Growing and Retaining Customers in an Omnichannel World

Hi Folks, 

New year, new me. I’ve strategically kept to my TLV schedule, calling it a night before 8 pm and getting up at 4 am to start the day.

I’ve never been a morning person, but it’s kinda lovely hitting a spin class and having two full meals before 9 am. Wait, who am I??

I digress. 

Throughout my career, I’ve always worked at DTC brands, but they also had retail distribution. I was a total omnichannel fellow.

Up until Jones Road, we were always riding the omnichannel train. 

We often talk about CX and Retention on the DTC side, yet rarely talk about omnichannel. 

So many questions:

  • Does going retail always ensure you make more cash?

  • How does digital growth differ on DTC vs. retail?

  • How do you retain omnichannel customers?

  • Is “Emily in Paris” doing more for French tourism than the Louvre?

I’m not sure we’ll get to all of these, but we can definitely try.

I’m thrilled to have Shray Joshi here to chat through digital growth and retention for omnichannel brands. Shray and I met while working together at Simulate a few years back, and when I went to OLIPOP, he went to Health-Ade!

Since then, Shray has started Good Peeps, a full-service agency focusing on everything from Brand Marketing, to Trade & Shopper, Retention, and so much more. They work with legendary brands like Chomps, Fly By Jing, Kaged, Flying Embers, Culprit Underwear, etc. 

We’ve got lots to chat about this week, so let’s get to it. 

  • Educate: Get Schooled on Omnichannel Customer Acquisition

  • Verify: Assessing the Impact of Digital Advertising on Omnichannel Brands

  • Retain: Understanding & Optimizing Customer Journeys and Improving Retention

Before we hop in, I’d like to highlight the most recent Down To Chat episode, an interview with Gina Parelli, CEO, and co-founder of Retextion!

It was a fantastic interview and masterclass on subscription. Check it out here: Spotify Apple Podcasts 

This newsletter is brought to you by Northbeam.

Northbeam is a universal attribution platform that uses advanced data models and machine learning to give modern brands confidence in their media buying decisions, allowing them to scale profitably.

Jones Road Beauty uses Northbeam on the growth side to spend smarter and grow faster. Check out Northbeam here.

Educate: Get Schooled on Omnichannel Customer Acquisition

In our DTC corner of the internet, we have various schools of thought on the age-old question:

“Should you stick to DTC, or should you sell in retail / on Amazon?”

Brands have achieved massive success in both ways, and I strongly believe the answer varies based on brand, mission, and so much more.

Putting this hot question on the side for a second, it’s important to understand that whichever direction you choose, digital advertising is imperative to building your business. 

However, it's not just about driving sales but building brand awareness and acquiring new customers when it comes to these omnichannel brands.

These brands must ensure their digital campaigns are effectively reaching and engaging new customers while also building loyalty among existing ones.

Evaluating the impact of digital advertising on these types of brands is a complex and ever-evolving process. 

Shray, can you tell us a bit about the difference between retail-driven ads vs. running ads on, say, Facebook for an online product?

Retail-driven ads focus on promoting in-store purchases, while online ads are geared toward driving e-commerce sales.

It is important to note, though, that when it comes to top-of-the-funnel awareness, the ads that work well for online conversion will also work well for retail ads.

They both capture customer attention and drive them to learn more about the product you are selling or the problem you are solving.

But as you go further down the funnel, different experiences are required. For example, when you focus purely on DTC, your metrics are super clear as you go down the awareness funnel to win a purchase.

It makes it pretty straightforward to answer the age-old question: “What does it cost me to acquire a customer?”

As for retail, the metrics we should focus on more are ad engagement rates, CPCs, website session times, and view-through rates.

Capturing attention is far more important than straight sales wins.

Verify: Assessing the Impact of Digital Advertising on Omnichannel Brands

Shray, If the goal is consistently top-of-funnel-awareness, how do you even measure what is “working?”

That’s a great question.

When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of top-of-funnel-awareness campaigns, data and analytics are crucial.

Companies can identify the most impactful channels for reaching new customers and raising brand awareness by collecting data on customer behavior and media consumption. 

Here are a few ways to measure the effectiveness of top-of-funnel-awareness campaigns on retail sales: 

  • Use data and analytics from big data aggregators such as Nielson, IRI, and Numerator and analytic partners to understand how customers learn about new brands and what touchpoints are most memorable.

  • Conduct media tests in specific geographic areas, and analyze changes in store velocities to attribute changes in sales to specific advertising campaigns or channels.

  • Surveys can be sent to customers who have lapsed or not purchased in a certain period of time to understand how they first heard about the brand and track the customer's first touch point with the brand.

One of my favorite top-of-funnel-type landing pages we use includes a store locator, but notice that most of the content is focused on teaching you about the brand and product vs. just trying to send you to the store locator.

Check it out here (shoutout Hoox!): Landing Page

When you think about Omnichannel vs. strictly DTC, is it fair to say DTC is more of a direct-response “buy now,” whereas retail ads are more brand focused?

Yes. When thinking about Omnichannel vs. strictly DTC, it's fair to say that there are some key differences in the focus and approach of these two strategies.

DTC ads tend to be more direct-response oriented, focusing on driving somewhat immediate sales and conversions.

They are often heavily focused on getting customers to click through and purchase, and the calls to action in these ads are generally very clear and direct.

On the other hand, retail ads tend to be more brand-focused and aimed at building consumer awareness, interest, and desire.

These ads are not just about making a sale right now but also building a long-term relationship and customer loyalty with the brand.

Consumers may see an ad or email from a brand but may not remember it or act on it immediately.

It's only when they are in the store and sees the product that it triggers their memory they start to build more trust, and they decide to purchase.

Retail ads provide that extra push for the customer to make the purchase, supplementing the DTC ads; it's not just about making a sale right now but also building a long-term relationship and customer loyalty.

Most consumers go through a funnel where they see something cool, and then they see something cooler.

They then receive an email, and eventually, they see the product in the store and decide to try it.

Love it. How do you ensure you are growing incrementally when you move into retail, and not just cannibalizing what you are doing online?

Firstly, it is important to understand that every single channel expansion has some level of cannibalization.

Retail allows customers to choose the easiest and most convenient point of purchase, which can lead to a better brand experience.

Customers may find it less of a hassle to purchase your product in-store, thus leading to more frequent purchases and increased revenue, even if each purchase is less profitable. 

Moreover, moving into retail can help to unlock a new segment of customers who may be interested in trying your product but hesitant to spend a large sum online.

Retail stores provide a trial mechanism for these customers, which could increase the conversion rate as more customers have had a chance to interact with the product in person.

At Health-Ade, we came up with a formula to better understand the impact of paid ads on retail. 

When we were in areas with a high brand and category awareness, we generated a $3-$5 spill-off increase in our retail rate of sale for every dollar we spent on digital. 

In places with high category awareness but low brand awareness, we saw an additional $2-$3 return in-store on our digital dollars. 

In areas with low category and low brand awareness, we saw a $0-$2 return because we were really building that brand equity from the floor up. 

Retain: Understanding & Optimizing Customer Journeys and Improving Retention

Shray, is there an “ideal” customer journey? Are the brands you work with strategically trying to pull people from retail to online or vice versa?

Depends on the customer as well as the category. Most CPG products are bought in retail, so most of the trial will happen there.

For beverage brands, that’s way better of a customer funnel than trying to drive trial through DTC because it's expensive to ship 30 pounds of water across America.

However, suppose you're a supplement brand such as Kaged. In that case, it is super advantageous to be digitally native because consumers buy a bunch of supplements online, and it's not costly to ship powder.

I think it depends on the business and what’s best for their consumer and category, but if I was to have it my way, I’d:

  • Bring them in with digital

  • Drive trial through DTC

  • Then have them become a retail consumer

Digital gives you the best platform of building a connection with your consumer across paid, organic, email, sms, influencer, etc.

You end up knowing so much more about the brand through the DTC experience vs. just seeing it at retail and thinking, “cool packaging, let me try it”.

That customer would have to go online then and try to learn about the brand, which might be just from social, maybe visiting the website, etc., yielding a more fragmented experience than the more structured funnel you might get from the DTC experience.

Last Q: How do you think about customer retention on DTC vs. customer retention in retail?

For retention in a DTC business - you're still doing a lot of storytelling on the acquisition channels. Still, your goal at the end of the day is increasing customer lifetime value (LTV).

However, on the retail side, the goal of your emails and SMS is to get opens engagement, etc., make them smile, and give them some value, so really focus on the value add and engagement.

This helps keep customers excited and engaged with the brand, regardless of where they choose to purchase.

That's it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!

See you next week,

Eli 💛

P.S. For those still curious about the Emily in Paris question…

I asked the culture queen Ashley Kim what her thoughts were.

Her response: “YES”

For this week’s CX Chronicles, I’m joined by Lucy Samuel, a CX’er turned copywriter, currently doing fantastic work at Bouqs, an online flower retailer.

I wanted to chat with Lucy about how she went from CX to Copywriting and learn more about her story. 

1. Can you share your journey from CX to Copywriter?

I've always been a writer and was an aspiring TV comedy writer for a while, so I initially jumped into CX work to pay the bills. I like working directly with customers to find common ground and solve problems, and good, empathetic customer service is the difference between a good company and a great company. 

Because of my background as a writer, I was asked to rewrite the CX shortcut emails, and then when those proved effective, I was asked to write a few CX landing pages. From there, I kept getting writing assignments thrown my way until it made sense to promote me to Copywriter. Once I got my hands dirty with creative brand copywriting, like campaign messaging and ad copy, I couldn't get enough! 

2. What’s your fav Bouq's customer story?

It's been a few years since I worked in CX, but I really loved working with the customers at my old job, which was an LGBTQ+ apparel brand. People came to us because they weren't feeling represented by the fashion industry and needed garments that fit and explicitly functioned for their bodies. 

It was an absolute joy to teach them about our designs and help them find the perfect thing. Kindness and empathy are the most important tools in a good CX associate's toolbelt, and a good CX experience can be the highlight of someone's day/week/month.