Retail remains being a challenging sector with the ongoing restructuring, store closures, decreasing margins plus the Coronavirus downturn. In 2019, coupled with Brexit uncertainty, retail in the UK experienced the slowest growth rate of spending since 2010. On the other side, digital gains more importance with growing online sales. Digital sales account for 21% on average and are expected to keep on rising in the following decade (Retail Trends 2020, Deloitte). While there is a definite shift towards digital with the combined effect of the pandemic, furious online competition makes the necessity of a solid digital marketing strategy mother lode.
Big Data and Creation of New Personas
As its name suggests, Big Data is composed of an immense number of inputs that reveal new characteristics of the users that haven’t been considered earlier. The use of big data in digital marketing will allow businesses to learn more about their audience. AI helps to understand hobbies, places they visit, other brands they follow, price flexibilities, and many more about daily habits. Understanding the customers deeper, thanks to data, gives an opportunity to check the current personas of the business and also to design specific personas to target with individual campaigns. Businesses will know their audience by heart and can create a particular marketing tactic for each.
The emergence of Social Shopping with Social Media
Social Media channels widen the product visibility for the businesses, increase the traffic, and enhance customer experience by delivering a smooth check out process. Businesses can reach different personas by going to diversification in social media channels. Platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest have become pioneers of social shopping. There are new social media channels such as TikTok and Twitch, focusing on videos and live streaming, that experienced fast growth by Millennials and Generation Z, e.g. 66% of TikTok users are under the age of 30 and 55% of Twitch users are aged between 18-34 (Moondust Agency). Facebook remains as an important channel for retailers despite a fall in young generation usage. The Edison Research’s Infinite Dials study over 1,500 people in US shows, the Facebook users went down from 79% in 2017 to 62% in 2019 for the 12-34 years old group.
Embed the Purpose of the Business in Content
Dostoyevsky says, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” This is just not only applicable to people but also for businesses. The trend shows people care about the company values and willing to be part of the cause. Customers are eager to have an emotional dialog rather than just a monetary relationship. Businesses need to define what they stand for and convey their values through the content they build. Having a digital marketing strategy around a single cause will help the business to position and have more meaning in the hearts of customers while building a loyal base.
Moving Forward: Augmented Reality in Web Development
Augmented Reality (AR) is an upcoming technology in 2020 that combines both real and virtual imagery. AR has seen some early adoption in retail and its rapid expansion is expected in the near future. IKEA, the global furniture brand, started using AR to help customers to understand how the products fit without a need to go to the physical store. Customers can simply use their phone cameras to choose where the furniture needed to replace and can virtually see how it will fit in their room. Other examples are from fashion and beauty retailers such as GAP, Converse and L’Oréal. AR allows customers to engage more with the brand than ever and enable impulsive decisions at the end. In fact, according to the research of Retail Perceptions over 1,062 people in US (2016) found that, AR use increases the willingness to pay by 40%. AR also benefits businesses to deliver exceptional customer experience and beat the competition.
Personalised Predictive Marketing through AI for Unique Customer Experience
The world is evolving differently; technology allows businesses to understand and offer products before individuals can name it. Spotify, the music streaming app, knows your music taste better than you and offers songs that you will enjoy listening to. A similar method applies to the retail industry and has a broader opportunity to increase ROI. Businesses can suggest products by understanding the style and preferences of the customers through the data gathered and predicted by AI to offer to increase the chance of conversion the engagement to sales. Predictive data will keep customers on the website longer, causing higher traffic and data to be analysed, hence better predictions to be made on individual bases. Using digital marketing strategy on individual bases, such as customised emails and offers, will leverage the connection and build a prolonged relationship.
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