Partnerships — 13 Apr 2022
9 Budding Marketing Strategies for Retail
Ecommerce continues to grow at faster rates than expected. While the pandemic has given online sales a boost, the almost $5 trillion in sales expected by the end of 2021 is still an astonishing figure. Overall, that data points to a 27.6% increase in total sales over the most recent period.
Perhaps the most significant growth within the global ecommerce retail industry comes from affiliate marketing. Interest in partnership marketing has increased dramatically in the last decade, peaking in July 2020.
A good marketing strategy lies at the heart of your success and your ability to maintain this. So it’s crucial to stay on top of all the changes in the way ecommerce marketing is developing. In this post, we’ll explore some of these up-and-coming marketing trends for 2022.
Put at its most simple, marketing strategies are the foundation plans and tactics used by businesses to promote and sell a product or service. Your strategies are used as blueprints to build your ongoing and future marketing plans and are usually based on tried and tested methods or on focused research that considers your particular business type.
Before you adapt a marketing strategy, you must understand what your goals are and what avenues are most conducive to achieving them. There are a number of primary factors you will want to consider and identify to help you formulate the best possible strategies.
It should be noted that your marketing strategies are not only about bringing customers into your sales funnel; they also communicate to those customers what your values are, what your business stands for, and, perhaps most importantly, why those customers should choose to give their business to you rather than your competitors.
It is also important to differentiate between your marketing strategies and your marketing plans. The latter, while being based on your strategies, is a more specific delineation of all parts of a single marketing campaign, such as a seasonal plan for Christmas. Plans lay out what activities you will conduct, any relevant timetable for those activities, your budget, mission statement, and KPIs.
Retail marketing refers to all the different ways your business seeks to attract new customers (and retain existing ones) with the ultimate aim being to see those customers purchase your goods or services.
Those ways include every single possible touchpoint, from signage to store layout (whether physical or online). It also includes aspects such as your pricing, your SEO efforts, any promotions, discounts, or sales you offer, how you advertise your brand, the checkout process, and any customer support you provide (whether pre- or post-sales).
As well as the four P’s previously discussed, you should also consider a further two P’s: presentation and people. Presentation refers to how you present your products to consumers and can cover both layout in a physical store (window displays and other creative layouts) and design of your ecommerce store. People refers to your staff. You must examine how they interact with customers, whether offline or online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a dramatic shift to online shopping models. While some of those shifts, such as massive increases in online grocery shopping, were due to lockdowns around the world, others were part of the natural growth of ecommerce. Some observers see the pandemic as accelerating the move to online selling by as much as five years.
At the height of the pandemic, there was also a marked shift from “luxury” shopping to essentials such as food and healthcare products. As the world’s economy moves into a recovery cycle, that balance is changing again, and people are increasingly buying so-called luxuries such as fashion and furniture across 2021.
The pandemic has driven ecommerce’s market share of retail trade to 17% in 2020 (from 14% in 2019), but it is unlikely that this will decrease. Although it was existing ecommerce stores that were best placed to deal with the new demands of the pandemic, many mortar stores with no previous online presence joined the ecommerce market to survive and avoid closures.
What this means in real terms is that the online marketplace will continue to grow to meet the demands of an increasingly tech-savvy customer base. Offering omnichannel access to your products and services has now become the new normal and brands need to strengthen their online presence in order to compete.
The reason for this phase-out is recognition from the digital giants that consumers want enhanced privacy in an increasingly digital world where their data is often treated as a commodity. While this is both understandable and justified, how can your marketing teams react and continue to provide campaigns that drive traffic?
The extension by Google gives a little breathing space for marketers, especially when you consider that Chrome is the most used browser, with 37.44% of the global market as of June 2021. However, before you panic, one important point should be noted; it is third-party cookies that are disappearing but first-party cookies will be remaining in place.
If you are a marketer who relies predominantly on third-party cookies, then it is time to rethink your tactics (if you are not already doing so). But if you are a marketer running your site via a CMS (content management system), then you will still be able to track analytics via your dashboard, including referrals (something vital to affiliate programs).
As well as driving a rise in ecommerce, the pandemic has also driven a surge in the development and use of technology. Of course, ecommerce without technology is simply unthinkable, but it is how your staff utilize it that can make a difference when it comes to your crucial metrics.
It is no surprise that customers now demand omnichannel experiences. However, there is a caveat, and organizations should be cautious of adopting technology to keep up with marketing trends and instead be looking at what tech provides good value and experiences to customers and a holistic retail ecosystem.
When you consider new tech, you should be looking at how that tech fits with both your existing marketing strategies and what your customers want and expect. Does the tech offer good value in terms of the customer experience? Does it enhance existing touchpoints and make things easier for your customers?
Choosing the right tech is crucial, not only to your business as a whole, but to how your customers interact with you and how your marketing strategies are developed and presented. Some of the things you should be considering for your tech includes:
So, what are the strategies currently proving their worth and that you should consider adopting or implementing?
Online events are a fantastic way of keeping your customers up to date no matter their location. They can take a variety of formats, including webinars and product launches. Webinars can be educational and involve Q&A sessions where possible and can help raise awareness about features and abilities of your products, such as when selling an app testing product.
Product launches can be a great way of getting information to your customer base on what your new product is and what it does. Online events can help online retailers to gather more detailed data on your ideal customers that can help you boost and improve future targeting. While online events may not always be immediate revenue generators, they are a good long-term plan.
In any area of life, working together can achieve more than working alone. That old adage is especially true in the field of performance marketing. The more you can extend your reach through efficient partnerships, the more likely you will see good sales figures. With Affise Reach, you can build those partnerships with little effort.
Flexibility is key to good performance marketing, and good partnerships allow you that flexibility while keeping up with retail trends and being able to best utilize the different technologies that help your business. Partnerships mean you have access to a wider customer base than if operating alone, which means more potential sales. Affise is an ideal partner as it offers these features:
People love a personalized experience. That applies to any retail model and is something you should consider as integral to your own business model. You will likely be using a multi-channel approach to engage with your customers, from blogs to videos, and being able to personalize your content marketing can improve your levels of engagement.
You can achieve better personalization using existing and new data. Segment your customers into relevant groups (for example, by preferred products or location) and build buyer personas that address the different groups’ wants and needs. You can tailor content to these groups. Some may prefer blog posts while others may prefer marketing emails.
It may well be the case that you have limited staff numbers or that you cannot allocate human resources to tools such as live chat. Whatever the scenario, chatbots are a great solution to helping and engaging your online customers. While primarily used in retail, their use is expanding, and it is reckoned that using chatbots will save the retail, banking, and health sectors $11 billion annually by 2023 (as well as 2.5 billion customer service hours).
As well as cost and time savings, chatbots offer 24/7 service and customizable functionality, essential if you are operating in the global marketplace. They also help to shorten the customer journey and can be used for guided selling, directing your customers to the products they want.
Omnichannel marketing and ecommerce are no longer choices. They are essential to any efficient online business. Recognizing that your customers want to connect across different channels is the first step to a successful digital marketing strategy. It allows potential buyers to connect via the medium of their choice, whether online or offline.
Your website may be your ‘home port’, but shoppers are increasingly looking to social media to find social commerce recommendations, often from influencer marketing, for products before visiting an actual website. There are three primary factors to consider in your omnichannel strategy:
Affise helps you achieve these factors easily. With an intuitive user interface (UI), it is simple for any of your staff to work with the PRM system and see tangible results. You can automate the more repetitive tasks, allowing you and your team to focus on other, more crucial aspects.
If you have physical stores, you want them to stand out and to provide a memorable experience to visiting customers. There can be a connection to your virtual presence in that customers will share that experience via social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
Thinking about how you present yourself can make a real difference. You don’t just want customers to buy from you; you want them to remember you. You can also look at providing experiential ecommerce by looking for creative and interactive ways for customers to engage with your business online.
AI (artificial intelligence) is another area that is fast becoming a ‘must have’ in the toolbox of any online business. Both AI and AR (augmented reality) are tools that, when combined with ML (machine learning) can offer retailers a way of bringing their products into the customer’s houses as well as vastly improving the overall online journey.
AI can be a hugely beneficial tool in partner marketing. It offers real-time automation to many of the most important aspects of how you operate, including matching offers to interested consumers, targeting campaigns with the right segments, as well as offering you the opportunity to harvest high-quality data. It can also underpin any switch to voice search you implement.
Automation is now an everyday part of the work you do in online retail. Its most important quality is that it takes over those routine and mundane tasks that often distract you from focusing on more critical aspects of your business. Integrating automation into your business model means that you can refocus on growing your business.
Affise offers a wide range of helpful automation tools. From helping to run your campaigns and tracking your essential KPIs and metrics to utilizing algorithms to ensure your smartlinks operate at peak efficiency or running your email marketing, automation can improve your efficiency and results dramatically. It can also help you prevent fraudulent activity on your site.
Yes, it can all be a little bewildering, especially if you are operating alone and with no assistance. The whole concept of partner marketing is that you should not be working in a vacuum. Partnering does not only mean the brands you operate as an affiliate for (or the affiliates your brand partners with) but also finding the right partners in other areas.
Choosing the ideal platform to partner with for your performance marketing efforts is an important decision. Affise offers a solid solution with the technology and support that can help your business scale. With simple migration from your existing platform, you can quickly have your ecommerce business operating more efficiently.
You will find that the platform offers multiple solutions that can enhance your business, from real-time analytics, including aspects of customer conversation analytics and fraud protection, through to easy customization of your payment/commission schemes and second to none automation. Affise is proven to help with various aspects of your business, and you could see rapid improvements in conversion rates and sales.
Ecommerce and ecommerce marketing, and in particular the area around performance marketing, is constantly changing and developing. What was an ideal strategy last year may be outdated by next year. In the coming years, we will likely see more development of automation and AI, and we are already seeing innovative systems being used by giants such as Ikea and Amazon.
Tracking the behavior and wants or needs of your customers is an ongoing and necessary part of operating online. What US consumers want may differ greatly from consumers in Europe. What millennials want may be very different from what Gen X wants. Your marketing strategy should be flexible enough to meet these variations, and you should use every tool at your disposal.
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