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4 Digital Marketing Tools retailers should adopt to support changing Customer Behaviour

Wednesday 20 November 2019 Digital MarketingOmni-ChannelShopping Behaviour

Grace Dunne's picture
By Grace Dunne

With the news of big brands such as Debenhams and Mothercare closing hundreds of stores, it is more important than ever for retailers to update their digital strategy to maintain customer loyalty and enhance their online business.

Bricks and mortar is still essential to retail success; but online shopping is growing at an increasing rate - online sales now account for almost 1/5 of all UK retail sales - and there are a number of changes that retailers should be implementing to prevent their customers from abandoning them in favour of more online and mobile friendly brands.

The Shape of the Retail Industry

The importance of online and mobile platforms is always growing, and it has now been predicted that between 2018 and 2022 the UK mobile commerce market is going to double! This increased reliance on mobile technology is changing the way that customers interact with retail brands and the overall shopping experience.

A customer’s buying decision is also no longer just dependent on what they see in store on the day but is affected by a multitude of factors, from the recommendations of influencers on Instagram or YouTube to the speed that brands respond to their queries about a product. Retailers must improve customer experience across every channel in innovative ways to fulfil the higher expectations of customers or they risk jeopardising the future of their brand.

How can retailers deliver the expected customer experience?

We carried out research on 26 omnichannel retailers to assess how well they handle the essentials of digital marketing. We’ve identified a number of common trends that retailers can take advantage of to improve their online customer experience and inspire customer loyalty.  

Here are just four examples of how you can evolve your marketing strategy to meet customer expectations:

1. Mobile

Mobile apps are growing in importance for retailers, with new research from Texas A&M University finding that app users spend 36% more than non-app users. Apps offer customers the chance to interact positively with a brand and increase brand visibility.

Nike’s retail app offers exclusive access to new products as well as personalised workouts and invites to events. Brands like Nike are setting the standard for retailers who want to deliver a unique experience to their customer. Our scorecard reveals the importance of not only mobile apps but Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to improve customer experience. PWAs give the appearance of a mobile app online and have a quicker loading time than an average website, in some cases helping to encourage customers to download a brand’s app. Our research scored retailers an average of 6.7/10 in the mobile category, demonstrating that whilst retailers are adopting this important channel, there is still room for improvement to fully maximise their mobile marketing capabilities.

2. Reviews

Since the financial crash in 2008, customers have moved to making smarter buying decisions and are now more reliant on customer reviews. A study by Invesp this year found that 72% of consumers will only purchase a product after reading a positive review. Even when browsing physical stores, customers are likely to refer to their phones to see what their peers think of the products that they are viewing.

Displaying customer reviews on a retail website is a simple and effective way to offer customers security and satisfaction in choosing a product. Our research found that only a few of the retailers assessed are displaying customer ratings on their homepage, despite it being regarded as best practice by Google!

3. Influencer Marketing

Most retailers are aware that social media channels play an indispensable role in digital marketing, but it is an aspect that cannot be overemphasised when influencer marketing can increase ROI by 11 times more than traditional digital marketing. Our research found that most retailers have prioritised Instagram marketing but have almost neglected YouTube, a critical channel for reaching customers with its average of one billion daily visitors.

Louis Vuitton has advanced its relationship with a younger demographic by recruiting YouTube influencer, Emma Chamberlain, to advertise the brand through both her popular YouTube channel and their own brand channel. This well-established brand turning to YouTube demonstrates the power of the platform and its value as a positive digital marketing alternative to traditional media channels.

Almost half the retailers included in our benchmark report have a YouTube channel, and although they are uploading video content on their Instagram accounts, only a small number of those uploaded one video per week. Expanding this content for YouTube would increase customer reach and engagement.

4. Customer Care

Facebook’s More than a Message study found 53% of respondents are more likely to shop with a business that they can contact via a chat app, showing that customers now expect a more personal and efficient relationship with the brands they shop with. WhatsApp for Business launched last year for this purpose and is used by online brands Missguided and PrettyLittleThing to offer discounts, the latest trends and early access to new items for their customers.

The average person in Britain checks their phone every 12 minutes, so it is no surprise that using WhatsApp makes brands more accessible to customers whilst also providing another channel to market to prospective customers. Many of the retailers that we reviewed only offer customer contact through a contact form and phone number, scoring an average of 5/10 in customer care, highlighting that this is an area that should be a focus when looking to improve customer satisfaction.

 

To find out more about how leading retailers such as Zara, H&M and Adidas ranked in our digital marketing benchmark, and for more insight into how you can improve your brand’s digital marketing performance, download our Retail Industry Digital Marketing Scorecard.

If you’d like our consultants to review your digital marketing performance against our benchmark criteria, please get in touch at info@caci.co.uk

We’ve identified a number of common trends that retailers can take advantage of to improve their online customer experience and inspire customer loyalty.

4 Digital Marketing Tools retailers should adopt to support changing Customer Behaviour