Maximize ROI for the holidays: 3 rules for an effective multichannel strategy

Last year marked a milestone for mobile shopping during the holidays, but the numbers ultimately proved that the key to success is being multichannel-ready. According to a recent report by IBM, while 47% of overall 2014 holiday shopping-related traffic was via mobile, 75% of sales were still through desktops.

Another reason merchants must focus on multichannel: eCommerce consumers’ attention spans are now shorter than ever. Between 2013 and 2014, average session length dipped 10%, bounce rates bumped up 10%, and shopping cart abandonment rates showed a 4% increase.

The likely culprit for shoppers’ wandering eyes? Multiple devices. Thanks to the Internet of Things, Americans now own an average of four digital devices, per a 2014 Nielsen study. Thanks to the way consumers switch from platform to platform, it’s now more important than ever to ensure a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints.

Here are three rules to follow when crafting your multichannel (and multidevice) holiday strategy:

1. Consistency across channels is key.

True multichannel strategy means presenting a united front across all channels. You want your customer to be able to identify your brand through each touchpoint, whether it’s an email, your mobile website, or even social media profile. Focus on cohesive design, voice, and messaging, and don’t limit offers to one channel only. Without consistency, you risk losing customers as they switch from one platform to another.

2. Transactions: Think smooth, quick, painless.

Whether you’ve built a mobile app or are dabbling with social media buy buttons, time is of the essence when it comes to non-desktop conversions. Shoppers lose patience more quickly depending on the device or platform, so it’s important to create as smooth a transaction as possible. Integrate social media logins for your mobile app to make signup easier, or embed payment options like Apple Pay or Paypal to facilitate one-click payments.

3. Optimize your multichannel marketing efforts.

While there’s no doubt that multichannel marketing is a must, not all channels are created equal. Analyze your customer data to figure out which channels work best for each of your segments, and optimize accordingly. Identify your high-CLV customers, and track which channels spur the most conversions. This allows you to maximize your ROI by allocating your budget to the channels that drive the most revenue.

Despite the weather outside, the holiday season is fast approaching, and marketers must prepare now for a successful (and profitable) holiday season. As eCommerce shoppers evolve and the number of touchpoints grow, marketers must remember to think outside of just email and onsite preparations.

Companies now have access to remarkable amounts of customer data, and it’s imperative that digital marketers take advantage of the information available. Understanding which channels are most effective for your brand is key in building a smarter, ROI-focused multichannel strategy.