6 Smart Insights To Improve Your Multi-Channel Retailing

online retailing

Traditional brick and mortar retailers are increasingly turning to the internet to catch information hungry prospects before they make buying decisions.

Are you responsible for the marketing of a multi-channel retail business? If so, you’ve probably already discovered there is far more to online retail marketing than just having a website. You also need to ensure your site can be found by your customers and convince them to take action. If it cannot be found when people are searching for your products, it will result in your business missing out on a highly targeted and engaged share of the market.

Even with a well optimised website, there is still much more to online marketing than most people are aware of. Retailers can unlock additional value from the internet by analysing Google search trends, making the most of social media demographics and leveraging today’s leading online customer relationship building tools. Consequently, we are increasingly helping retailers to address the following 6 fundamental questions:

Which product lines should we stock next season?
Your target customers are already searching for the products you stock. Or are they? Trend analysis is by no means new to the retail industry, but how to access the information cost effectively and timeously… that is the question. Smart online marketers regularly use keyword research and a variety of trend analysis tools, such as Google Trends, to help their retail clients decide which new product lines they should be stocking in the new season.

How will they find OUR store online?
Search Engine Marketing is the key here. Time and again search marketing delivers a measurable return on investment for online retailers. Put simply, this is the key to ensuring your potential customers will find your store ahead of your competition when searching for your products online. In addition, Google recently added remarketing campaigns to its quiver of marketing arrows – a tactic that helps retailers to re-expose their brand and/or merchandise to their website visitors after they’ve left your online store.

Which locations should we expand to?
You are ready to expand, but where should your next store go? If your website is setup correctly, it will give you access to some very useful insights. One of the reports your internet marketing consultant should be able to put together for you is a Geographic demand analysis of your websites visitors. Although this is not an exact indication of your customers’ locations, it certainly should be considered when trying to decide whether your new store should be situated in Cape Town CBD, Somerset West, Johannesburg or Tokyo.

How do we establish and maintain our online brand?
Is your brand established online? Here is a simple test. Just type into Google the range of phrases you think your customers will use when they search for your brand, including related trademarks and proprietary products. If your website repeatedly comes up in search engine results pages (SERPs) and the results are positive, well done – you’re probably well on your way to establishing your brand online. If not, it’s time to develop a content marketing strategy that will grow your online brand to the point where, over time, it becomes recognised as a leading authority on your industry vertical.

What can we do to grow sales by leveraging customer information?
How often have you been asked “Is there anything you want for your next birthday?” It’s a fact that viral marketing opportunities abound with online gift registers. So make it easy for your customers to create and share wish lists in-store AND to send a “wish list notification” to their friends and family.” Now that’s really got the potential to go viral!

How are the most successful Multi-channel retailers evolving their businesses?
Really successful multi-channel retailers find creative ways to seamlessly blend their customers’ physical retail experience with the online experience. Some retailers start this as a customer leaves the store, while others take it even further by introducing the online experience already in their window displays. One thing is for sure, the next generation of shoppers is going to have considerably different expectations from retailers.

Here’s a simple example of the above approach. If you are a footwear retailer, how about sending a personalised sms from the founder of your retail brand, thanking the customer for purchasing that pair of Nike running shoes? At the same time you could:

Direct them to an article which explains how to get the most from their new pair of running shoes;

  • Perhaps with insights on the benefits of appropriate running socks, to leverage your up-sell opportunities.
  • Invite them to an upcoming fun run / marathon – where they can meet your team and ask questions.

It’s life Jim, but not as we know it
Ultimately, all this is just a case of using good old-fashioned relationship building techniques to keep your brand top-of-mind and generate repeat business. Furthermore, the fact that online marketing can be so much more cost effective and measurable only adds to the incentives for retailers to try it out.

To help you get a better grasp of the above strategies, I’ll be expanding on some of them in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you want to contribute some of your own case studies, please let me know and let’s share the insights.

Image via: thinkoverload


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