Chapter 5: Measure Your Results


Measuring and analyzing the results of omni-channel is a whole different ball game than analyzing the results of more traditional marketing campaigns. Customers aren’t interacting with you on just one channel--and the channels where users convert aren’t necessarily the channel they started on--so you have to figure out how to holistically measure what’s pretty much a user ecosystem.

Good luck! Tell us how it goes, okay?

Just kidding. We’ve come too far to leave you hanging now.To start, don’t evaluate the results of your strategy based on how a single metric performs in a single channel.

“Well, mobile doesn’t convert, so there’s no point in investing resources there.” 

Conversion may not be the right metric for every channel. It’s tough not to get caught up in conversion numbers. But let’s think about mobile: the stats we mentioned in the very first chapter showed that users frequently use mobile in the research portion of their customer journey, and buy elsewhere. So the conversion metric doesn’t tell you much about the critical role mobile’s playing in the user journey as an influential tool.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each channel? As we mentioned above, what do users depend on each channel for? From there, you can identify the right metrics. The Washington Post app may prioritize session per month and time spent in app, for example.

Plus, in a news app, while subscription may be the obvious goal for media outlets, there’s other ways to measure actions that create value:  revenue is generated along the way through page views on the mobile and desktop site, and social shares are valuable promotion for the brand, too. Actions like social shares can be considered valuable events that take place along the user’s path to the ultimate goal, which could be becoming a long-term subscriber.

Ultimately, in an omni-channel world, it takes more than one touchpoint to build the kind of user relationship your business needs to grow.
New customers don’t become brand fanatics through one touchpoint. It takes time to build loyalty and increase customer health. Identify metrics that indicate users are engaging with your brand--email open rates, page views, repeat visits to your product pages--rather than focusing on conversion in every channel.

And Then Optimize.

Starbucks is a bonafide success story in the omni-channel space. But the brand’s finding their  runaway success does create new kinds of challenges. Despite reporting record revenue in the fourth quarter of 2016--$5.7 billion--Starbucks saw year over year same-store sales dip for the 5th quarter in a row

The reason? Starbucks says that the order-ahead via their app has become so popular that baristas are scrambling to fill those orders and serve walk-in customers quickly. Some of those customers leave rather than wait, leading to a dip in revenue.

The point isn’t that Starbucks saw a dip in in-store revenue; the point is that once they adjust and reduce any new points of friction, they’ll see the benefits from both omni-channel and traditional customers. 

A/B Testing 

Just like any marketing strategy, your omni-channel marketing is never done. Consistent A/B testing across channels will serve a major role in refining your strategy. Where do discounts and coupons get the most engagement--your app, via email, or both? How does geofencing in your app impact in-store purchases? Use what you discover to shape your next campaign.

What’s next? 

Omni-channel is set to fulfill its promise as the buzzword of the year. In retail, industry leaders like Amazon and Walmart are building out a  presence in as many channels as they can. Despite hastening the downfall of traditional brick-and-mortar chains like Barnes and Noble, Amazon is experimenting with stores in multiple major markets, with Amazon Books and drive-up grocery stores on the West Coast. But don’t think it’s a traditional store; mobile will play a major role in the customer’s experience in these stores, from using coupons to ordering groceries for pickup, and checking out via app.

Meanwhile, Walmart’s following a similar strategy, but starting from a more traditional focus on big box stores. Their acquisiton of Jet.com is a clear sign that Walmart will be heavily focused on the digital space this year.

Brands are even utilizing third party apps as part of their omni-channel marketing strategy. 570 million users log on to Chinese messaging app WeChat a day. Most of these users are in China, where brands have been utilizing them as a means of reaching those audiences for years (Buzzfeed started partnering with WeChat in 2014).  More and more, we’re seeing brands like Sephora, Kate Spade, and Buzzfeed experimenting with ways to engage users and serve up specialized content in Kik, Facebook Messenger, and more.

Sephora was one of the first brands to create a bot for Kik. 

It’s a little daunting, to be sure. And to be sure, omni-channel has been knocking around as a buzzword for years, without meeting marketing expectations. But as more and more users expect--demand, really--that brands create marketing that meets them in the spaces they’re using now. Individualize and streamline your experience as much as you can, and you’ll see results.