Sam Brooks

For most online brands, there’s an expectation that sales performance will begin to decrease once they’ve hit the dreaded “shipping cutoff.” To be fair, that’s perfectly sensible to think you’ll see online orders begin to decline past this date. It doesn’t have to be this way though. If you even just have one physical store, you can still capture orders you might have lost otherwise. How? Through the use of an omni-channel campaign.

An omni-channel campaign is a multichannel approach to sales that provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience. From our experience at Blue Moon Digital, these campaigns are simple to set up, and can be driven from any number of online channels. Costs vary but if you’re looking to capture extra sales prior to the end of the year, an omni-channel campaign is a great way to do it.

While there are undeniable benefits of omni-channel campaigns, there are a few things that need to be considered before moving forward. When a customer visits your website, it takes very little effort for them to end their experience with you. It’s a matter of exiting a browser window with just a click, or opening another tab and searching for another website. When visiting your physical store, it’s another story. When a customer makes the decision to leave your store, they have to pass by your products as they leave. Due to this experience, we have seen offer redemptions and average order values (AOV’s) of omni-channel campaigns to be much higher than the same campaigns online.

Another consideration of omni-channel campaigns is cost. Omni-channel partners who utilize beacon technology can be expensive compared to traditional online campaigns, and require a large initial investment. Most likely the cost reflects physical hardware that beacon technology uses, which needs to be installed in the physical store location. When a customer with a partnered application walks in (or near) a store, the beacon then triggers the application to show messaging of your store’s offer. Shopkick is an example of an application using beacon technology.

An alternative to beacons, are partners who use geo-fencing. Geo-fencing can also target customers entering your store, but uses the GPS on a prospective customer’s mobile device. Similar to beacon technology, partners who utilize geo-fencing can use the technology on their own app(s). The difference is that rather than focus on customers who are only entering your store, you can also focus on customers who are near your competitor’s stores. A geofence is nothing more than a targeted region around a given latitude/longitude, and within that region you can target offers. Where you set that region is entirely up to you.

In some cases, there is the challenge of allocating an offline or retail budget to an online effort. To support the budget needed, some partners prefer they be paid a percentage of sales for redemptions of their unique offer. This type of CPA or CPC model typically works for both parties. In some cases, this cost could mirror the commission you’re paying in your affiliate program. In this scenario, the partner is entirely reliant on the brand acting in good faith, reporting the proper offer redemptions, and paying out the appropriate amount. Additionally, there are a few omni-channel partners who have their own proprietary reporting, and can measure redemption on their end. They will often charge you for the commissions they have accrued, and will provide orders for you to verify on a monthly basis at your request. RetailMeNot, Ibotta, and Valassis are examples of partners who use geo-fencing.

Ultimately, there is a lot of value in running an omni-channel campaign. For some partners, you can be up and running in as little as 48 hours. Given the time of the year, the sooner you launch this campaign, the better. You’ll minimize the decline in orders you’ve been seeing year after year, make yourself more competitive with your vertical, and help improve your bottom line. Lastly, all of these new customers you helped drive to the store, should transition to online buyers. This will help you in the years to come!