3 p.m. EST on weekdays.

5. Measure your growth with Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights is a free, built-in analytics tool that contains a wealth of knowledge regarding who is following and engaging with your page.

You can view the engagement and reach of your posts, and view demographics of who is engaging with and sharing your content. This information allows you to understand what visitors to your page are interested in and what drives them to your site—or doesn’t—so you can create more engaging content and ads in the future.

Facebook analytics also tracks the growth of your page in terms of likes and engagement over time, so you can see what actions are inspiring the most page growth.

07. Taking Your Omni-Channel Strategy to the Next Level With Pinterest Marketing Magic

With over 150 million users, Pinterest’s growth has become undeniable. Pinterest has become an integral social platform for eCommerce marketing strategies, with 93 percent of users saying they use Pinterest when planning to purchase new products.

“Pinners” utilize Pinterest for following brands rather than celebrities, giving businesses the perfect opportunity to engage with their customers on a more personal level. Pinterest is a medium where eCommerce companies can promote their brand, offering plenty of features and best practices for reaching maximum exposure.

Pinterest functions as a virtual idea and planning board, which is why it typically has high-intent users, who are ideal consumers since they are already focused on purchasing products based on what they see on the platform.

1. Leverage Buyable and Product Pins

Achieving omni-channel success for your eCommerce business means selling on all available social platforms. With Pinterest, they have seamlessly integrated their business model to make pins easily buyable straight from their website.

The process is really quite simple. Apply for buyable pins and once approved customers will be able to purchase your products directly on Pinterest. No need for linking out to third-party websites and Pinterest doesn’t take commision of any kind. With 87% of people specifically making purchases because of Pinterest, utilizing the platform as part of omni-channel selling will notably increase  conversions.

Pinterest pro tip
Ensure that your buyable pins are cropped vertically. More scannable for the reader, vertical pins will stand out to potential buyers.

2. Leverage UGC to Connect with Customers

We have talked a lot about how user-generated content is a crucial component for omni-channel selling. Content shared by customers consolidates a sense of brand loyalty around your business, a metric with boundless potential.

With Pinterest, utilizing UGC should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. As an image-based social platform, sharing photos taken by customers through Pinterest can separate you from the competition.

The science behind the success of UGC is clear. Combine your buyable pins with user-generated content to see the best conversion results on Pinterest.

Pinterest board omni-channel examples

Customer engagement pro tip

Don’t be afraid to reach out to customers who have purchased products from you before.If they were satisfied, they more often than not are more than happy to share photos or a review about their positive buying experience.

3. Incorporate SEO Keyword on Pinterest

Search engine optimization is a buzzword sprinkled all over the web. With the goal of ranking higher than your competitors, having a strong SEO strategy means more eyes on your brand. On Pinterest, implementing SEO best practices is a great way to increase sales and conversions for your eCommerce business.

The logic is simple: Have consumers eyes on your product before your competition, and watch your revenues grow.

Leverage Pinterest pro tip
To leverage SEO effectively within Pinterest, ensure that your hashtags, pin descriptions, and URL all have the appropriate keywords aligned with your brand.

4. Utilize Group Boards

Starting and contributing to group boards are great strategies for your business to increase eCommerce Pinterest sales. Group boards incorporate multiple best practice guidelines for Pinterest selling combining UGC, customer engagement and SEO. Perhaps the greatest benefit of group boards is the ability to let others contribute to your Pinterest content, while letting your product drive sales.

Large enterprise companies such as Nordstrom and Warby Parker have taken note of the benefit of group boards for their Pinterest marketing strategy. For smaller-scale companies, utilizing group boards may be of even greater value. You can connect with other eCommerce brands to collaborate on broadening your reach to Pinterest users across the globe.

Pinterest group board example

Make group boards a focal point of your Pinterest marketing strategy, and be sure to see an increase in product outreach and sales.

Omni-channel collaboration tip

Reach out to other companies that may have a similar target audience as you.Not a direct competitor necessarily, but a company that may compliment your own. By collaborating on a group board together, you are able to generate even more leads for your respective businesses.

08. Conclusion

Omni-channel campaigns that encourage users to interact with your brand across devices and channels pick up on the consumer’s natural tendency to use more than one device and can cement brand loyalty both on and offline, along with amplifying sales.

Utilize and maximize the selling potential of social media channels using a consistent marketing strategy across Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to complement and complete your omni-channel retailing.

By recognizing your customers along multiple retail touchpoints, eCommerce businesses can yield elevated conversions through engaging and comprehensively deploying an omni-channel selling strategy across social media channels.

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