The marketing landscape is evolving rapidly; marketers must prioritize to stay ahead. The modern CMO’s have a broad area of responsibility, including acquisition, retention, loyalty, and driving actionable insights from analytics. These data-driven CMOs are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to engage their customers. Here is a look at the emerging trends that will shape up retail experience in 2017.
1. Make user-generated content your most powerful marketing tool
Millennials love user-generated content. 82% of shoppers say that user-generated content is extremely important when deciding on purchases.
In the age of social commerce, user-generated content is the key to humanizing your brand. People like to hear from real people before making a purchase. Your customers can be at any stage of their customer lifecycle, a new visitor or a loyal customer; user generated content plays a crucial role in engaging your customers seeking validation before making a purchase.
No matter how good your storytelling is people will still look for outside validation before spending money. Which is why e-commerce companies have expanded their realms beyond the rating system to running campaigns that put their customers in the limelight to earn trust & authenticity.
E-commerce companies like Black Milk Clothing, Burberry, Forever 21, and Sephora have integrated UGC as a part of their marketing strategies. These brands have empowered their customers to create content to build trust, drive engagement and influence others to become a part of their vibrant communities.
Besides, this user-generated content is the real treasure trove of behavioral & intent data to drive future campaigns.
2. Offer real value
Offering value doesn’t always means doling out discounts and free gifts. Value-driven marketing has to be an ongoing proposition. Besides providing excellent customer service, create content that can add value for your customer; from the time he first visited your site to sending valuable content once he has made the purchase. The key is to make your messaging highly relevant & engaging with personalized offers and recommendations at the right time. Delivering value should be an inherent part of your marketing strategy so that you don’t lose sight of your customers to boost your sales.
Successful e-commerce marketers around the world are using their messaging to increase the value they can offer thus resulting into increased conversion and customer retention.
3. Data-led personalization
Marketers who put data at the heart of efforts outperform counterparts. Via Forbes
Use customer data to segment & send highly relevant emails and offers based on their behavior. Data should be at the heart of every campaign you run and only then you can tweak and optimize your messages for relevancy. In this multichannel world, only data can help you deeply understand your customer while also providing you an opportunity to analyze and identify the specific channels & campaigns that drove transactions so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
4. Optimize for the customer journey NOT just Devices (Mobile vs. Desktop)
Mobile is a big deal. Period. But if anything 2016 has proved is that the customer journey is spread across multiple devices and optimizing for one while not focusing on the other will ultimately result in a low conversion. According to a report by Mobile Commerce Daily, 53 percent of visitors browsed products on mobile devices on Black Friday 2016. However, a majority of transactions were still conducted on desktops.
Therefore, it’s crucial to provide a seamless experience across all devices rather than taking the “mobile only” approach. 2017 is going to be all about cross-channel targeting interactions. And, marketers who can embrace the cross-device nature of the customer journey are likely to drive the best performance.
5. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for next level personalization
AI and machine learning have been identified as the leading tech trends in 2017. This technology allows companies to automate 1:1 personalization like never before. Besides using product recommendations for cross-selling & up-sell, AI is enabling marketers to run intelligent campaigns based on customer data like CLTV (customer lifetime value) and time between purchases so they can be aggressive just at the right time when a customer is more likely to buy. With AI, marketers are driving actionable insights from big data. Some of the advanced AI capabilities include promo code management, offering discounts only to discount sensitive customers.
Retailers like The North Face and 1-800-Flowers.com are leveraging AI-powered personal assistants to enhance the customer experience and boost sales. As a marketer, using AI is not just the need of the hour to save time but to create a shopping experience that will delight your customers and keep you ahead of the curve.
6. Conversational Commerce will continue to expand
Offline shopping always had a humanized approach. And, conversational commerce is bringing that to online commerce by enabling a true dialogue with consumers. A BI survey found that 53% of customers are more likely to shop with a business that they can contact via a chat app. AI-powered personal assistants are getting popular with millennials for its 1:1 approach which is why retailers like Taco Bell and Starbucks are jumping on the conversational commerce bandwagon.
As the competition is getting tougher for e-commerce businesses, a full-on customer-centric approach will be a key differentiator. The brands that will thrive in 2017 will be those that will capture customers’ attention and can keep the trust through tasteful, personalized communications delivered at the right time driven by the right data.