Retail and ecommerce companies are at a crossroads. Many storefront retailers are realizing their growth limitations as locations shut their doors. Companies that once saw omnichannel retailing as a “nice to have” marketing strategy now realize its critical importance to survival.
Every year, I look forward to the Retail Dive Awards. This year, Corinne Ruff put together some great categories that sparked a lot of water cooler talk among the Pluris team. While all the categories are discussion-worthy (you can see them here), a few really stood out.
While Candy Crush has gone the way of MySpace and the Pokemon Go craze has tapered off, gaming still has a stronghold in our culture. And there are a lot of parallels between gaming and retail, both in technology use and the attention to the customer experience. Just as there are different gamers who need to be engaged in different ways, there are consumers who have different needs and expectations.
Marketers who think they have mastered data-driven approaches are all aflutter about the next step in customer interaction: prescriptive messaging. It’s not enough to communicate at the right time, right place, etcetera – now we have to tell customers what they want before they know they want it!
But what happens when those messages, meant to be full of convenience and usefulness, come across as bothersome or egregiously incorrect? Is anticipatory messaging worth the risk of annoying or insulting your customers?
The changing seasons have many of us shifting – our wardrobe, our activities, our focus. The kids are back in school; we’re rounding third toward the end of the year and the colder weather forces us indoors to face the inevitable seasonal closet cleaning. While many of us agree that decluttering feels pretty rewarding, some are taking it to a whole new level.
In the age of ride shares and tiny houses, consumer behavior is changing. And as the upcoming generation is thinking mortgage/marriage/family a little later in life, this leaves a tremendous amount of space to fill. With what? Not things. Experiences.
I like a good deal as much as the next guy, but stopping into a big box discount retailer the other day had me thinking about the dilution of the customer experience. Walking into a cluttered shopping experience where the in-store offer doesn’t match what I found online (or on their mobile site, because I’m definitely consulting that while I’m in the store) is an all-too-common occurrence in retail – and using discounts to defend a poor customer experience just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Marketers are spending a ton of time looking at data and its digital ecosystem to better understand their customers. Mobile – and SMS, as an extension – are huge priorities, challenging marketers to think strategically about communications, push notifications and threading consistent offers throughout.
So what can be said of retail when it comes to the good old-fashioned brick and mortar?