How can you easily differentiate yourself from the competition and grow your customer base? One of the best ways to achieve these goals is using modern-day technological advancements with a multichannel distribution system.
In this article, we will show you how you can implement PassKit in your multichannel strategy to connect with your customers and promote your products or services on their preferred online or offline channels.
PassKit is a digital loyalty solution for Apple Wallet and Google Pay. PassKit helps you design digital passes and distribute them to your customers, allowing them to earn points and collect rewards using built-in mobile wallets. You can sign up for a 45-day free trial and test all available features.
But what is multi-channel distribution, and how can it help your business growth? Let’s explain the concept.
What is multichannel distribution system?
Image source: eswap.global
Multichannel distribution includes setting up more than one channel to market your products or services. For example, you may decide to have a brick-and-mortar store and sell your goods through online marketplaces like Amazon, your e-commerce website, and Instagram.
Each new channel leads to expanding your market coverage and increasing sales. Setting up a multi-channel distribution system allows you to adjust products and services to meet customers’ unique needs and provide excellent customer service.
How does multichannel distribution system work?
Many companies start with a single-channel distribution system. It can be either their own website or a physical store. Either way, supply chain management is easy since there’s only one channel to manage and market to customers.
The challenges arise when the company starts to grow. Using only one channel may limit growth and inhibit competitiveness. To avoid this situation, most businesses adopt a multi channel strategy to increase their customer base over time.
Companies provide more purchasing options in new sales channels to increase customer reach. For example, a grocery store may offer home delivery of fresh products to customers who don’t want to wait in lines after a long workday. This way, the store meets the customer’s needs and provides them with another channel to get healthy, fresh products.
But what should brands remember if they want to deliver a seamless buying experience across multiple sales channels?
Key elements of a successful multi-channel distribution strategy
Image source: tradegecko.com
1. Ideal customer profile
How to deliver the company’s message effectively? Which points of contact should you focus on? What do your potential clients expect? You will know the answer to these questions if you define at least one customer profile for your brand.
It means you should know who your buyers are, their purchasing behavior, how they benefit from your products, and what drives them to buy. Then you should incorporate this knowledge into the profile of your ideal customer.
2. Customer-centric content
These days, pushing content to customers doesn’t produce any results. Instead, you should attract the customers by sharing the most helpful content aligned with their needs. That’s because customers mindfully use the internet when purchasing items. They pick the information that brings the most value and helps them make the purchasing decision easier.
3. Communication aligned across channels
Regardless of your channels, you should align every marketing message you send to your customers with previous announcements. It creates consistency in promoting your products or services.
4. Responsive design
It’s a no-brainer. Today, users receive marketing content on all sorts of devices, so responsive design has become necessary. Adapt your content to various screen resolutions and touch screens to avoid unhappy customers.
While all of the above reflects the modern-day marketing communication strategies, the question is, why should you bother with creating multichannel distribution systems? Let’s take a look at the most important advantages of this approach.
The benefits of multichannel distribution
A multichannel distribution system allows you to make your products or services more accessible and experience several benefits, such as:
1. Improved customer perception
Customers value a seamless buying experience and are more likely to remain loyal to brands that can provide it. They appreciate brands that are attentive to customers’ needs, and multichannel distribution is one of the ways of responding to these demands. Instead of lowering the price of your products or services, you can differentiate your brand by increasing convenience.
2. It helps you reach a broader customer base
Selling your products across multiple channels increases your chances of reaching a wider audience. For example, you are more likely to reach new demographics by using channels such as social media.
3. It helps you reduce risks
A supply chain breakdown or major account suspension are scenarios that all merchants need to consider. If you rely on a single sales channel, you risk a revenue loss in such cases. Setting up multiple channels will help you protect your business by always having an alternative.
4. It increases product or services availability
Brick and mortar stores have limited working hours. By increasing your efforts across multiple channels, you give customers constant access to your brand and provide them with opportunities to purchase your products or services any time they like.
5. It helps tracking revenue
Selling on multiple platforms and broader exposure leads to a revenue increase. A multichannel distribution strategy will help you serve your existing and new customers better, increasing sales in the process.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, multichannel selling also has some drawbacks that you should consider.
The challenges of multichannel distribution
Image source: smartinsights.com
By selling cross-channel, you want to provide a seamless customer experience. However, the process might not be easy. Here’s what you can encounter:
1. Higher complexity
The more channels you are selling on, the more work you have regarding invoicing order fulfillment, inventory updates, customer service, distribution efficiency, additional shipping costs, supplier partners, and overall operational costs.
You will need to invest more time and effort to provide a positive customer experience and avoid issues like slow completion of orders or incapability to meet seasonal demand. Supply chain automation enables you to overcome these issues.
2. Hard to coordinate
If you provide cross-channel services, you need to coordinate all the data across all channels and ensure the information flows efficiently. To avoid inconsistent data entry, you need to create a unified database. It is the only way to provide the best customer experience, no matter what distribution channel the customer chooses.
3. Potential for channel conflict
There’s always a higher risk of conflict when you set up multiple sales channels. For instance, if the same product is available in your online store and your physical store at a different price, the two channels compete for the same customer. To avoid this situation, unify your offer on all marketing channels.
Though you need to overcome some obstacles to build a multiple-channel distribution system, it’s still worth the effort. Why?
The answer is simple: to remain competitive and meet the customers’ needs and expectations.
Why customers love shopping on multiple channels
Diverse marketing channels empower customers with more information, which helps them make purchasing decisions faster. They also have more freedom. They are no longer constrained by the opening hours of a brick-and-mortar store and can shop any time, on any device, and on any channel they choose.
Customers like the flexibility that multichannel distribution provides them. Some customers prefer to browse products in-store and buy them online. Some are more likely to search for products on their phone first and then buy them in the store.
Customers want to feel confident about purchasing products or using services, so they read online guides and reviews to know the benefits. Their enthusiasm is higher because they are familiar with the product before seeing it in the store. Trust is important because it may encourage them to buy more or select a more expensive product during shopping, increasing your profit.
By promoting your products or services on multiple marketing channels, you create a connected customer experience. Since shopping doesn’t feel like a chore anymore, customers are encouraged to buy more products.
And even if you run a hotel, nail salon, or gym and don’t sell any physical products, you can still use multi-channel distribution to increase customer reach and achieve your revenue and expansion goals. How?
By using innovative solutions such as PassKit to promote your loyalty program.
Multichannel distribution for loyalty programs
Customers prefer some channels to others. Suppose you decide to apply a multi-channel distribution system to your loyalty program. In that case, you increase your chances of engaging with your customers on the channels they find the most attractive. Here are some benefits to consider.
1. Wider reach
Unlike traditional loyalty programs that provide rewards weeks after earning them, digital loyalty programs provide real-time rewards, special offers, or discounts. Such loyalty programs increase both online and offline sales activity. They also appeal to people who wouldn’t join traditional loyalty programs.
For instance, integrating social media as a channel into your loyalty program can bring you immense benefits. Peers influence each other through social media, and about 20% of internet users worldwide would buy from a brand that their friend follows. Especially younger customers are more prone to buy when they see a “like” on the brand’s fan page.
2. More opportunities for customers to earn points
With multi-channel distribution, the efficiency of your loyalty program increases. You can use multiple touchpoints to engage your customers and reward them for referring a friend, interacting with your company on social media, or at check-ins of your brick-and-mortar store.
3. Access to valuable information
You get complete access to first-party data when you make your loyalty program available on different channels. For instance, you can award your customers for adding personal information to their accounts. It gives you access to data such as geolocation, demographics, interests, and behaviors. It empowers you to create a personalized customer experience because you will learn more about each of your customers.
Using multiple channels to connect with your customers increases your chances of winning their loyalty. And while creating a multichannel distribution system for your loyalty program might seem like a daunting task, we have a surprisingly simple and effective solution: join PassKit, a digital loyalty solution with a built-in multichannel distribution system.
How to set up a multi-channel distribution system with PassKit
PassKit allows you to create, promote and distribute your digital loyalty cards, digital membership cards, or digital coupons on multiple channels. Let’s explore each of them.
1. NFC Payment terminal
Do you have NFC payment terminals that support the Apple VAS or Google SmartTap protocol? If yes, you can automatically set PassKit to push an enrolment request on your customers’ phones. Apple Wallet and Google Pay users who haven’t installed the digital loyalty card yet will receive a request to install an existing card or enroll as a new member of your digital loyalty program.
2. SMS marketing
SMS marketing is an effective way to send your loyalty cards since you know the customers will receive them on their smartphones. All you have to do is paste the URL of your digital pass into a text message. Your customers will be able to install the card and activate your offer with a single tap.
What to remember when using SMS marketing to promote your passes? Your customers must first permit you to send them texts. Avoid sending messages that look like spam. Instead, make sure that the message includes enough value and personalization for the customer to appreciate it. Explain that tapping on the URL helps them save your digital pass to their mobile wallet.
3. Social media referrals
Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels are places where people are already familiar with your business. Promoting your content there is easy and is almost bound to bring positive outcomes. It is a very effective and cost-efficient method to increase your brand visibility and recognition. Social media promotions distribute your content in a breeze, driving traffic to your website.
When sharing through social media, add an attractive image depicting the pass or referring to the offer. Let your customers know all the benefits of using your digital coupon – they need an incentive to download it. Apart from the QR code users can scan, include a download link to ensure that both mobile and desktop users can swiftly add your pass to their mobile wallets.
4. Receipt marketing
Not many people think of receipts as a place to advertise their offers. But it’s an excellent method to get through with your message to your customers. By including the QR code on the receipts, you entice the customer to join your loyalty program and revisit your store.
Your staff also plays an important role here. The cashiers should draw the shoppers’ attention to the offer on the receipt and invite customers to scan the code and add your pass to their mobile wallets. Ensure that the offer is clear and concise and include a short URL on the receipt.
5. Email marketing
Email marketing gives you a lot of flexibility. It is a great way to adjust your marketing message to various audience segments and increase the download rate of your digital passes.
PassKit makes email promotions of your loyalty programs effortless. If you already have a list of customers, you can upload their emails to PassKit. They will receive an email with a personalized digital loyalty card attached.
6. In-app advertising
How to promote your digital loyalty card in your app? Here is all you have to do: choose a good area of your app to place the Add to Wallet or Save to Phone button. After tapping the button, the pass will automatically load into the customer’s preferred digital wallet (Apple Wallet or Google Pay).
When promoting loyalty cards through mobile apps, use the deep linking ability. A deep link is a hyperlink that will drive visitors straight to the loyalty program page instead of linking to your company’s home page.
Also, remember to personalize the information by using the customer data you already have.
7. Company website
This method is almost effortless. To promote and distribute a pass on your company website, you should link to your loyalty program. Put the Add to Wallet and Save to phone button to make it more visually appealing.
If you decide to promote your loyalty program on your website, make sure the offer is prominent. Don’t forget to share all the benefits of downloading your digital passes.
8. Search marketing
Use the power of search engines to promote your loyalty program in the search results. The best idea is to combine SEO efforts with paid search marketing. To rank in the search engines, include relevant keywords in your content and ensure it brings value to your customers. Don’t forget to include the download link or the landing page link so the customers can effortlessly join your loyalty program. This method can bring you immediate results.
9. Custom targeting on Facebook and Google
You can also promote your loyalty program by creating ads on Facebook and Google. The advantage of this approach is that custom targeting allows you to reach specific customers based on their previous behavior. The system will serve them an ad with a link to your digital loyalty program landing page where they can learn about all the benefits and seamlessly join the program.
10. Promotion with visual merchandising
Though most of the marketing mentioned above happens online, you shouldn’t forget that your physical location also gives you great opportunities to promote your loyalty program. The most convenient way to do this is by using a printed QR code on your promotional material with a link to the page where visitors can join the loyalty program. You can even add the QR code on your product to enable customers to join the loyalty program even when they leave the store.
When using in-store advertising, make sure to exhibit QR codes in places with a lot of traffic, like cash desks. Make sure to add an URL for those that don’t have a QR code scanner. It’s a good idea to use a URL shortening service so customers can quickly type the address in their browser.
11. Near-store visual merchandising
What’s more, apart from placing the printed QR codes in your store, you can also set them in the proximity of your store. It will attract people who are not your customers to visit your store and learn more about your loyalty program and its benefits. Let them know about the possibility of earning rewards, getting discounts, and using special offers if they join your program.
How to promote your loyalty program near your physical store? It’s a good idea to use posters, floor graphics, window vinyl, or other forms of pop marketing and print the QR code there to inform passers-by about the offer.
Why choose PassKit?
Setting up a multichannel distribution system is not an easy task. It’s hard to manage all the channels effectively, which leads to higher costs.
But here’s the good news: if you start using PassKit, it will help you begin with multichannel distribution a lot faster and at lower costs. It will help you to connect with your existing and reach new customers on multiple marketing channels like email, social media, in-app, on your company website, or in-store.
It will help you provide a connected customer experience to increase customer loyalty or enrich your customer base. You won’t have to hire new people, develop complicated technological solutions, or create your own app to manage your multichannel distribution system.
All you have to do is pay a small monthly fee, and such investment will surely help you increase customer satisfaction and win the loyalty of your customers.
Multichannel distribution: Final words
In the digital era, you cannot allow your company to stay behind and miss the opportunity to connect with your customers on multiple channels. To remain competitive, you need to meet customers’ needs and expectations and provide them with a connected customer experience. By doing this, you will improve the perception of your brand, reach a broader customer base and increase revenue.
Joining PassKit allows you to create, promote and distribute your digital loyalty program on multiple channels. You don’t have to introduce new concepts or apps to your customers. You can use the popularity of Apple Wallet and Google Pay – services they already know and trust – to provide them with a loyalty program and reward them for their online and offline interactions with your brand.
Not sure if this will work for you? No worries. We give you a 45-day free trial to test the possibilities of PassKit and see how it can improve your business and relationships with your customers. Start by creating your account today.