With a new year comes new or updated marketing tactics as retail marketers continue to follow the moving needle of boosting revenues and keeping customers loyal. Here’s what you need to focus on in 2018 to ensure you remain relevant to your audience.
- Take the Omni-Channel Approach to Reaching Your Customers
In the past, marketers have focused on one primary marketing channel (such as social media, advertising, or content marketing), essentially forsaking all others. But research shows that consumers now use multiple devices even in the decision-making phase of the buying lifecycle, and that means we now need to ensure that our messages are reaching them across channels and devices.
That means your ad campaigns need to include mobile ads. You need to be active in reaching customers via email, SMS, and social media. You need to know where exactly your customers are so that you can reach them with effective messaging on each channel.
- Find Ways to Incorporate Artificial Intelligence in Your Marketing
We’re on the precipice of really interesting ways to use AI in retail, particularly through mobile. Chatbots were the big thing in 2017. This year, look for things like visual search as examples of how brands are leveraging AI to provide more value (and therefore increase revenue), while chatbots will continue to deliver value as they suggest products to customers and cut down on customer service staffing costs.
- Update Your Loyalty Program
As consumers adopt more and more mobile-first tools and applications, your brand must stay aligned with their needs. One easy fix? Transition your legacy loyalty program to a mobile version.
When consumers can accrue and redeem loyalty points with the tap of their phones to a payment terminal, they’re more likely to participate in these programs. And for you, having access up to the minute on which offers customers are redeeming, as well as on customer behavior, gives you the unique ability to customize what you offer them.
- Leverage Location
The data is there for the asking: we now have the power to send messages to shoppers who are within proximity of our stores, yet this area of mobile marketing is still wide open for growth. When a shopper is running errands and receives a push notification with an offer for your store (which she’s just blocks away from), she’s likely to add your store to her list of places to visit.
But you can (and should) get even more granular: using beacons, you can personalize offers when the shopper is actually in your store, directing her to a specific display or sale.
- Tie Email to Mobile
Given that 34% of email subscribers only read their emails on a mobile device, it’s in your best interest to make sure that the emails you send are mobile-friendly. But beyond the emails simply being easy to read or easy to click links on a phone, you can also use email to get subscribers using other mobile features.
For example: you can send an email to get subscribers to enroll in your digital loyalty program, providing a custom link that will automatically add a profile to their mobile wallet. Or you can send offers they can redeem in-store or add to their wallets. Email and mobile work seamlessly together, if you take the time to link them in a way that’s useful to your audience.
While the specific mobile marketing tactics that will take retail by storm this year will probably be slightly different by year end, one thing will remain consistent: the better value you can provide consumers, and the easier you make it for them to shop with you, the more loyal they’ll be to your brand.