According to a recent study by Econsultancy, it seems that APAC is significantly behind North America in deploying multichannel marketing.  

In this post we'll look at some examples from the cutting edge which tell us where things are going.

Just before we start, I'd like to highlight that Econsultancy will be hosting a webinar on the subject, Multichannel Marketing: Trends, Data and Best Practice (APAC), on Thursday 29 October at 10am Singapore / 1pm Sydney time.

Reserve your place here.

Multichannel in APAC

In a previous post, we pointed out that marketers in APAC see multichannel as an exciting opportunity for 2015, especially as a part of customer experience.

But a recent report, The Multichannel Reality, shows that things haven't moved on in 2015 as much as marketers possibly intended.

How multichannel are you?

In the survey, conducted in association with Adobe in Q3 of 2015, we asked marketers globally to describe how they carry out multichannel marketing activities.

Compared to 2013, it seems that multichannel is still an active strategy; 46% say at least some campaigns are integrated across channels.

But in APAC

But when we break out the data into regions we can see that APAC is trailing behind North America significantly.

29% of our American counterparts take an integrated approach to all of their campaigns across all channels, but in APAC only 14% do the same.

What's going on?

In the same survey, we asked all marketers to tell us what stands in the way of delivering integrated marketing campaigns.

The top two are things we hear a lot about when implementing new marketing paradigms, non-integrated tech platforms (56%) and disparate data sources (47%).

And the next two are common as well, organizational structure and complexity of the customer journey (40%).

Instead of addressing those problems directly, though, it is also useful to look at how North American companies have successfully deployed a multichannel strategy.  

This way we can get some ideas for what we need to do in APAC in order to achieve the same level of multichannel excellence we see in the States.

Here are three different ways in which US companies have used a new approach to integrate multichannel into their marketing.

Live Nation: Use new data sources

Live Nation, the world's largest live entertainment company, realized that 93% of its customers use their mobiles to search for concert tickets, but over 60% switch to a desktop computer to make a purchase.

The problem

The problem that Live Nation faced is that it was unable to link its customer from mobile to desktop because the tracking technology, cookies, are typically not supported on mobile.

This meant that the company was unable to determine whether its mobile ads were effective. That is, when its customer moved from mobile to desktop, Live Nation could not attribute the desktop purchase with the mobile ad.

Enter Atlas

You may have read about Atlas here before, but here is a great example of how it works in practice.  

Atlas is the advertising platform which Facebook offers to link mobile app data with desktop data for Facebook users.

Because of its ability to do this, Atlas has a unique solution for linking mobile ads with desktop purchases.

The result?

The result for Live Nation was that it was able to tie 66% more purchases back to mobile and understand the effects of its mobile advertising far, far better than before.

This is an example of how new data sources can help you measure the ROI of multichannel and justify more investment in the strategy.

Target: Use new technology

Target, a large US retailer, has also recently deployed a multichannel strategy. Its focus, however, has been on a new technology - beacons.

Beacons, briefly

A beacon is a small device which transmits a Bluetooth signal to nearby devices. When a device receives the signal, it can display the content.  

This means that marketers can deploy beacons to deliver a message directly to a person when they enter a particular location, with an accuracy of close to one meter!

How Target uses beacons

In order for beacons to work, however, customers have to opt-in to receive the message. Target gets its customers' consent by requiring that they install an app on their smartphone.

Once a customer installs the app and enters one of the stores testing out the technology, they receive relevant push notifications depending on where they are in the store.

For example, if the customer is in the baby section and has the app open, they will see an alert which lets them click to see what baby products are on special offer.

And for those worrying about being overwhelmed with pop-ups, Target limits notifications to two per shopping trip and ensures that the offers will be compelling.

The result?

What effect the beacon-enabled app has on shopping behaviour is not yet known, but APAC businesses who are interested in delivering highly-targeted information to nearby customers will hopefully be able to learn from Target's pilot rollout.

Sephora: Use a new customer-centric view

The problem

Sephora, the global cosmetics retailer, faced a problem that many other retailers face; showrooming

For those unaware of the term, showrooming is a trend where customers enter a store, look at the products, check its price on their mobile, and then shop online or elsewhere based on the information they find.

But instead of trying desperate tactics to overcome this, such as competing on price, Sephora looked to its Innovation Lab in San Francisco for help.

The lab decided to develop apps which faced competing apps head-on, but to develop them with the customer in mind.

Building an app using customer experience

In the Innovation Lab, Sephora has constructed a full model of a Sephora store and innovators hold regular testing and feedback sessions with store associates.  

With this sort of direct feedback, the lab was able to design digital products which aligned with how customers actually behave, according to its associates.

That is, the lab built apps not based on what Sephora's business wanted to achieve, but rather with the customers' goals in mind.

The apps

Out of these sessions, the innovators were able to come up with some very unique mobile apps.  

One example is the Pocket Contour Class, a selfie app which gives Sephora customers step-by-step instructions on sophisticated makeup applications.

Another app also lets customers scan all of Sephora's products to get more information and save their loyalty purchasing information as well.  

The result?

Results aren't yet in on the effectiveness of using customer experience to design apps, but the spirit for a successful multichannel campaign is evident.

Bridget Dolan, vice president of digital media at Sephora, says: "We think one of the biggest opportunities that we have in retail is for our customers to leverage their phones as a shopping assistant when they're standing in the store." 

APAC businesses, especially those who are looking to build an app, should seriously consider following Sephora's lead with customer-based marketing.

So...

Whatever your business, the proliferation of mobile devices means that multichannel will be a reality.

Here we looked at three retail examples in the US which show the path that APAC will almost certainly follow.

But rather than just copy their tactics, the important thing is to look at the new strategies these companies are using. They use new data, new technology, and new customer-centric design to solve their marketing problems.

Then with these strategies in mind, APAC marketers should think about how they might use them to solve some of their own marketing challenges.

Jeff Rajeck

Published 28 October, 2015 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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