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10 ways mobility is changing how modern retailers sell

(Business Marketing) As mobile device technologies become widely adopted, retailers must adjust to address this new mobility if they want to maximize their profits.

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Retail is changing thanks to technology

When was the last time that you used your mobile device to shop competitors while in a store, search for coupons, or do on-the-spot research? If you’re alive and over 18, it’s probably been recently.

By Swaroop Rao, VP and Global Head, Mobility Practice at Happiest Minds Technologies points out that three in every four people in the world have access to a mobile device, which has changed how retailers connect with customers.

“Retailers can now connect with current and potential customers — and vice versa — regardless of location or time of day,” Rao notes. “With this increased connectivity comes significant opportunities for retailers to get uniquely attuned to the individuality and personalities of their customers, which in turn allows them to nimbly adapt retail business practices — including distribution, operations, merchandising, marketing, and customer service — for maximum revenue impact.”

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So how exactly can retailers use mobility to their advantage? In his own words, Rao offers the following 10 ways:

1. Embrace Me-Commerce

Technology has allowed unlimited choices in lifestyles, work styles, and the ways consumers choose to shop. Along with this comes the expectation on the part of the consumer that their retail experience be highly personalized to their tastes. The evolution of this Me-Commerce concept will only continue, and retailers wishing to maximize their impact with current and future generations of shoppers must use mobility as a primary tool to do so.

2. Include mobile in an Omni-Channel approach

Retailers must ensure that customers have the same brand experience at all points of contact, across all channels and devices. Whether they are window-shopping, purchasing, or paying, an Omni-Channel approach to multi-channel retailing can be maximized as more and more consumers choose to perform some or all of these activities via their mobile devices.

3. Maximize mobility both externally and internally

Mobility means far more to savvy retailers than simply an app that facilitates consumer shopping. Studies have shown that companies are unable to prevent employees from bringing their own devices to work. Smart retailers can take advantage of that situation and maximize productivity in their employees by allowing them to use those devices for inventory check-points, sales assistance, pre-sales, and more.

4. Strategize for “showrooming”

 
Increasingly, consumers are using brick-and-mortar stores to examine merchandise, then buy those same products online with their mobile devices. Smart retailers will develop a strategy for showrooming which allows in-store employees to be empowered through mobile to provide enough product data and personalized assistance to close the sale.

5. Maximize hyper-targeting

Customers are constantly on the go, and hyper-targeting allows retailers to go right with them, with the right message, at the right time, and the right place. Smart retailers will maximize mobile to promote personalization and individualization as customers move about in-store, using tools like Wi-Fi, LTE, iBeacon, and even augmented reality (AR) techniques.

6. Apply smart science with Big Data

In today’s age of Big Data, the proliferation of technologies has exponentially grown the amount of data that’s created and consumed. Retailers can optimize the volume of data at their disposal by applying Big Data science to the art of retail. Never before could retailers so acutely understand, comprehend and target their customers to create a highly individualized shopping experience.

7. Reinvent Loyalty Programs

Mobility allows for a highly personal experience with retail customers, and today’s retailers can take advantage through Loyalty programs that uniquely resonate with customer habits and preferences. No longer just a “tick mark activity” for retailers, reinvented Loyalty Programs have the potential — through mobile applications — to be one of the best ways to stay connected to customers in the long run.

8. Allow social media to drive inventory

Social media allows retailers to have an informative dialog with customers, more than ever before. Feedback through tools like Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, Craig’s List, etc. is invaluable in starting to drive inventory per customer preferences and trends.

9. Digitize stores for mobile use:

Connect with your customers in-store with digital displays, ePubs, multi-media presentations, etc. Then, connect the in-store digital experience with your customers’ mobile device to close the sale. Promotions, products, incentives and information presented through the interplay of in-store digital and hand-held mobile can create a customer “wow” moment that your lagging competitors can’t match.

10. Utilize APIs for enhanced customer services

Retailers today can employ the use of APIs and service providers to offer customers enhancements in the brand experience and its services like never before. Possibilities can include things like catalog as a service, wish list as a service, registry as a service, real-time pricing, stock notifications, etc. The list is limited only by the retailers’ imagination in how they interact in a highly personalized way with their customers.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. James Easterling

    October 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I enjoyed this article. I especially liked #8.

    This article captured and offered solid suggestions and opportunities to capitalize on engaging current and potential customers into a retailer’s sales funnel in the mobile marketing space.

    I would like to add to your list. Another lucrative option is using text messaging. According to Pew Research 2013, 34% of Americans are still using feature phones which would eliminate them from participating in these marketing suggestions.

    What do you see trending for Me-Commerce in 2015?

  2. Robert May

    October 11, 2015 at 12:33 am

    This trend has just got stronger. I am in the real estate industry and for us mobile is everything now.

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Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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