Five reasons to drive an omni-channel sales and marketing strategy

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Achieving the optimal channel mix is pivotal for influencing consumers and delivering growth in competitive Asian markets.

Asia’s retail landscape is fragmenting, but one factor unites consumers across the region: an appetite for unique shopping experiences. Across Asia, shifting patterns of demand are discernible across most product categories – and competition is intensifying to satisfy these evolving consumer cravings.

Identifying market behaviors is only part of the process, however. Discerning shoppers, particularly in Asia’s urban centers, are testing the capacity of brands to convert casual interest into sales. This places extra importance on optimizing the channel mix – and integrating online and offline marketing to drive revenue growth.

Creating new opportunities from channel complexity

Channel fragmentation presents both challenges and opportunities – whether target consumers are online, offline, or a combination of both. From specialty shops to pop-up store fronts to online flagship stores, new and innovative retail formats are constantly emerging to offer new ways to reach consumers.

At the same time, the consumer journey is no longer linear. Consumers are shopping online and buying in physical stores, or vice versa. In an already fragmented channel landscape, this increasingly blurred line between offline and online adds even greater complexity throughout the value chain.

However, when achieved, the benefits of a seamless omni-channel integration can have an exponentially positive business impact. Brands can tap into a wealth market knowledge and insights and better understand and engage with target consumers – know what turns them off and what makes them tick.

Here are five key benefits of driving an omni-channel sales and marketing strategy:

Marketers across Asia’s dynamic retail markets are seeking new ways to remain relevant and appeal to consumers that display a tendency towards brand hopping. Today, with more rich content and multimedia tools widely available, marketers are able to use resources at their disposal to deliver a more personal brand experience.

Imagine virtually designing your own cosmetics gift basket, paying by credit card and picking it up at your nearest store outlet. Upon online checkout, you can also enter the “My Beauty Basket” competition and share your basket design on social media. The winner will receive a USD 300 voucher redeemable on their next round of online shopping.

Such aspirational brand narratives and engaging promotions add sparkle to single products and entire portfolios, while simultaneously growing online and offline sales in fiercely contested markets.

Real-time inventory and sales information plus insights on competitors and consumers yield real competitive advantage. These market data and insights help to customize marketing activities to local needs. These capabilities can prove invaluable in diverse societies like Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar, where cultural factors often inform buying decisions, vast nations like China with its myriad urban centers, and archipelagos like Indonesia and the Philippines, where retail demand is growing at variable speeds.

By optimizing the use of market data, clients obtain a nuanced understanding of the triggers that catalyze customer behaviors both online and in-store – and, increasingly, how consumers transition between offline and digital channels when making purchasing decisions. As a result, they can make informed decisions across all sales and marketing channels – and anticipate and react to new developments.

Ubiquitous smartphone usage across Asia means tailored promotions can be delivered directly to receptive consumers. The reach of digital marketing extends beyond online buying, however. Creative promotions offer the benefits of enhanced in-store sales while generating a powerful online buzz via social media sharing.

DKSH, a leading Market Expansion Services provider, recently worked with feminine care brand Lactacyd in Taiwan to create an O2O (online-to-offline) promotional campaign. A printable barcode was published on a unique mini site offering consumers an exclusive discount on promoted items at participating Watsons and Cosmed stores. By integrating online and offline channels, this initiative enabled brand fans and casual browsers to enjoy a targeted store discount while also building word-of-mouth advocacy for Lactacyd and its products.

Accurate, high-speed fulfillment and delivery are critical differentiators for brands selling online to Asian shoppers. Across Asia, consumers expect a greater range of delivery options to enhance the convenience of online shopping.

In addition to having items picked, packed and delivered to a home or office address, shoppers want to be offered “click and collect” venue options, such as post offices, dedicated store counters and drop-point lockers. Being able to provide multiple delivery solutions meets the customer’s desire for choice and flexibility – and helps companies build sales.

Fragmentation in the retail landscape is evident across Asia, but in less developed markets the value chain may include several wholesalers, distributors and sub-distributors. An omni-channel sales and marketing strategy delivered from a single source directly engages with consumers, removes unnecessary complexities and inefficiencies – and expands sales in ways that can be easily benchmarked.

Finding a partner that can help brands customize their approach and choose their own pace of growth will be pivotal. Whether outsourcing all marketing-related elements, or selecting bespoke services, such as field marketing, brands can utilize a combination of channels to test and launch new products and finesse pricing strategies. In addition to expanding visibility, this encourages previous purchasers and new adopters to become loyal customers – a highly cherished objective for brands and retailers operating in Asia.