Are you looking for advice to boost your marketing strategy? Is your business no longer progressing? Do you have the impression that your prospecting is running out of steam and that your turnover is stagnating? Maybe it’s time to change your distribution strategy? The cross-channel strategy is above all to deploy different points of contact, physical and digital, to reach the same target several times and also different people. As a result, several generations can find your brand and order in the way they want.
Let’s now focus on cross-channel, how it works and a concrete example to help you optimize your distribution strategy.
Concretely, what is the cross channel strategy?
Cross-channel is a marketing strategy that concentrates and brings together the different distribution channels of companies, in order to make them complementary. The goal is above all to reflect a consistent image to the consumer, regardless of the touchpoint he uses.
In other words, instead of putting physical and virtual points of sale in competition, as well as the different communication channels (website, social networks , catalog, etc.), they are linked and work together.
The cross channel makes it possible to streamline the customer journey in order to improve their buying experience. For example, a consumer sees a catalog product. He then searches for information on the brand’s e-commerce site, then orders it in click and collect. He pays directly online and picks up his purchase in store. His article is prepared and waiting for him at the reception and he does not have to wander around the store to find it, nor to wait at the checkout. In this case, it’s a considerable time saver and it’s a winning bet if the brand’s objective is to reduce waiting time at the checkout.
Example of a successful BtoB cross-channel strategy
Case study: Metro
Metro is a company founded in 1964 in Germany. This wholesaler provides equipment and services to professionals in the food sector. The company is reinventing itself and breathing new life into its business by adopting a cross-channel strategy.
Metro was initially a physical brand, with the first French store established in 1971 in Villeneuve-en-Garenne. Today, this btob service provider has 100 stores in France and generates more than 4 billion euros in turnover every year!
This performance is explained by the adaptation of its communication and sales strategy in relation to its customers. In the decades following its establishment in France, consumption patterns continued to evolve. Metro has therefore adapted its strategy and opted for cross-channel.
Cross channel levers
Concretely, here is what Metro has put in place:
- The opening of a website with the possibility for everyone to have their personal account (and therefore the monitoring of customer information). This site increases visibility on the internet, ease of purchase and quality of customer service;
- A loyalty benefits program, to strengthen its relationship with its customers and have a more attractive image;
- The creation of a mobile application to facilitate and make orders more accessible;
- Presence on social networks such as Facebook™ and LinkedIn™ , which gives it a more dynamic image. This makes it possible to post content with high added value, to reach a wider audience, to be more visible on the internet, to improve notoriety, to facilitate contact (thanks to Facebook™ chat and LinkedIn™ messaging ), etc
Moreover, as a BtoB service provider, your presence on LinkedIn™ is essential in a cross-channel strategy. At Proinfluent, we help you set up your presence strategy on LinkedIn™. Make an appointment with a Proinfluent expert to find out more!
The evolution of multichannel, cross channel to omnichannel
Multichannel, a limited strategy
Contrary to the cross-channel strategy which advocates complementarity and the association of distribution channels, the multi-channel puts in place a very different communication strategy. It also combines several channels to communicate with its customers (e-commerce, the physical point of sale, a mobile application, emailing, contact by SMS, social networks, appointments commercial btob , etc.) however, these supports are independent of each other, we then speak of competitors. Yet in the end, they increase the turnover of the same company. Simply the website is not linked to the physical sign, itself not directly associated with the mobile application, etc.
Multi-channel is therefore a bit obsolete, because it does not allow customers to mix different sales media in their purchasing journey. However, it is a question of multiplying the number of points of contact in order to broaden its clientele. For example, the possibility of buying on the website or in a physical store. This makes it possible to reach both people who are more comfortable with digital technology, who agree to pay directly on the internet, and those who prefer to go to a store.
Today customers go through different media before making a decision, and it is to follow the evolution of the market that the cross-channel strategy replaces the multi-channel one.
The cross channel, communicate to expand
The cross channel can be defined as a real evolution of the multichannel marketing strategy . What changes is that the different channels communicate and are all related to each other. Customers are therefore free to move from one medium to another to inquire, buy or make a return.
A new presence much appreciated by consumers who are no longer restricted to a single channel. The strength of a cross-channel strategy is therefore to make the customer journey more accessible, simple and flexible. For example, customers can search for product information and order on the website. Then get delivered directly to the store via the Drive. Or buy online and pick up the item in store.
Cross-channel is therefore a marketing strategy more suited to current consumption, which allows you to simply go through different channels to communicate with the brand, buy or make a return.
Omnichannel, a marketing strategy at the service of customer satisfaction
You could say that omnichannel is the improved version of cross channel, it’s the next step. Here we are not talking about channels that communicate with each other, but of a global unit that has no physical or digital barrier. The implementation of omnichannel by companies also means advocating the personalization of services and individualized advice.
Employees have access to order history as well as the customer’s relationship with the brand. They can therefore help the consumer in a much more precise way, in order to find the best solutions for his profile.
Digital screens are available to customers who can personalize their product, view its stock and order it. Or catalogs with QR codes that allow you to buy products directly online.
Website, physical signs, social networks, emailing , everything communicates to design the best possible customer experience. Among these 3 strategies, omnichannel is the future that all companies must adopt in the future to align with the way their customers consume.
Cross-channel strategy to conclude
- The cross channel makes the customer journey more fluid;
- Thanks to its many points of contact, it reaches a wider clientele and improves the customer experience;
- In b2b, the cross channel works thanks to the implementation of several elements such as a website, a presence on social networks, a loyalty program, a mobile application, commercial meetings and possibly points of sale;
- The cross-channel is the intermediate situation in the evolution of the distribution strategy which at the start was similar to multi-channel. Today, the majority of companies opt for cross-channel and tend to move towards omnichannel.
Cross-channel strategy to summarize in 4 questions
Comment mettre en place une stratégie cross canal ?
To establish a cross-channel marketing strategy, it is necessary to proceed with the multiplication of communication channels and points of sale. Indeed, the principle of the cross channel is based on their complementarity. The website works in coherence with the social networks page, the physical points of sale and the mobile application. There is no break between them, they are connected.
Thus, a customer can order an item on his smartphone or tablet and collect it directly from the store thanks to click and collect. To set up a cross-channel strategy, it is necessary to match the violins between the different purchasing media so that they are completely consistent.
Pourquoi utiliser le cross canal ?
Implementing a cross-channel marketing strategy allows you to:
- Multiply the points of contact with your brand, product or solution.
- Increase your sales opportunities and limit the risk of abandonment in the middle of the purchase process. Are the customer’s items no longer available at their preferred point of sale? He can then decide to order them elsewhere but still in the same company, and have them delivered. This prevents him from turning to the competition.
- Streamline the customer journey. For example, by saving him time thanks to click and collect.
- Improve the customer experience and relationship. Thanks to the diversification of communication channels (Facebook™, Twitter™, online messaging, etc.) consumers find the answers to their questions from online customer service, available over time slots that are generally longer than the store physical. This facilitates decision-making and therefore the purchase.
Quelle est la différence entre cross canal, omnicanal et multicanal ?
- Cross-channel strategy: all distribution channels (website, mobile application, e-commerce, physical stores) communicate with each other and offer the same service or product. They associate and are complementary.
- Multi-channel strategy: several communication and sales channels are available, however they are independent and each has its own way of working.
- Omnichannel strategy: here, all purchasing and communication media are one with the brand and its company. There are no longer barriers between physical and digital commerce. It is possible to combine all stages of the customer journey by alternating digitization (smartphone, tablets, pc) and physical services (sales, returns, after-sales service). All services are unified in order to offer customers the best shopping experience possible.
Quels sont les enjeux du cross canal ?
The principle of cross-channel is to multiply the points of contact and make them communicate to make them complementary. This allows you to hit the same targets or different people several times. Physical sign, commercial meeting, website and social networks are possibilities to reach its prospects.