Tick tock. Tick tock.

The clock is ticking down to the most critical time of year for retailers. Q4 is typically when most retail brands go from the red to black, so this timeframe can make or break profits. Revenue, however, should be thought of as a powerful side effect of Consumer-First Marketing practices.

What do I mean by Consumer-First Marketing? It’s a marketing approach that places integrity and empathy for the consumer, as well relevance, at the forefront of all marketing engagement. This combination can increase customer loyalty and make it easier for consumers to transact with your brand. It synergizes consumer passion and company purpose to create the marketing sweet spot.

With the 2017 holidays just a few short months away, here are some areas you should focus on to maximize your Consumer-First Marketing efforts:

Mobile is Your Customer’s Home Base

According to a recent study conducted by Forrester Research and the National Retail Federation, retail experienced a 65% YOY sales growth on mobile from 2015 to 2016 and those are only the sales that are directly attributed to mobile. Think of mobile as more than just m-commerce or a channel, though, because it really is ground zero for many of your consumers’ experiences with your brand – both online and offline.

Walmart is one company that’s invested heavily in app ordering and leveraging GPS data to alert store personnel when a customer is in range for a pickup. It’s also widely known that consumers use mobile when visiting stores to do product research on the spot. According to Google, 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones while in a physical store.

So, everything about the experience with your brand needs to be thought of through the eyes of your consumer using a mobile device. This includes all the touchpoints along the typical customer journey – research, buying, pickup, returns, etc. I’d go as far to say that mobile is omnichannel retailing and if your company isn’t executing experiences well on the device, then your strategy isn’t truly omnichannel.

Customer service is more important than ever

Yes, automation is making us more efficient as humans, but that doesn’t mean that good, old-fashioned face-to-face customer service becomes a lesser priority. I’d argue that efficiencies we’ve gained through technology should help brands provide better service, not less.

Making customer information accessible to store associates and empower them to take more ownership of the in-store experience. A great example is a Selligent retail client that leverages customer profile data to allow store associates to dispense rewards and coupons to the customer at the point of sale. The brand has had a lot of success driving loyalty among existing customers because of this focus on leveraging technology to empower staff to deliver better customer experiences.

Simplicity, helpfulness and ease of use is underrated

Making tasks easier for your customers is often lost in the glitzier, shinier side of marketing and customer experience. From a digital perspective, tasks like redesigning existing digital assets, responsive coding, giving more utility to emails/push notifications, etc. can be huge ways to reduce friction with your consumers’ engagements with your brand. Think about the reasons why you enjoy the Amazon experience. It’s easy, right?

A great example of facilitating ease of use is Selligent’s client: Cool Blue, a leading eCommerce brand in the Netherlands. Cool Blue sought to reduce return rates on its products that are mostly complex electronics, computers and appliances. The brand created a unique email automation for each of its product stock keeping units (SKUs) with instructions on how to use/set up/implement each product. As a result, return rates were greatly reduced and revenue increased. To the customer, it’s a simple experience, but it’s one that has proven to be tremendously helpful.

Want to learn more about how to take your holiday efforts to the next level this year through actionable marketing ideas?  Join me as I highlight an action plan to help you plan for a successful holiday season.

In the webinar titled, “Your Holiday Marketing Action Plan”, you’ll learn:

  • Tactics and campaign ideas along with key in-market dates from August through January
  • Tips and tricks on unique and creative experiences you can develop to delight consumers and stand out in a crowded landscape
  • What you can do to audit and crisis-proof your relationship marketing program now to meet deliverability and revenue goals

I hope to you’ll join me at the webinar by registering today!

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