Gary Satterfield and I go way back. We met while I was working on a marketing research project for Gary twenty years ago at a utility. And he’s since gone on to become an expert in the retail energy space and was kind enough to sit down with me and my team to talk shop. The topic of deregulation, removing restrictions in a particular industry, ran a thread through much of our conversation. This has implications for consumers – and therefore, marketers.
It’s always shocking to find that a major retail brand doesn’t have a mobile app. Meanwhile, it’s equally stunning when a small business has built a killer mobile experience for its customers.
But when you understand the role omnichannel plays for retail and other major industries, the shortcomings of the big-box retailer are much more confounding than the smaller company’s assertiveness in building a better mobile presence.
We used to live in a world where if you wanted something the same day, you’d go to the store to get it. With same-day delivery, fast shipping, and things like drone delivery on the horizon, the days of having to leave your house to pick up something are numbered. But while logistics teams are busy developing ways to meet these demands, marketers still have some fundamental problems to solve at the top of the funnel.
Coming off of the holiday season, retailers have an opportunity to look back at what worked – and what didn’t – and refine their plans for the new year. And while the holiday retail spike can provide a lot of insight, it’s important to look at the broader view to understand the entire year. Our CEO Michael Caccavale and I took a look at eMarketer’s consumer behavior roundup and discussed some fundamental considerations that marketers simply cannot overlook any time of the year.
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.