Here are seven ideas that may help synergize marketing initiatives to boost sales and margins in 2017.
1. Keep Things Mobile.
No doubt you may be somewhat tired of the hype around the increasing role smart devices play as part of the consumer ecommerce experience but this doesn’t make it any less relevant. 2016 saw mobile visits to retailer websites overtake desktop visits for the first time with m-commerce delivering over 36% of ecommerce revenue in the UK, increasing to 40% for clothing retailers.
Consumers have shown and continue to show increased confidence and appetite for digital engagement with their favourite brands and retailers through their mobile device, creating new opportunities for more personalised engagement and transaction occasions for brands and retailers.
2. Increase Delivery Speed.
Same day delivery is currently a service offered by fast moving forward thinking retailers in 2016 but 2017 could see this becoming the norm with forward thinking retailers breaking new boundaries with consistent delivery within the hour or within a few hours of their online order being placed.
The trend for localised drop off/ pick up points will continue to increase as retailers battle to maximise consumer spend and loyalty by providing speed and ease as a strategy for increasing their competitive advantage.
The increasing number of consumers happy to pay more for same day delivery has created a new ecosystem for services such as UberRush and Postmates while retailers such as Amazon developing local partnerships to satisfy customer demand.
3. Embrace Mobile Payments.
Although it’s not as mainstream as predicted, mobile payments will continue to grow in popularity as consumers strive for convenience and speed as part of their everyday living and shopping experience.
2015 saw the highly-anticipated launch of Apple Pay followed by the 2016 launch of Google Android Pay which is said to capitalise on increased consumer uptake and acceptance of contactless payments.
Services like Amazon Prime will continue to fuel millennial adoption of mobile payments which will act as a catalyst for increased use of mobile payments by this consumer segment beyond on-demand services where they can order, monitor and manage receipt of their order straight from their mobile device.
4. Price Matters.
There are no shortages of retailers offering great customer experience through their various online and offline channels but the fact that customer perception of overall value is still driven by price remains true.
Price monitoring provides intelligent retailers with data on competitor pricing strategies that may by the difference between optimising sales volumes and increased margins or missing critical time sensitive opportunities to maximise sales opportunities.
Key to retail success in 2017 is engaging competitor price monitoring or price tracking software that is easily and quickly customised to provide any retail business. The availability of actionable insights around competitor price, promotion and stock availability for effective decision making to increase sales will prove crucial to success for retailers in 2017.
5. Maximise the Omnichannel.
Retailers that enjoy both brick and mortar as well as a digital presence must increase efforts to offer their customers a more consistent and interactive experience, merging in-store, mobile and online interaction with their customers.
Start by gaining a deep understanding of your competitive landscape, see how the competition are winning or losing at this ambitious undertaking and then devise a strategy around your customers based on strong insights and understanding of their needs and wants, especially when it comes to how consumers want to engage with your brand.
Showrooming, a growing practice among customers where they visit a store to see their item in person and then purchase it online, can make retailers feel that they're losing out on sales but an integrated, personalised approach can still be part of the overall strategy to boost sales.
6. Personalise Everything.
The phrase “offering a personalised retail experience” is often thrown around but retailers must apply a new depth of customer understand to win big in 2017. With several opportunities to engage customers, retailers must figure out how they deliver a consistently personalised customer experience across multiple channels.
A good starting point for ambitious retailers would be to see how well they know their customers highlighting the need for a data driven approach to winning the retail game in 2017. This includes static data around customer demographics and preferences to real-time data on their previous and current behaviours.
Yes, retailers want to sell and consumers actually expect to be sold to but with the level of competition from other retailers offering the same products or services especially with the growth of price comparison services, consumers are also driven by relevance, convenience and speed which can be achieved through effective execution of personalised, omni-channel strategies.
7. The Social Sell.
The phenomenal impact of social media on consumer decision making is something that cannot be understated and although social selling is still in its infancy, intelligent retailers who can leverage this opportunity to meet consumers at the precise time of their want or need could see them really win big in 2017.
With billions of daily users influenced and forming their purchasing opinions on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular social networks, retailers can maximise various consumer interaction, brand communication and customised advert opportunities these platforms provide.
The rise of influencer marketing creates a real opportunity for retailers to talk with as opposed to talking to consumers, developing a more natural interaction by adopting a “real” approach creating and nurturing leads and sales opportunities through social media.