The secret to being in the right place at the right time to maximize sales

Consumers want to shop whenever and wherever it is the most convenient for them, and brands are responding quickly to their needs.

If you want to increase your sales this holiday season, you have to meet your customers where they’re at and deliver an engaging shopping experience at all touchpoints.

To do so, you need a comprehensive strategy to guide your effort. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your omnichannel marketing plan:

Augment your mobile experience

This year’s Cyber Monday was dominated by mobile sales, accounting for $2 billion of the $6.59 billion in total online sales.

To encourage customers to purchase from their mobile devices, declutter your mobile eCommerce experience and make it easy for shoppers to browse and check out.

You can also add an easy-to-navigate “holiday shopping” section featuring the most popular gift items to streamline the user experience.

Don’t forget your mobile app. Update it with content relevant to the holiday season, add a gift selector, and offer personalized product recommendations based on a customer’s preferences and browsing history.

Beef up your website with interactive content

Finding the right gifts for everybody can be challenging and your customers would appreciate all the help they can get.

Develop an interactive gift selector or a product comparison widget to streamline the shopping experience and help customers make the right choices.

Feature trending items and offer different ways to sort product listing to help visitors find the products they want.

You can also add shoppable images or videos to your website to enhance the user experience, increase engagement, and boost conversion.

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Get more sales from your email subscribers

Email marketing is an extremely effective way to send targeted content and personalized offers to people who have already shown interest in your brand.

Segmenting your list and sending personalized content that is most relevant to your subscribers can help increase engagement, click-through rate, and conversion.

Your emails can feature this holiday’s hottest items and offer product recommendations based on the recipients’ profiles, preferences, and purchasing behaviors.

If they have recently visited your website and shown interest in certain items, you can offer them a special discount for the particular products.

You can also send cart abandonment reminders to shoppers who have items in their carts but are yet to complete their orders.

Increase social media reach with ads and retargeting

Paid advertising is a great way to boost your social media presence and show up in front of your ideal customers during the holiday season.

Target your messaging to specific segments based on interests, geographic locations, demographics, occupations, and more, to deliver a personalized experience.

You can also import your email list and show subscribers the special offer you have sent in an email.

In addition, you can use retargeting and Facebook Dynamic Ads to show the most relevant products or content to an audience.

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Explore the new frontier of messaging apps

The top four messaging apps now have a larger combined user base than the top four social networks.

As consumers are getting comfortable with messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, brands are using these new platforms to engage with their audience.

You can answer pre-sale questions, assist customers with placing their orders, and offer post-sale support through these touchpoints.

With personalization and chatbot technologies, aided by machine learning and natural language processes, you can now deliver a customized shopping experience at scale using messaging apps.

The key to successful omnichannel marketing

No matter what strategies you’re implementing this holiday season, keep in mind that the ultimate goal of omnichannel marketing is to deliver a customer-centric shopping experience.

When you design your plan based on the preferences and behaviors of your customers, you’ve already won half the battle.

Attract more diners and build loyalty with a personalized dining experience

It’s said that you are what you eat and you attract like-minded individuals.

It’s also true for restaurants. The way you interact with your customers determines who comes to your establishment.

In the competitive restaurant industry, brands must continually maintain customer loyalty, attract new customers, and keep cross-channel engagement high.

And it starts with how you make your customers feel.

Almost 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers are willing to pay more for a superior customer experience.

To attract customers and build loyalty, your restaurant needs to deliver a seamless customer-centric dining experience through both online and in-person interactions.

And it starts before they step into your establishment…

When your customers first interact with your brand — whether they’re signing up for a newsletter, booking a table, or placing an order online — entice them to set up a profile so you can start collecting customer data.

This single customer view is the foundation to personalizing your customers’ dining experience that will attract and retain more customers.

With each interaction, you’ll gather more information on your customers. The customer profiles will get richer, providing you with more data to deliver an outstanding experience in your restaurant:

Customer Preferences

Delight your customers with pleasant surprises and relevant recommendations by inviting them to add information about their preferences or dietary restrictions to their profiles when they make a reservation.

People are wary about giving away their information, so make sure to explain how you’ll be using the information to personalize their experience in your restaurant and include a link to your privacy policy.

Social Media

Augment a customer’s in-person experience with social media interactions while they’re in your restaurant.

Encourage your customers to check in and share their experience, e.g., post photos and tag your business.

Consider rewarding them for sharing your business with their friends and followers, e.g., with a small discount or a complimentary dessert for their next visit.

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Listen to your customers’ feedback through social media. If you can link up social media comments with customer profiles, you can take note of their preferences to provide a personalized experience during their next visit.

You can even get your customers to participate in designing the next menu items by asking questions or doing a poll on social media.

Mobile App

Encourage customers to place their orders on a mobile app, either for pick up immediately or at a scheduled time, to deliver a seamless takeout experience.

Your customers can set their preferences for easy access to their favorite dishes, or order from a list of past purchases.

In addition, you can set up push notifications to offer special deals at times when customers tend to place their orders or when they’re in the vicinity of your restaurant.

Leveraging this strategy, TGI Fridays increased mobile conversion rate by 35%.

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Customize Dining Experience

Use the information on your customers’ profiles, such as birthdays or anniversaries, to help customers create special memories.

Perhaps you can send an email reminder to book a table for their spouses’ birthday and help them set up just the right atmosphere for a romantic night out.

Or, you can find out if they’re celebrating anything special when they book a table (e.g., a job promotion) to help them create the perfect ambiance for the occasion.

Wow Your Customers With the Right Experience

With so many ways to deliver a personalized message, it can be daunting to choose which type of interactions to capitalize on.

Make sure you design an experience that’s on-brand and engaging for your target market.

For example, Chipotle caters to their on-the-go customers with an app with which they can save their favorite orders for a quick and seamless experience.

The easy-to-navigate tools helps eliminate the frustration of standing in line and waiting for an order to get prepared.

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After putting in the effort to design a seamless experience across all touch points, don’t forget to tell your customers about the different channels through which they can interact with you.

See how Target, Fig & Olive, and Bank of America are using omnichannel personalization in their marketing

Big brands in every industry vertical are leveraging the power of customer data to deliver personalized campaigns and promotions to increase sales, deepen engagement, and improve customer loyalty.

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How are you using customer data to inform your personalized marketing campaigns?

Here are some examples from three industry leaders to get you inspired:

Retail Industry — Target

In 2012, Target made the news by sending a promotional mailer advertising baby gear to a teenage girl before she told her parents about the pregnancy.

The retail giant was able to do so by creating a customer profile on each shopper to store demographic information and track buying behaviors.  

Since then, Target has further refined its personalized marketing strategies (besides taking more care to avoid public-relationship disasters) most notably with their app Cartwheel.

The app uses customer data from a centralized database as well as real-time in-store interactions to offer recommendations and discounts based on past purchases and app usage.

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Cartwheel features shopping lists with a scanning function, and allows guests to personalize the homepage by choosing exactly which categories to feature.

In addition, the app’s Personalized Recommendations suggest tailored offers based on guests’ in-app activities and Exclusive Offers reward loyal guests with personalized, higher-value offers.

The app boasts over 7 million users while active users have increased their spending at Target by nearly 30 percent.

Restaurant Industry — Fig & Olive

With eight locations across the country, Fig & Olive struggled with the large amount of customer data they have collected both from the point-of-sale systems at their individual locations and from OpenTable.

To leverage this wealth of customer information, the restaurant group developed a centralized reservation center so they can combine data from all locations.

This allows the company to track the dining habits and visit frequency of guests across all of their restaurants.

Using the centralized data platform, the company ran automated personalized email campaigns targeting specific customer behaviors.

For instance, the “we miss you campaign” that offered complimentary crostini to guests who had not visited in the last 30 days resulted in 300 visits and more than $36,000 in sales—an ROI of 700%.

Their automated email campaigns have an extraordinarily high open rate of 53%. Their personalized communication strategy has increased customer loyalty and spending.

In addition, the restaurant group used their customer relationship management (CRM) platform to gather feedback from their guests through online surveys.

By gathering and acting on customer feedback, Fig & Olive decreased negative reviews on Yelp by 36%.

Financial Industry — Bank of America

Bank of America launched BankAmeriDeals, a program that has served 1.5 billion offers to its 30 million online and 14 million mobile banking customers during a 2-year period.

Using data in bank customers’ accounts to discover their purchasing habits, BofA partnered with popular merchants to offer customers deals on products and services.

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The program, while keeping the customers’ personally identifiable information within the bank’s database, allows participating merchants to “link” offers of up to 15 percent “cash back” within BofA’s online and mobile banking customers’ accounts.

BofA further increased the relevance of the offers by going beyond national brands. It partners with regional and local merchants to deliver the right level of relevance to the right customers.

This program has helped the bank deepen engagement with their customers, creating a win-win situation for the merchants, customers, and bank.

77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.

Personalization is no longer a “luxury” in marketing if you want to cut through the clutter.

It’s time to set up your business to leverage customer data and deliver an outstanding customer experience that increases conversion.

Even though Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods has brought omnichannel grocery retail to our attention, Walmart has been profiting from the synergy of its well established online and offline grocery retail channels for quite some time.

The company is well positioned to take advantage of the consumer trend in omnichannel retail, in which consumers expect a seamless and consistent user experience across all channels and interactions, including physical stores, web, social media, mobile, call center, and others.

Walmart’s infrastructure allows it to coordinate activities and consolidate data across channels to achieve synergy and efficiency while analytics on its large customer database provide further insights into consumer preferences and behaviors.

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Instead of solely focusing on providing delivery service like many eGrocers do, Walmart offers a mix of online and in-store experiences that include drive-through and buy-online-pick-up-in-store to satisfy the various reasons that consumers choose to shop for grocery online.

In Q1 2017, Walmart’s grocery business surged a staggering 63 percent and added 0.8 percentage points to its first-quarter same-store sales gain. Now the company is on track to scaling this offering to more stores.

What’s Walmart doing right in its omnichannel grocery retail strategy? Turns out, quite a bit:

1. Brand Promise of “Everyday Low Price”

A study by Hartman Group found that 35% of consumers order groceries online for better pricing.

Walmart leverages its brand promise of “everyday low price,” which is very appealing to many shoppers.onmichannel groceryImage source

Not only does this pricing strategy increase Walmart’s competitiveness in both mainstream and online Grocery markets, but it also helps attract customers used to shopping for food at brick-and-mortar discount or dollar stores.

2. Free Two-Day Shipping

In the same study by Hartman Group, 43% of participants indicated free shipping as a major reason they buy groceries online.

Walmart’s free two-day shipping makes having groceries delivered to their doorsteps a no-brainer for the many customers who want to avoid traveling to a store, dealing with a crowd, and spending time on shopping.

3. In-Store Pick Up Of Online Orders

For customers who like instant gratification but want to avoid the crowd, save time from having to look for items in the store, and enjoy the convenience of utilizing their personalized re-order lists, Walmart offers a service that allows shoppers to place their orders online, choose a time slot, and have the order loaded directly into their cars at their local Walmart.

In addition, the company has recently implemented geo-fencing technology that links up a customer’s mobile device to the local store so the order, which was placed online, will be waiting for the customer at the parking lot.

This omnichannel customer experience is made possible by Walmart’s many physical locations, as well as its robust e-commerce platform and personalization strategy that link their offline operation to the online shopping experience.

4. Employee Delivery

For many online grocery retailers, the “last mile” delivery is often the most costly and creates the biggest logistic challenges.

Walmart is testing a program that pays participating employees to deliver online orders on their way home from work. If successful, this program can potentially increase the efficiency and reduce the cost associated with the “last mile” while delivering an even more seamless online-offline shopping experience to consumers.

The Key To Successful Omnichannel Retail

Successful execution of an omnichannel customer experience is dependent upon a seamless integration of online and offline channels.

Many of these interactions hinge upon the creation of a personalized experience based on each customer’s preferences, behaviors, and interactions with the brand, and it has become imperative that retailers design customer-centric interactions that span online and offline channels.

Design an omnichannel customer experience that increases engagement and conversion

Kids selling lemonade on a hot summer day at a busy street corner make more money than those who set up shop at a deserted spot on a wintry morning.

And as the saying goes, you don’t sell ice to an Eskimo.

These are simple yet fundamental lessons in sales and marketing—you need to be in the right place at the right time to sell the right product to the right people.

Of course, it’s exponentially more complex in today’s marketplace where consumers are interacting with brands on multiple channels, both online and offline, at various stages of their customer journey.

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Not only do businesses need to design a seamless online experience but they also have to make sure it extends into their brick-and-mortar presence, and vice versa.

To successfully connect all the customer touch points, you need a holistic approach to your marketing and promotion strategies.

Omnichannel Marketing — Putting All the Pieces Together

Omnichannel marketing is a strategy for delivering seamless and consistent customer experience across channels and on different devices so each interaction builds on the previous one to effectively move the audience along the customer journey.  

The key to omnichannel marketing lies in understanding who you’re communicating with across channels (website, emails, social, apps, call center, stores, ads, etc.) and then connecting those channels to give individuals what they want. (Hubspot)

A survey found that 47% of shoppers who engage with a retailer across 10 or more channels make purchases from its website at least once a week, compared to just 21% for those who engage up to four channels.

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In addition, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies are able to retain 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak customer engagement strategies.

Since omnichannel marketing involves the strategic coordination of multiple customer touch points, you can’t just throw some spaghetti on the wall and hope it will stick.

Here’s how to make omnichannel marketing work for your business:

  • Take stock of all your customer touch points (e.g. website, email, social media, call center, store)  and understand how your audience interacts with each of them (e.g. making a purchase, looking for support, sharing reviews, and comments)
  • Leverage customers’ geographic information to deliver localized content and offers
  • Design personalized promotions based on customers’ past purchases and recent interactions with your brand
  • Develop a consistent brand identity and brand voice to deliver a cohesive user experience across all channels
  • Offer product recommendations based on items customers have viewed or purchased
  • Deliver relevant content to each customer segment based on their preferences and customer journey
  • Keep all your channels active and interact with customers on their preferred platforms
  • Use an omnichannel marketing software to consolidate customer information from all touch points and create a single 360-degree customer profile to inform future interactions
  • Audit your existing systems, such as your POS software, to make sure the data can be integrated into your omnichannel marketing software
  • Provide your salespeople (e.g. in-store, call center, live chat) with access to the master customer profiles so they can have the necessary context to delight your customers. At the same time, ensure that they record their customer interactions onto the centralized platform for future reference

Simply showing up in front of your customers with a mass marketing message is no longer enough in today’s marketplace.

To stay ahead of your competition, you need to deliver the right message that speaks to your customers’ relationship with your brand and where they’re at in the customer journey. Doing so allows you to add value and build trust by being relevant all the time.

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in June 2017 sent a shockwave through the grocery industry. What does it really mean for retailers in the grocery business?

The merger highlights the symbiotic relationship between online and physical stores. Consumers no longer consider them as two distinct experiences but two sides of the same coin that work together to provide a seamless service.

For most grocery retailers doing business at a physical location, the idea of adding an online component can be intimidating.

However, omnichannel retailing has become an essential strategy if you want to stay relevant and competitive in the market.

There’s no question that online shopping is rapidly gaining market share – 51% of Americans prefer to shop online while eCommerce is growing by 23% year-over-year.

Not to mention, consumers are demanding a seamless shopping experience between brick-and-mortar stores and digital channels so they can shop whenever they want, get the best price possible, and have the merchandise delivered to their doorsteps when they want it.

In a recent study of 46,000 shoppers published by Harvard Business Review, 73% of them use multiple channels during their shopping journey. In addition, these customers tend to be more loyal and spend more.

Within the context of the grocery industry, a survey conducted by Unata, 31% of US consumers are likely to shop for groceries online and 80% who have done so will do it again. Meanwhile, 68% who have shopped online are likely to switch to a grocer that provides a better digital experience.

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Even though online grocery retail is gaining market share, there are some inherent challenge in the business model. eGrocers often face the challenge of missing out on attracting customers with a tactile, personal experience. They also need to address the “last mile” of distribution while staying profitable.

The convergence of online ordering and offline shopping is emerging as the solution, as Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods demonstrates.

This merger has solidified omnichannel retail as the strategy for grocery retailers who want to stay competitive and profitable.

Omnichannel retailing is a tantalizing opportunity for many grocery retailers, reinforced by the technology now available to create a seamless and personal customer experience without breaking the bank.

For instance, the logistics of same-day delivery is now economically feasible while the technology to deliver an omnichannel personalized shopping experience is available to retailers at an affordable cost.

An omnichannel strategy meets your customers’ demand for having the personal experience of shopping in a physical store while enjoying the convenience of managing their orders online and getting groceries delivered to their doorsteps when they need them.

To stay competitive and relevant, grocery retailers need to cater to their omnichannel customers. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

  • Offer Multiple Touch points: Omnichannel customers like using a variety of touchpoints in different locations and combinations. Every component – whether it’s a smartphone app, an in-store interactive catalog, or the retailer’s eCommerce website – has to deliver a coherent and seamless customer experience.

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  • Encourage Customers to Use More Channels: The Harvard Business Review study revealed that omnichannel customers are more valuable. They spent an average of 4% more in-store and 10% more online when compared to single-channel customers. In addition, customers who use 4 or more channels spent an average of 9% more in-store compared to those who use only one channel.
  • Build Loyalty With Personalization: Online channel allows retailers to gain valuable insights into individual shopper’s preferences, habits, and personalities. To make the most out of this goldmine of data, use a Customer Data Management platform. This will allow you to construct 360° customer profiles based on real-time interactions across all channels so you can deliver the most timely and relevant services, information, and product recommendations to your customers to build relationships and increase sales.

As a grocery retailer in this digital era, you’re competing not only with local grocery stores but also national chain retailers.Implementing an omnichannel personalization strategy not only helps you better serve your customers and increase sales but also contributes to better inventory management, improved demand sensing, and streamlined customer support so you can stay competitive and profitable.

This Wednesday, the DFW-Retail Executives Association ended its season on a timely topic for retailers: Personalization.  If you missed out on this panel or are one of the 77 percent of companies saying, “In 2016 we need to be doing personalization,” have no fear we have the panel highlights for you.

Cover Photo Amrit Speaking at REA Personalization Panel
DFW REA Personalization Panel

The panel consisted of three experts,

  • Jeff Rosenfeld-Vice President of Customer Insights & Analytics at The Neiman Marcus Group
  •  Veeral Rathod- Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder at J. Hilburn Clothiers
  • And NectarOM’s very own Chief Executive Officer & Founder Amrit Kirpalani.

Panel Moderator Steve Dennis kicked off the panel discussion setting the stage for why personalization is quickly becoming a business imperative.  Explaining that personalization is  “an imperative because the battle has shifted from market share to share of attention- and it’s increasingly difficult to be the signal amidst the noise.”

The rest of the discussion focused on how personalization is changing their marketing efforts, what challenges they faced when launching their personalization efforts, how it is changing marketing, and finally discussed how other companies could successfully launch their own personalization efforts.

Here are a few of our favorite topics from the panel,

Test and Learn

Don’t start off trying to personalize every message coming from every channel.  Amrit suggested that the clients with the most success started off small.  Start off testing a few channels and messages at a time, learn what worked and then test some more.

Be Prepared to Think About Marketing Differently

Personalization fundamentally changes how marketing has been done for years. Instead of a one size fits all strategy, personalization shifts the focus to marketing on a one-to-one level.  Jeff and Amrit agreed that culture change was one of the biggest challenges when companies started discussing personalization.

Not a One Size Fits All Solution.

Take the time to figure out how personalization fits into your company’s structure and into what your customers want.   The Neiman Marcus Group and  J. Hilburn Clothiers both used personalization in the retail space, however they each had a unique approach that fit their customer and business model’s needs.

Have the right partners in place

Not everyone can afford to have a team of data scientists creating custom algorithms.  However, personalization is something that is becoming more realistic for companies of all shapes and sizes to start adding to their marketing efforts. All you need to do is find the right partner.

If you are interested in learning more about sending tailored messages to your customers in real-time across all your owned channels let us know and schedule a demo to see the NectarSuite in action.

If you are a marketer or are in an industry/company where marketing is a key strategy component, you have probably heard the term “omnichannel” one or two times (or twenty… or fifty…). It’s the buzzword that seems to be redefining the way consumer facing companies conduct business. Omnichannel marketing means reaching customers seamlessly across multiple channels from digital channels such as website and email to physical channels such as in-store and direct mail.

Consumers should be provided with the opportunity to connect with the company on various levels, and the brand or company should have the foresight to recognize the consumer as one and the same amongst these layers. Consistency across every channel is key; if the consumer purchases a product on the retailer’s ecommerce site, he/she should be able to return it at the physical store. The channels should essentially co-exist and be complementary in nature.

Here are some examples of A+ omnichannel experiences:


Omnichannel marketing SephoraBuy in store, receive an email asking for a review. I recently purchased foundation from Sephora at one of their mall locations and received this email a few days later.

I am an avid Sephora fan and have been a Beauty Insider member (their version of a rewards card) for many years. It’s intriguing that Sephora was one of the first retailers to embrace omnichannel marketing by pushing customers through to their website from an in-store experience.

As a result, Sephora now contains 1000s of reviews across a wide variety of products and is essentially the for make-up reviews. Sephora has also installed screens in their physical stores which gives access to customer reviews and prices. Just recently I received a few samples of various creams, and the store associate was able to print out a little “how-to” receipt with the average rating of the item and insert it into my sample bag. It is ingenious and quite frankly so very convenient.

While Sephora is making strides toward omnichannel marketing, they have not yet adopted pick up at store and have kept ecommerce and in-store purchases separate (a pain point for some). However, needless to say, Sephora has invested the time and effort into making the in-store purchasing process integrated with their digital presence, making the in store purchasing experience delightful and easy.


Omnichannel marketing Nordstrom
Nordstrom’s mobile app makes recommendations in the app based on the consumer’s previous search history.

Nordstrom has always been ahead of its time and continues to surprise and delight their customers with their seamless shopping experience. In fact, the large retailer was one of the first department stores to truly invest in their ecommerce platform while other traditional department store retailers lagged far behind.

The results speak for themselves, as web sales in 2014 grew 33% in the first quarter of 2014, and web sales accounted for 14.2% of all sales, up from 9% in 2012 (source).

Not only has Nordstrom invested in their flagship Nordstrom product, they have invested heavily in Nordstrom Rack’s ecommerce platform, using their 2011 HauteLook acquisition as a model. In May 2014, Nordstrom launched their ecommerce platform on along with a mobile app.

Hautelook members are able to sign in with their member IDs and passwords, and any purchases made on can be returned in store, making the omnichannel experience truly seamless.omnichannel marketing nordstrom rack

Nordstrom executive VP and Chief Financial Officer Mike Koppel has said Nordstrom “plan[s] to invest $3.9 billion in capital over the next five years as we focus on serving more customers through store and online growth.”

As Nordstrom’s omnichannel marketing investments grow, we will see an even better consumer shopping experience.


Although the massive data breach severely drove a bullet hole in the reputation of the big box retailer and revealed their severe lack of security coordination, Target has been the leader in omnichannel for big box retailers. In fact, Target has been so good at predicting customer behavior, a father got upset that his teen daughter was receiving coupons for expectant mothers, not realizing she was indeed pregnant.

omnichannel marketing targetTarget’s omnichannel experience consists of ship-to-store, pick-up at store, ship-to-home, an ecommerce website, and a mobile app. Target’s mobile app allows for customers to pinpoint exactly where items are located in the store, down to the precise aisle of where they reside. Other features of the mobile app include adding items to your virtual cart and selecting pick up in store, a map of the store layout, a coupon/savings section, shopping list, registry list, and wish list among others.

It’s clear that Target is using its mobile app as their central HQ for the omnichannel experience, as multiple channels are integrated into one, making marketing extremely easy. Cartwheel is a coupon service which integrates with Facebook to offer coupons on things the consumer already buys. In exchange for coupons, consumers are handing over their social data which Target can then use to send targeted offers.

Retailers are moving towards this direction of the omnichannel experience, but there are some retailers who took the plunge well ahead of their competitors, adapting to the desires of their consumers. It’s these companies that will continue to thrive in the battle between ecommerce and traditional commerce.