Getting Real About Cross-Channel

True cross-channel engagement and tracking across all channels remains enormously difficult for marketers.

We talked about the state of affairs with Tim Kilroy. He wears two hats: VP/insight and analytics at performance agency Elite SEM and CEO of Adchemix, a predictive analytics company for e-commerce. 

So where do you see things?
I think the relevant development is that consumers are platform agnostic — seamlessly switching between desktop, mobile and tablet — one customer touching you in multiple different ways. When you throw in the physicality of store locations or offline conversion — phone conversion and social media, it becomes an enormous morass for marketers because the more things we can measure, the harder it is to define which ones are most actionable. 

What’s more, e-commerce and POS are not yet integrated for most retailers. That holds back the true omnichannel experience and measurement. That’s an enormous chasm to cross. Over the last 15 years, retailers have grown up with stores and online as different channels, whereas for consumers it’s all one. 



The expectation is that most marketers should be able to track online, offline, catalog, phone orders, in-store experience — in one system. Most can’t. That’s the uneven landscape marketers are challenged with right now. 

What’s impeding this?
It costs a lot to update information systems to encompass all of these feeds into one cohesive experience. It’s maddening for marketers. There is such precision of measurement in the digital world, and moving offline becomes predictions and guesses.

I was a retail CMO. I understand those issues — lack of full lifecycle measurement is impeding investment into calculating it. If you don’t have it, you can’t justify additional investment.

Who do you see getting it right?
Vineyard Vines has an in-store clienteling program. It can pull up your info and see your orders. That’s a digital take on high-quality retail associates who remember you. More of these clienteling applications are forcing the online and offline worlds to maximize customer experience. Johnston & Murphy does it to some extent. 

With the exception of Amazon, in-store retail defines the online experience.

What do you mean?
It’s because of the shopper experience that people spend online (otherwise it would be all Amazon). By forcing the measurement of spending dollars online to drive in-store transactions that create a new customer or activate an existing one, then you can start lifecycle marketing. 

The real idea is for the retailer to focus very much on how they’re able to influence customers. The explosion of e-commerce has renewed an emphasis on in-store experience as a fundamental loyalty push.

Can you give an example from your own life?
I needed ink for my printer because my 7-year-old twins like to print stuff out. I went to Amazon because it makes everything so easy — two clicks and it’ll be here tomorrow. But I needed it today. I went to the Staples Web site and they offered pickup in store in 15 minutes or delivered today. That retail backbone created the opportunity for me to buy from them, whereas I haven’t shopped there in 10 years. 

Leveraging the store to make it more convenient for me as a digital consumer is the role of offline retail today. Take all the rough edges off the experience. 

What made you think of Staples?
I got an email from Staples this morning that told me about it, even though I’ve been an incredibly infrequent consumer.

Email is like the Sunday flyer, the dependable thing that keeps your awareness up so that when the purchase opportunity arises, the emailer is part of your consideration set. That’s a place where retailers don’t invest enough. They need to do more for awareness, not just retention.


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