By Sean Keith
In today’s highly competitive retail landscape, particularly in Canada, marketing “in the now” can boost much needed store visits and sales. The key to this approach is delivering timely, relevant and compelling marketing communications via mobile and social channels. The result? Real-time customer connections and digital engagement. Is your operation equipped for this? Do you know your customers well enough – or have the right customer data – to interact with them in a personalized way?
Sending the right offer at the right time and place is crucial, according to our recent study, called the Digital Imperative, which surveyed 4,000 consumers across the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Survey results showed that, for 44 percent of consumers, timeliness is important to whether they use a promotion, and 33 percent compared prices and availability of products through their mobile device while out shopping.
The study also showed that while consumers increasingly use digital channels to browse and research products, the majority (69 percent) still complete their purchases in a physical store. That’s great news for retailers. It also highlights the huge opportunity for retailers using mobile and social channels to enhance their customer’s ‘traditional’ physical shopping experience.
Use mobile and social to boost sales. If you’re a retailer, here are three ways to leverage mobile and social channels for marketing “in the now” that can help increase foot traffic and sales.
Avoid your stores becoming a digital “black hole”. Google recently noted a 150 percent jump in “near me” searches because consumers increasingly use “near me” searches not only to find a place, but to find what they need. Any retailer or its products could show up in a relevant “near me” search. However, once the consumer is inside the store, the retailer’s ability to connect with that shopper all but stops. Most retailers have patchy Wi-Fi or mobile data connections or don’t offer secure public wireless network access at all. This is the equivalent of the physical sales space being a digital “black hole”. Imagine if you could help your customer find the correct aisle or shelf for what he or she needs, using their mobile device? Or send them a timely discount or offer before they leave the store, so they actually stay a bit longer and spend more or make a return visit? With the right digital marketing management and delivery platform, you can.
Use DIAL as the basis for your marketing efforts. Almost all consumers surveyed (94 percent) in the Eagle Eye study said the relevance of an offer is important in their decision to use it. But how do you know what’s “relevant” to a particular customer? At Eagle Eye, we promote the DIAL approach (i.e. Data, leading to Insight, driving Action to promote Loyalty). Digital interactions via email, social media and mobile apps, among other delivery methods, can provide you with valuable customer data to draw meaningful insights about their preferences and behaviours. Tie this data to sales in-store and online and use the resulting insights to drive your marketing activities and offers (action), which can serve as the foundation for boosting not only sales, but customer loyalty too.
Gain a single customer view. Managing different channels and all the data they generate can be overwhelming. It’s important to bring all customer-related data sources together in one place to get a single customer view and cross-reference customer identities and preferences with sales and data from external sources, such as store location, time of day, etc. This is where a robust digital marketing solution can make all the difference in a retailer’s ability to fully understand customer’s preferences and behaviours and manage improved future interactions and outcomes.
Mobile and social channels offer abundant opportunities for brick-and-mortar retailers who are willing to add a digital layer to their marketing efforts, to support every phase of the shopping journey. Being able to personalize customer communications in real time using the right digital marketing platform enables retailers to DIAL up their customer acquisition and retention strategy and win with consumers in today’s digitally enabled and data-driven competitive environment.
Read more about the impact of creating digital connections on the customer shopping journey. Get a copy of our report, The Digital Imperative: Harnessing the Power of ‘Now’ with Performance-driven Marketing.
Sean Keith is the Director of New Business Development at Eagle Eye, a leading SaaS technology company that enables businesses to create real-time connections with their customers through digital and mobile promotion solutions. Recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper, Sean helps brands in the retail, food & beverage and hospitality industries implement digital transformation initiatives to better understand customer behaviors and drive revenue growth among Canadian businesses.