The 2015 holiday season is more omnichannel than ever

What a fantastic time to be a marketer! As we hit the shopping season and 2015 winds down, there is increasing evidence about the impact of omnichannel marketing.

Merriam-Webster defines omni as, “All; in all ways, places, etc.; without limits.” Many marketers will admit they have a long way to go to deliver a true omnichannel experience, due to significant requirements to harness data, automation, and analytics.

Having said that, omnichannel marketing is the future. Early holiday 2015 indicators demonstrate that omni-channel marketing attuned to hyper-connected consumers, is blossoming. And, the bar is set to an all time high for organizations to deliver these contextual, compelling experiences across all communication channels.

Let’s take a quick scan of trends from the 2015 holiday season and their impact on marketing today.

True consumer value

Today’s consumers expect what they want, when they want it. Marketers and organizations are following suit with new, valued experiences for consumers. This is evident with Amazon.com and the evolution of delivery options in the past year, such as same-day delivery.

We see Target tuning into consumer needs, and rolling out new “click-and-mortar” strategies that are focused on pairing consumers with the products they want and when they want them. Target’s commitment comes in the form of six strategies for delivery such as ship-to-store, or curbside pick-up.

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With the acceleration of mobile purchasing volume, we also see marketers such as Walmart and Wayfair enticing mobile app downloads with the value proposition of early access to deals.

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Zulily shows us that something as simple as navigation can provide a fast track to key product categories – an incredibly valuable experience for consumers. At the same time, clicks to these shopping categories are a powerful way to gather actionable data for ongoing, personalized communications.

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Value to consumers comes in many forms, but it begins with a pivot – consider the “WIIFM” – also known as the  “what’s in it for me?” factor – for every unique consumer.

Brand authenticity

REI reinforced its mantra, “A life outdoors is a life well lived,” by announcing that they will keep stores closed on Black Friday. The hashtag #OptOutside created a social frenzy and – over 900 thousand had opted-in, following the #OptOutside call on REI.com.

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Instagram and Twitter continue to see community enthusiasm around REIs call for adventure. By staying true to the brand and the lifestyle they sell to customers, REI has optimized the omnichannel experience by actually taking away a consumer shopping option. Rather than focusing on getting people into stores, REI’s brand authenticity has created buzz and differentiated them in a crowded, noisy selling season. Plus, they have created a vision that aligns consumers with the company.

Alternatively, online retailer brand Wayfair “offers a zillion things home.” Recently, they published 2015 Holiday Home Trends.The trends report includes a “Cool Index” built from analysis of nearly 500 thousand product orders from U.S. shoppers. This is true to the Wayfair brand as an online retailer with very personalized, data-driven experiences for those looking to redecorate.

Brand authenticity is a way to truly differentiate from the holiday deal frenzy, stay spot-on with consumer expectations and sentiments. It also creates an ominchannel halo effect of social engagement, user generated content, and community loyalty.

Classic communications redux

With new digital innovations driving omnichannel experiences, there are also more classic communications that encourage consumers to act. This season, many online only retailers such as Sole Society, Fabletics, Wayfair, and others, are delivering classic direct mail and catalogs to consumers to drive them to visit the site and buy.

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With a true omnichannel focus, marketers need to consider all communications that entice consumer action – from SMS, to catalogs, to in-store events, and so forth. Email is often the channel that tethers together omnichannel experiences by driving mobile app downloads, encouraging social engagement, providing transactional information, and gathering data on consumer interests. The opportunity to integrate omnichannel initiatives more cohesively in 2016 exists for every organization.

Let the celebrations begin

Let’s celebrate that the 2015 holiday season is more omnichannel than ever, focused on optimizing across all channels to bring consumers value, boost brand authenticity, and drive real world action and conversions. As you shop and interact with brands this holiday season, celebrate the best omnichannel experiences as inspiration for the New Year.

Homepage image via Flickr.

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