- By Jenny Cahill-Jones
With DX3 – Canada’s top immersive digital marketing and retail event – on our minds, we’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to be successful in today’s retail landscape. For Canadian brands bucking the downturn trend, recent successes can be attributed to just one word: Omnichannel. Or rather, four words: A Cohesive Omnichannel Strategy. These three born-and-bred Canadian brands are meeting customers at every touchpoint, leading to bigger sales and better brand loyalty. Why does omnichannel matter? A recent report by Business Insider found that customers who engage with brands in multiple places are likely to purchase from that brand more frequently, leading to a better bottom line.
David’s Tea – Driving Customers In-Store
Montreal-based David’s Tea is without doubt a brick-and-mortar company – they have over 200 stores across Canada and the United States – but their online presence is of equal importance to the brand. How do they achieve multi-channel success? By creating a community across the board.
The company has a rewards program (called the Frequent Steeper) that assigns equal points to in-store and online purchases, and a cross-channel strategy for getting customer info – users that complete their online profile are rewarded with a free cup of tea in-store. A range of promotions are offered online or to subscribers via email, but many can only be redeemed in-store, driving customers back to the physical retail experience, where they are likely to browse additional products. Finally, contests, promotions and the in-store “teas of the week” (teas brewed on-tap in-store for people to grab and go) are shared regularly across social channels, as a constant reminder to customers to drop into a store.
Lululemon – Building Brand Loyalty Through Events
Another Canadian brand achieving omnichannel success is Lululemon. With an almost cult following for its black yoga pants, the company has devotees around the world, but with the athleisure trend showing no signs of slowing down, Lulu can’t afford to lose its customers to other workout brands.
One smart way it maintains connections with its customers it through local instore fitness classes and large-scale events. The classes are held (or meet) at brick and mortar stores for optimal browsing ability, are free to attend and run by Lululemon ‘ambassadors’. Classes can range from beginner’s yoga to running clubs, spinning and more. In some locations, groups runs are followed by beers at a local pub, helping to build lasting connections between brand and customer. All classes can be browsed online in advance, connecting online and offline experiences, while event photos are shared on social channels with the dedicated hashtag #thesweatlife for added “in-crowd” bragging rights. For customers who don’t live near a brick and mortar store, Lululemon recently launched free online yoga classes, so you can now browse, buy and find your bliss at the same time.
Mountain Equipment Co-Op – live availability through the MEC app
Outdoor pursuits brand MEC is leading the way in Canada when in comes to live availability of products. The sleek app (currently only available to iPhone customers) allows customers to browse products, read detailed reviews – a key purchase step for male customers especially – then check the shelves of their closest store for stock availability. They’ll even provide directions if you’ve not visited the store before, which is very useful if you’re in a new city for work for example.
The app also works the other way around. You can use the barcode scanner in-store to reveal detailed product specs and reviews, making it easier to take those real-time decisions.
To purchase any product at the Mountain Equipment Co-Op you need to become a lifetime member for a one-off fee of $5 (the price has not changed since the company launched in 1971). As the company is structured as a co-op, every customer is a part owner of the brand, which creates an immediate community. Throughout the year, the community is kept engaged through gear swaps, free workshops and the #mecstaffer hashtag on social media, which shows off the sporting prowess of MEC team members.