By Kate Morris, founder adorebeauty.com.au
What’s ahead for e-tailers this year? I’ve spent the first couple of weeks of January doing some high-level thinking and planning for what I think the year might hold:
I’m predicting 2017 will be the year we finally do away with the words “pureplay”, “omnichannel” and even “online retail”, and with that, scrap the notion that customers actually care about these labels. Customer-centricity is much more important to the future of retail than channel, and in the end, customer-centric retailers will win the day, regardless of what channels they sell through. So if you have a “bricks and mortar” strategy that differs from your “digital” strategy: this year is the year to put them both in the bin, and start formulating your “adding customer value” strategy.
The growth of mobile seems set to continue unabated, and I’m hearing less about mobile-first strategies than I am about mobile-only strategies. It’s one thing to think about mobile as a slimmed-down version of desktop (desktop-lite, if you will) – but another altogether to think of it as if a customer may NEVER visit our desktop sites. It’s the ultimate user-experience and design challenge: communicate your entire brand, using only a tiny fraction of the space.
Rather than trying to cram as much as possible into a tiny space, mobile-only strategy requires retailers to distil their brand promise to its purest essence. Not easy to do, and requires going right back to your “why” - your business’s reason for being.
Using big data to personalise every element of the customer experience will also be tremendously important in 2017. Each customer wants and deserves a uniquely personal, customised and targeted experience. Why should they be treated with a cookie-cutter approach, when we have enough data to do better?
For most retailers this is not a question of collecting more data, but making better use of the data we have.
I also believe 2017 offers a great opportunity for retailers to be a bit more human and a lot less faceless. The world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, so we need warmth and generosity and realness more than ever. Let’s ditch the marketing-speak, and start putting our names and faces to the conversations that we start with our customers.
So you have this brand/product that you love like your own child and you feel you have been working 24/7 to get attention. You have invested lots of money and time in packaging, typing up posts, sharing the products with friends, meeting with retailers and distributors and you feel you are still not getting any traction. What do you do next?
The growth of social media has given rise to influencer marketing, now one of the fastest growing categories in advertising and projected to be a $5-10 billion market by 2020*. A larger percentage of the advertising dollar being invested into this component of the marketing mix naturally means greater pressure on marketers to deliver meaningful results from this medium. There is now an emphasis on conducting due diligence when planning your influencer campaigns, especially around your influencer selection, and in particular their followers.