Reflections on 2020 in Local: Innovation by Necessity

From a big-picture perspective, innovative tech providers are recognizing that SMBs don’t need all the bells and whistles that may come with an enterprise solution. They need tech that solves critical everyday problems that are common across the local landscape. 

Retail Embraces Omnichannel for the Holidays

Rather than focusing on one platform or tool, retail brands are embracing everything necessary to engage with customers across multiple touchpoints. That could have a major impact on the way shoppers interact with their favorite brands in the coming weeks, and depending on the results, it could lead to changes in the way retail marketing is handled in 2021.

How Brands Can Rise, Retain, and Return Stronger Than Ever this Holiday Season

Prior to Covid-19, traditional demographics still directed many brands’ targeting strategies. However, the pandemic has laid bare just how flawed this method can be. We believe that the best measure of what someone will purchase in the future is looking at what they’ve purchased in the past. This holds true even in an uncertain market and is invaluable for retailers as the holidays approach. 

Holiday Sales Are Starting Earlier Than Ever. Here’s Why

“Retailers are responding to social distancing guidelines [this] year and preparing for potential decreases in spending by kicking off promotions earlier than we’ve ever seen,” says Dosh CEO Ryan Wuerch.

Wuerch says Covid-19 safety protocols require a more elongated approach to holiday marketing. Kohl’s, L Brands, and Macy’s have all referenced pulling forward holiday promotions, and Amazon’s Prime Day later this month seems perfectly timed to pull in early holiday shoppers.

Personalized Marketing is a Must Right Now

Today, marketers have the luxury of being able to see consumers through the entire advertising funnel, enabling them to target consumers based on where they are in the buying process — from introduction of a product all the way to purchase intent. Brands have the ability, either in-house or via third-party vendors, to create and target ads that scale cross-device and cross-channel, reducing repetition, eliminating ad fatigue, and enhancing consumer experience throughout the funnel.

They can, and should, A/B test different messages, offers, and calls to action in real time to determine what resonates with each consumer down to the color of the button that generates more engagement. Marketers can do all of this across programmatic display, video, social, on YouTube and over-the-top (OTT) TV.  So, why aren’t they?

Loyalty in the Time of “Near Me” Searches, Omnichannel, and Covid-19

In addition to the opportunities and challenges that come with an omni-channel commercial ecosystem, 2020 brings to businesses the challenge of mobile search, which leads people on the go to search for “X near me” and pick the closest possible option. The new year also brought, as hardly anyone would’ve predicted months ago, an impending recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I caught up with Nicole Amsler, vice president of marketing at loyalty tech firm Formation.ai, to garner her insights on loyalty strategy this year.

10 Ways To Provide a Cutting-Edge Retail Customer Experience

Delighting customers isn’t about getting one thing right; it’s about firing on all cylinders, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, to make an authentic connection with buyers to drive satisfaction and loyalty.

What does that look and feel like? Here are 10 examples of best practices that represent the state of the art in retail CX.

Three Essential Steps toward Omnichannel Success

Consumers have limited time, detectable habits, and preferences about how they interact with brands. Marketers have become increasingly empowered to know and respond to these preferences on all channels.

As brands leverage opportunities offered by omnichannel marketing and further embrace the technology that unlocks each channel’s capabilities and insights, they will give customers the personal experiences they crave. Beginning the journey toward true omnichannel can be daunting, but the immense value it creates for both customers and brands far outweighs the rethinking, reinvention, and innovations it demands.

The Core 4 Digital Marketing Challenges Multi-Location Brands Experience — And The Tech Solution

One particular area that’s difficult to navigate for multi-location companies is how to best serve highly targeted marketing campaigns to local customers across hundreds or thousands of very unique communities where your retail locations exist. Across the many multi-location brands at which I’ve worked, including national retailer Batteries Plus Bulbs, it’s an issue with which our internal marketing teams and outside ad agencies struggled. 

In this article, I’ll identify four main marketing challenges I believe all multi-location retail marketers can relate to and how to use technology to solve them.

Converting Prospects to Customers Through Event Marketing

The marketing journey is not as predictable as it once was, and there are potential roadblocks to conversion at every stage within the funnel. Today’s buyers have access to high-quality information about products and services through digital media, so they’re not reliant on the sellers for insights. In the most successful companies, sales and marketing organizations overcome these roadblocks together. They work in concert to generate brand awareness, educate prospects, forge relationships, and ultimately to turn prospects into customers. Event marketing plays a key role in these efforts. 

Connected Consumers Are More Demanding Than Ever – How Retailers Are Adapting

As the omnichannel approach to retail takes off, industry insiders are beginning to wonder whether giving shoppers what they want, when they want it, across any connected device, is causing consumers to develop unrealistic expectations about the types of experiences and services their favorite stores can provide.

95% of Consumers Plan on Buying Most Holiday Gifts Online

While brick-and-mortar sales remain a robust part of the holiday shopping experience, online shopping is asserting clearer dominance than ever before this year. A walloping 95% of consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping this season online, according to multi-channel engagement platform Leanplum.

Defining Your Purpose: 4 Ways to Optimize Purpose-Driven Marketing

Ultimately, ensuring the success of purpose-driven campaigns comes down to building meaningful connections using all the technology, data, and creativity at one’s disposal to reach the elusive double bottom line. Here are four tips that can help marketers tap into data and technology to optimize their purpose-driven campaigns:

From Personal To Individual: Why Engaging Unique Consumers Requires Unique Communication

People everywhere receive “personalized” emails daily from brands greeting them by their first names. For a long time, brands have assumed this conveys genuine care for each customer. It’s certainly not the case anymore. Technology has evolved, and consumer expectations have risen to such a level that marketers must do much more. It’s no longer about saying, “We know you,” but rather, “We understand you.” To do this requires a major shift from personalization to individualization. 

It may sound relatively straightforward, but what this shift entails and how companies can incorporate individualization in their everyday communications presents a whole new set of challenges.

The Retail Fight Against Showrooming

If showrooming didn’t make brick-and-mortar retail obsolete, it’s definitely disrupting it for the better. The question is what brands need to do to survive and thrive through this transition. The answer lies in omnichannel marketing and sales, which is a many-pieced puzzle. Let’s explore what that means and why showrooming took off in the first place.

4 Ways Multi-Location Businesses Improve Marketing Return with Call Analytics

By implementing call tracking and analytics systems, marketers at multi-location businesses can obtain valuable first-party data on the calls and conversations they generate for each location. This first-party data helps inform marketing campaigns that open doors for new customers, reinforce relationships with current customers, and increase return on marketing spend. 

Not sure how to maximize the business impact of consumer calls on your multi-location brand? Discover four things you can do now. 

Heard on the Street, Episode 28: Location-Based Survival of the Fittest, With Gimbal

According to Gimbal’s SVP of location platforms Adrian Tompsett, the key to the location business is having a long-term and holistic view of customer value. That means using location intelligence to go beyond just triggering promotions to increase the customers’ basket size, instead using the technology in ways that will provide additional value in the long term.

Retail Insights: Inside The Vitamin Shoppe’s Omnichannel Strategy

The data that The Vitamin Shoppe collects in its CRM is used to create 360-degree views of each customer so that in-store associates can see in real time when customers have earned new awards and offer more personalized product recommendations based on previous purchases.

Omnichannel or Multichannel? Which One And Why

Omnichannel creates a smarter shopping experience that benefits both consumers and brands. Data is shared across all channels, enabling stronger engagement and moving the consumer toward a purchase. For the customer, it creates an easier shopping experience and a stronger brand connection.

Report: Consumer Expectations for Brands Higher than Ever in Age of Convenience

With the omnichannel age upon us, the impact of bad customer experiences is unprecedented. The main fear for businesses should no longer be a standoff between the worker behind the customer service desk and the angry customer who failed to get his discount; it should be the rant that hits social and is shared or liked a slew of times, dragging digital reputations through the mud.