Marketing Strategy

14 Ways To Shift Your Marketing Strategy In The World Of Online Retail – Forbes

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Brick-and-mortar has slowly declined over the years, with more retailers moving to digital spaces. These changes require new marketing strategies to target consumers and adapt to their online and mobile shopping habits.

Business owners, especially those who still run a brick-and-mortar store in an online retail world, often feel confused and overwhelmed when trying to tailor their marketing to a digital audience. To help you adapt, a panel of Forbes Communications Council members shared ways to start appealing to your audience’s changing needs. Follow their tips to continue reaching and engaging your target buyers, no matter where they’re shopping.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Make It Easy For Customers To Reach You Online

As the retail experience moves online, distance is created with a customer. It’s hard to keep the human element, so marketing becomes the customer experience, especially when it comes to customer service. Remove the barrier of the interface (web or app) and make it easy for customers to connect with you. Text, chat, augmented reality, email, call—know how your customers want to engage and help them do so. – Joann Ollila, MD² International

2. Dominate Local Search Results 

As retail transforms, retailers have to leverage local search (both paid and organic) to connect physical stores to their digital presence and drive traffic to both on and offline destinations. The increase of mobile phone usage has created a surge in local searches with high intent to visits or find more information to places “near me.” Retailers who dominate this space will thrive. – Lavall Chichester, JumpCrew

3. Embrace Digital Transformation

Digital transformation from physical to online shopping has transformed marketing into a new challenge. We have to be willing to embrace what we don’t know and always remain curious. We are drowning in data, but how do we make data actionable? Marketing now works across a variety of functions like IT, analytics, digital and sales, and we have to collaborate in order to be effective. – Jacqueline Nuwame, EARIN

4. Orchestrate All Channels

Try generating an all-encompassing customer experience that includes all points of sale and communication channels. Customers are looking for value from their relationship with brands and they’re interacting with their favorite ones, not through transactions. That’s why all channels must be orchestrated. For example, send an email or notification invite to a workshop at the nearest store. – Pini Yakuel, Optimove

5. Prioritize Digital Media Tools To Reach Customers

We now live in a world of mass digitization. Marketers must shift their focus from traditional channels to digital media tools, whether it’s streaming videos, social media platforms, podcasts, immersive online experiences, virtual or augmented reality, collaboration tools and more. Bottom line, leverage today’s technology advances. – Alex Goryachev, Cisco

6. Craft A Digital User Experience 

Today’s customer has a new experience when it comes to shopping, and your marketing should be a reflection of that. Online stores need to create a digital and social media strategy that looks at this journey, and addresses the pain points of your customers, keeping them engaged and providing value while guiding them to continue to shop at your store. – Christina Hager, Overflow

7. Don’t Forget About The In-Store Experience Too

In the past, brick-and-mortar chief marketing officers (CMOs) were only responsible for getting foot traffic into a store. The store experience was not their worry—but now it’s clear that customers’ in-store experience significantly impacts their spend. Every CMO needs to make sure the store experience reflects the brand in every way. – Seema Kumar, servicechannel.com

8. Personalize Your Messages At Scale

Today’s consumers are very distracted, and their purchase paths are unpredictable. They see a product on your website and ask Facebook friends for recommendations. Then, they surf websites or flip through YouTube videos for product reviews. New generation marketers should build their strategy around data, automation and omnichannel marketing—the three keys to personalizing messages and offers at a global scale. – Anna Luo, Jivox

9. Build Relationships, Not Transactions

The absolute best thing you can do for your brand is to move away from incentivizing transactions to building a one-to-one relationship—personalize your engagement to the individual, and reward them in something that matters to them, that grows with them over time. Create value for your customer, not a fleeting, one-off moment. – Amy Dunn, Bumped

10. Provide The Info And Experience Customers Are Looking For

Moving from in-store to more online has both its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, in-store you have the shopper’s attention and they are more likely to purchase on the spot. However, online gives you more opportunity to provide more product information, videos, inspiring and aspirational photography. Combine that with a focus on getting great reviews on what shoppers are looking for. – Andrew Stephenson, NewAir Compact Appliances

11. Measure, Adjust And Iterate

It’s a running joke that marketing strategies often don’t change because “that’s how it’s always been done.” Avoid complacency; it’s the beginning of the end. At regular intervals, analyze all initiatives in a marketing strategy, from email open rates to Pinterest re-pins to revenue per order of a direct mail campaign. If an initiative isn’t working based on the metrics, be unafraid to change it. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio

12. Identify Your Audience And Where They Are Online 

Shoppers online have endless options within minutes. First, decide what you want to sell online and to who. Do you appear first in relevant searches? Can your customers easily find you? Beyond your online presence, also consider all of the other components of online retailing, such as payment transactions. Showing up, being convenient to use and providing quality service will always be a must. – Rachel Verslues, International Gaming Technology (IGT)

13. Track Attribution For Offline Behaviors 

All too often, marketers fail at measuring offline impact on online sales, like using subpar attribution models like “last click.” Marketers need to focus on using the entire customer journey within their attribution models. Bringing together offline data (like location) with online search and purchase data might uncover how traditional stores are evolving and why they still matter to consumers. – Megan Murray, Equifax Data-driven Marketing

14. Create A Consistent Online And Offline Experience 

Don’t discount the power of brick-and-mortar. Ensure it lends itself to a consistent cross-channel experience by pulling online into the store. Post online reviews next to a best-selling item to boost sales. Offer the means for customers to look up out-of-stock items before leaving your store. Physical stores provide a place for consumers to live your brand, so their importance remains. – Marija Zivanovic-Smith, NCR Corporation

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