In modern times customers are dictating the way retail businesses operate, as engagement from all industry actors towards improving the shopper journey has become more and more proactive. If in the past businesses would operate based on certain models to which customers had to adapt their needs, nowadays, the needs and shopping patterns of customers are the ones upon which business strategies are drafted. In the retail industry, reaching customers has become one of the most challenging tasks, given the rapidity with which new retail businesses are emerging. Therefore, regardless of retail sector, company size, or whether the retailer operates online or offline, keeping your business afloat and even staying one step ahead of your competitors requires engaging in modern practices, such as the use of technology.
Studies and industry predictions show that the total retail sales in the United States will reach $6.03 trillion by 2022, a number that has been increasing continuously since 2012, when retail sales amounted to $4.35 trillion. And although retailers are investing more into marketing strategies for reaching customers and improving their position in the industry, it is not enough to simply spend money on strategies—you must also know which ones to implement. Knowing what kind of strategies best work for your company is as important as knowing how much to budget for it.
With more and more technologies and solutions being developed every day, the question now is not whether companies should use digital marketing for reaching customers, but what method works best for their business.
The Retail Industry’s Need for New and Effective Strategies
In the retail industry, there is an emerging need for newer and more effective strategies, both from a financial and marketing standpoint. Customers today are expecting a personalized experience based on specific needs and patterns, but also an experience they can’t get from other retailers. Therefore, staying up-to-date with new developments, and particularly with the technology and how it influences the retail industry, is mandatory for businesses that want to keep their customers and attract new ones. Before deciding on the way to promote your business, you need to know what are the demands of your customers and how your company can meet them successfully.
According to recent studies, customers are more interested in the shopping experience, then they are in products or brand recognition. Yet the data does not stop there, offering also insights on what makes for a good shopping experience, such as familiarity with customer history, owning up to mistakes, providing a seamless experience both online and offline, and knowing how to cater to the needs of all generations. But what exactly is the role played by technology in providing the retail industry with more effective marketing strategies?
Technology and Its Involvement in the Retail Industry
First and foremost, without technology retailers would not be able to have information which they can analyze in order to improve their financial and marketing decisions. Thus, one of the most essential roles played by technology within the retail industry is that of providing methods through which companies can gather and analyze customer information. Without studies, statistics, and industry research, it would be almost impossible for retailers to know how customers are reacting to their promotions, products, events, and to brand awareness.
Technology is also helping the retail industry better organize itself in terms of finances, security, and other automated processes, or processes which have been simplified with the help of technology. And then there are the improvements technology has brought to retail marketing—weather we are talking about solutions such as text message marketing through which retailers can offer their clients various promotions, or digital touchpoints implemented with the help of WiFi-based proximity marketing.
How Technology Can Help Retail Reach Customers
The past 30 years have been significant for the U.S. retail industry, and have brought a wide array of changes, such as the struggle of retailers that were once popular to keep up with their competitors. The development of shopping malls in other areas then the outskirts of towns and the appearance of online shopping have made it impossible to thrive—or even survive—without keeping up with trends and technologies. Given that shopping is an important cultural phenomenon, the role customers play in the growth of retail businesses should never be ignored. Further, we are going to take a look at how technology can help retail reach customers, and what kind of methods should you use for a successful outcome.
SMS Marketing for Promotions and Loyalty Programs
If you are still using traditional marketing methods to entice your customers, such as printing flyers or sending your offers by email, it’s time to upgrade to a much more viable solution. With text message marketing you can send your customers messages and information about your products, sales, loyalty programs, and much more. Using a modern-day SMS marketing solution, you will be able to gather feedback from customers, during and after the campaign, in order to improve future strategies. Make sure that your messages are in compliance with industry regulators, and don’t forget to update your text message strategies when or if newer technologies are being developed.
Modernizing Your Brick-and-Mortar Store with Proximity Marketing
One of the biggest issues encountered by retailers is keeping up with the swiftness of online shopping, and how e-commerce is affecting their brick-and-mortar stores. If you want to keep your customers satisfied, but also to reach your customers, adapting to modern times is mandatory—and the best way to do that is to integrate the advantages of online shopping into your store. Proximity marketing offers an excellent solution when it comes to digitizing a brick-and-mortar store, and offering customers the personalized experience they are searching for when shopping online. Make sure that the proximity marketing strategies involve the use of efficient solutions such as WiFi-based proximity marketing for improving the in-store experience.
Drafting a Comprehensive Customer Database
As previously stated, all retail marketing strategies should be based upon methodically-gathered and analyzed metrics. Therefore, all retailers should engage in drafting a comprehensive customer database for using when reaching out to customers with personalized offers. Gathering feedback from all your campaigns, but also getting customers to sign-up for various programs and events will help you improve your current database, or create one from scratch.
Regardless of the way you think about technology, as a retailer, you need to understand that’s without it your business within behind, and customers will turn too other brands in search of the perfect shopping experience. Using technology in our personal lives means we aim for harmony when it comes to using it for other reasons, such as catering to shopping needs. Therefore, retailers that find a way to seamlessly integrate their technology-based messages and offers with the way customers use technology in their day-to-day life, will always stay one step the head of the competitors. Don’t forget to keep your business up-to-date which future developments, and upgrade your plans strategies accordingly.