2017 has been a turbulent year for the retail marketing strategists. Consumer behaviour is forever changing, brand loyalty ebbs and flows in notorious waves, technology is yet again at a crossroads in transformation between bots, AI, and messaging. These changes have lent to purchasing decisions being influenced from a number of angles, online and offline.
The challenge for an in house team is thus, how can we innovate in such a demanding and fast flowing vertical? Over at Rixxo, we have built a number of reactive campaigns for retail giants such as River Island, Joules and White Stuff. From our learnings we have found 3 crucial areas, that will help you deliver innovative marketing for retail purposes.
Social Proof, Online and Offline
The importance of social proofing has been long championed by marketing die-hards. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. If you can encourage your audience to share feedback, recommendations and reviews, then these are a powerful force that will help drive your brand equity. People follow people. If you mention on social that you really enjoyed that Mr Kipling’s Cream Cake, then the likelihood is, that this will register with me and influence my decision should I choose to eat a cake (They are epic!) What we are now seeing however is the rise in physical social proofing – brands are integrating online reviews, Instagram ‘like’ icons and other review mediums such as share icons depicting how many times this ‘item has been shared’ into their physical POS and customer experience. Brands are choosing to inform the ground level purchasing decision with user generated content and brand equity formed of real-time in-store touch points.
Shop This Look
That’s right. We have all been there. Scrolling through a feed of products, and then out of the blue, the beautiful looking scandinavian jacket that we have seen sported on some semi instafamous someone is now available for us to “shop”. But not only that, they are there for us to shop now. This is innovative marketing in action. Brands are increasingly looking for ways to integrate that authentic, and personal touch point into the purchasing chain. If a brand can uniquely tag its product catalogue to be shown against an image of Tina from Tottenham wearing some of their products, then that’s the real engagement right there. Using UGC to market products, but not only that, using it to remarket back to consumers is incredible. Brands such as Joules and River Island, use marketing and engagement platforms such as Wyng to integrate their UGC into a ‘Shop Now’ function.
Another angle to look at is the rise of the “shoppable Insta-feed”, a process whereby you can take your Instagram feed and turn it into a shoppable entity. Further opening up a revenue stream from Instagram and keeping the shopping experience within the app itself. Our clients such as Boohoo and White Stuff have all successfully used Wyng to build their shoppable insta-feeds.
At Rixxo, we recently launched a FB Bot competition for Monarch Airlines, and the main takeaway from this, was that the personal touch wins. We sought ways of engaging our audience with a new mechanism, offering them an opportunity to enter a competition to win an number of return flights. The campaign was personal, it spoke to contestants, engaged with them, got them thinking laterally about the brand by pushing out a new type of entry and mechanism that was against the normal grain of their previous competitions.
This innovation in the communication meant that we saw a 50% uplift in click throughs, entries and our engagement levels were up 70% based on their previous year’s worth of competitions. Being innovative with technology, getting personal and trying new things really does support a healthy sustainable marketing strategy and one that will reap the rewards. As we have seen above there are a number of ways to make your marketing strategy stand out from the crowd.
Put your audience first
Innovation is not solely about advances in technology. From the examples above we can see that innovation starts with addressing the value of your product, the understanding of your target audience and then exists in enhancing the customer journey / experience, right through to the point in which the sale occurs. But innovation does not stop there, it then continues, as it should many more steps through the chain as well. It is evolutionary and fluid. As marketeers we should act boldly in the face of change, but also never be too fearful to try and test new things!