Jim Davidson , head of research for Bronto , offers advice on the new rules of marketing in a cross-channel world
CONSUMERS DON’T THINK about channels when they’re shopping, they just want to be able to buy what they want. In the words of Jim Davidson, head of research for Bronto: “Convenience is key. The retailer-to-consumer dynamic has shifted, putting shoppers in control. Retailers must adapt to this tilt in the relationship, ceding control to the customer, or face lost sales.”
First and foremost, this means acknowledging that we’re now in a cross-channel world. This in turn means that consumers expect to be able to use their smartphones to browse and, just as importantly, to buy. In itself, this poses big challenges for retailers as companies try to work out how best to reach out to consumers.
Jim Davidson’s advice is to keep things simple, to think about retail basics. “Yes, there are highly technical, overly complex ways to market to today’s consumer, but many of the gaps between channels and devices can be met with simple solutions,” he says. “A good first step is to find the fundamental ways you can connect the channels.” Click and collect, ship to store and inventory all help here. In addition, “E-receipts and point-of-sale email acquisition can
build better profi les of in-store shoppers and help continue their experience online.”
Once retailers have gathered this information, it needs to be used in smart ways. Again, though, retailers shouldn’t over-complicate things. Even in a retail landscape where social media and mobile are increasingly important, there’s a lot to be said for email. “The inbox has served as a connection point between channels and will continue to do so,” says Davidson. “Marketers can tailor the email experience of their customers by leveraging store data, online interactions and purchase data from their commerce platform.”
Nevertheless, he advises, retailers do need to ensure their communications reflect a changing business environment where consumers can easily compare prices and customer service options, even when they’re out and about. “These factors can greatly influence a purchase decision,” says Davidson. “Retailers are now in a reactive mode trying to keep up with these shoppers. The retailers finding the most success are the ones who maximise their brand’s value proposition, give solutions to their customers’ problems and provide a quick and convenient shopping experience that is consistent with the preferences of their customers.”
Bronto Software provides a cloud-based marketing platform for brands to drive revenue through their email, mobile and social campaigns. Bronto is the number one ranked email marketing provider to the Internet Retailer Top 1000 and has a client roster of leading brands worldwide, including including Armani Exchange, Timex, JustFab, Samsonite and Boot Barn.