The retail space has dramatically evolved in recent years with the pace of innovation showing no signs of slowing. It is essential that we, as marketers, learn from these changes in landscape and feed these learnings into our strategic decisions.
Demand-side shifts are having a significant impact on how retailers are transforming the customer value proposition. Increasingly, customers are flexing the bargaining power they have over their favourite brands. Today’s customers have expectations from their favourite online retailers that consumers of 10 years ago would have considered to be an impossibility. Being ‘data-driven’ to understand and deliver a tailored experience to individuals continues to be the cornerstone of digital business. This article aims to cover the most important developments that will help digital businesses to thrive.
Understanding the user journey across all business touch-points continues to be the ‘holy grail’ for all in the marketing industry. A feat that is becoming ever more complex with the growing prevalence of voice search and the blurring of online and offline in the form of ‘smart shops’. ‘Smart shops’ represent a fully immersive shopping experience, offering consumers product recommendations based on browsing history, smart digital prices, or even smart mirrors that aids shoppers with on-site virtual shopping. Similarly, websites/apps are allowing users to upload digital versions of themselves to see what garments would look on them before purchasing a physical version. This illustrates a convergence of the offline and online worlds. We are going to start to see more services built into the retail proposition.
With data in hand, it is imperative to incorporate omnichannel touchpoints and have a robust understanding of the Data-Driven Attribution Model to assign conversion credit to marketing touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey.
It is clear that the line between reality and virtual reality is blurring and tools are popping up to make it possible for businesses to bridge this gap and understand a user’s complete conversion path. Google Beacon and its “proximity-marketing” technology is one such feature. Smart Beacon works with Bluetooth to alert retailers when customers are in their store’s radius. It is possible to track hourly footfalls to promote an offer, loyalty rewards or customer interest surrounding new product lines. This enables tailored content to be served to potential customers at the right time and the right place.
Another technology that is becoming more popular is cardless payment systems. Consumers are now able to complete purchases by scanning a smartphone app (such as Google Pay or Apple Pay) and pass through a gated turnstile. These payment systems coupled with the growing trend of shopping solely through mobile devices will remove friction from transactions. Banks without brick-and-mortar presence like Monzo, Revolute or N26, perpetuate development of this smartphone-banking and they are stablishing firm roots in the market.
Additionally, if the customer is at home, browsing the retail company’s website, they can enjoy personalized experiences by using chat-box where they can talk with a real-time assistant and receive assistance via text and chat. This chat-box simulates human conversation through artificial intelligence rather than having someone else behind the screen to deliver a customized service.
Ever-evolving tech means marketing channels must work hard to implement these advancements into strategy. Businesses who adopt new technologies and meet customer’s lofty expectations will be rewarded handsomely. To do so, the integration of data silos across the customer journey, covering a 360-degree view, is crucial to make well-informed decisions, allocate an efficiently personalized customer service and consequently, increase conversions.