The prevalence of the internet has shown us that brands no longer need to start with a physical distribution channel to win with consumers. This is rapidly changing for the long term as internet spend is getting more expensive and consumers are inundated with new products and brands every second. Brands are strategizing on how to stand out from the crowd, in ways that are sustainable and long-term. Physical retail becomes a natural evolution from the sole DTC online model. From fostering community to creating an immersive brand experience, physical retail is being redefined for the modern consumer. When online and offline retail work together harmoniously to give customers a highly tailored experience that also takes into account the stage of the buying cycle the customer is in, the actual power of omnichannel is realized. Here are some key ways brands can leverage an omnichannel strategy:
First things first, I believe it starts with the determination to deliver a consistent experience through:
- Leaning into values-based marketing through content and experiential events. Building a great brand for the long term is a masterclass in storytelling. From Levi’s to Nike to Coca-Cola, consumers are not just buying a product, they are buying a story.
- Strategic brick-and-mortar stores - We are in a world that is disillusioned by COVID-19. Consumers are seeking out physical experiences of brands as much as they are spending time online. Brick-and-mortar stores can sometimes be a behemoth to take on for a brand of any size. It's a chance to grow in existing markets and a chance to unlock new markets by meeting new and existing customers where they are. A successful brick and mortar strategy is a science, that starts small by looking at existing customer geographical density data and opening unique experiences in those geographies.
- Strategic pop-up shops: If a brand has the resources, solo pop-up stores are an exciting way to engage existing markets and unlock new markets customers exists in, whilst at the same time getting a feel for the market without diving in head first. Another interesting take on this is collaboration pop-up stores, brands can tap into each other's customer base whilst at the same time-sharing resources.
- Retail stores: Now more than ever, brands that's started off as religiously online DTC only, are embracing the wholesale model in ways that feel right for the brand. This is a really powerful strategy because it's a wonderful way to open millions of doors to potential customers. The sweet spot, depending on the product, is in the middle, which gives brands the benefits of both DTC and wholesale.
- Limited edition print catalogs: I miss the days of print catalogs. Remember Argos? Back in the days, the sheer excitement of waiting for a Christmas catalog was unmatched. Omnichannel brands can leverage print catalogs as a seasonal activation to create excitement for brand offerings and discounts for the holiday seasons in a way that feels authentic to the brand.