With the demise of Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops, once again chatter moves to the death of the high street.
The mistake here is in continuing to see the emergence of digital as the demise of offline experiences, instead of recognising how high street brands can use digital to not only optimise all other marketing activities, but also drive footfall and optimise the in-store experience.
I feel strongly that this conversation is not about the death of one communications channel, and with that, the emergence another; it’s about how digital amplifies offline and makes everything else in your marketing spend work that bit harder!
We’ve pulled together six questions to stress test your integrated digital commerce strategy, addressing key emerging trends that are guaranteed to provide high-value return to any business.
1. Where does your brand’s digital presence and the in-store experience begin? Smart retailers are bringing together in-store, online and mobile to offer an enhanced, ‘connected’ shopping experience when and where the customer wants it.Understanding that 51% of shoppers will research online before visiting the store to purchase, emphasises the importance of this connection being made. Also, 32% of us will research online, visit store to view a product, before returning online to purchase – never under estimate how your online offering meets the in store experience, make them mutually support each other!
2. Are you getting personal enough? Real-time relevancy is not a new concept, however many retailers surprisingly aren’t making the most of the opportunity and maximising location-based services as a means of direct consumer engagement. 75% of mobile users are more likely to take an action after seeing a location-specific message and 53% of mobile users are willing to exchange their location in exchange for more relevant content, so tailored offers and customised content should be central to your communications strategy.
Is your business as good at sharing as it is at selling? 70% of consumers visit to get inspiration on what to buy, so cashing in on Polyvore-style user experiences will pay off in the year ahead! Consumers look for curated content to help them negotiate the maze of online opportunities to shop and identify the most relevant purchase to them, so make sure you’re everywhere, relevant.
Skills for sale – how networked is your business? As irritating as it sounds, time is money and skills have a financial value. The number of online services such as Uber , Exec, and MyBuilder -which sell knowledge and expertise in tranches of time – are set to grow fast in 2013. Exec has already raised $3.3m in investment. Realise the importance of clustering and co-marketing your promotions, products and services.
5. Are consumers in your driving seat? ‘Make-an-offer’ shopping will take consumer power to the next level. With sites such as Buystand set for full launch , shoppers will be able to state what they’re willing to pay for a product, rather than be told what their goods will cost – this is an interesting concept for commerce in 2013. Whether it matters to your business this year is up for you to decide.
6. Is big data, big business for you? How much do you know about your customers? As the connectivity between consumers and their devices continues to grow stronger, data sets owned by businesses are growing. Brands will increasingly use this information to understand their customers better and deliver a superior retail experience, augmented by social media data. According to a survey by Gartner, the demand for big data will generate 4.4 million jobs globally!
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