Many retailers today are struggling to deliver the seamless online experience that customers want with a limited marketing budget. How can content marketing help them bridge this gap and improve the customer experience?
Insight: Online and brick-and-mortar retailers need to come up with a content marketing strategy that can help them connect with customers across different channels and touchpoints.
Data: Deloitte’s 2016 study revealed that “digital interactions influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores, totalling $2.1 trillion by the end of the year.”
Key Action Point: Explore the different content marketing opportunities that can be used to win in retail.
In a previous post, we talked about how today’s digital advances have changed customer behaviour and online shopping. Today, we look at how retail brands can use content marketing to reshape the customer experience.
Using Content Marketing to Connect Fragmented Audiences
The emergence of so many media channels and platforms have given retailers the ability to push for better customer experience through personalised content across different channels.
But because omnichannel marketing can lead to fragmented audiences, retailers are now faced with the challenge of maintaining the consistency and quality of their content across different consumer touchpoints. It is also proving to be challenging for retailers to keep track and analyse all customer data that is now made available to them.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, analysing customer data and different user interactions from content across multiple touchpoints is the best way to maintain consistency and improve the customer experience.
The report adds that more accurate performance tracking allows you to gather better insights and make smarter decisions that can help you amplify your content marketing efforts.
Retail brands also need to consider how they can bridge the cross-device gap through seamless content with the percentage of mobile device users increasing every year across all age groups.
With 78% of consumers use digital devices two or three times while shopping, retail brands need to look at how they can implement a mobile-first content marketing strategy.
As new devices, new media channels and platforms, and other tech trends emerge, retail brands are faced with the opportunity to deliver personalised and better content experiences to their customers on demand.
Using Cross-Device Content Marketing
Micromoments and the consumers’ need to get what they want, when, and where they want it call for content that transitions seamlessly from desktop to mobile, online, and on the go.
Retail brands need to think about how they can make use of local marketing and create context-specific forms of content that allow customers to find the products they need, compare prices, and shop anytime, wherever they are, no matter what device they are using.
With so many channels and platforms to work with, marketing costs can skyrocket just as easily for retailers. But a good content marketing strategy not only helps retailers save on costs, but it can also help them create a more sustainable and cross-device content or stories that can help them connect with customers.
Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads. (Content Marketing Institute)
With a variety of content that can be used to engage with customers and leads across different channels and touchpoints, retailers are better able to provide their customers with a consistent and personalised experience.
Get Targeted: Better Customer Messaging with Marketing Automation
Another area worth exploring in your retail content marketing strategy is making use of marketing automation platforms. This allows retailers to personalise, fine-tune, and automate any key messages and communication sent out to customers and prospects according to their behaviour and data collected from previous transactions.
Below are a few examples of what retail brands can do to improve customer communication with marketing automation:
Create automated email campaigns & recommendations
- Email messages that nurture leads who are ready to purchase
- A welcome series that is sent after a newsletter subscription
- Customer birthday emails with special discounts
- Newsletters sent automatically after the system has detected interest in a particular product category
- Product recommendations on your website that’s tailored to the contact’s searches
- Dynamic recommendation pop-up and alerts that can be shown to hesitant visitors
Send dynamic emails
- Emails with suggestions of products viewed by the lead during the last visit
- Emails created according to a lead’s visits and search history on your website
- Emails suggesting similar products or those in the same category
Create campaigns according to customer lifecycles
- Email offering seasonal trends
- Email offering according to purchases made in the same year
- Email offering for products on sale
Voice Search Content Marketing
Another trend in retail that is increasingly growing in momentum is voice search and voice commerce. According to ComScore, a media analytics company, voice searches will comprise 50% of online searches by 2020.
Voice technology is becoming more advanced on mobile devices as well, with users of Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Home Pod using voice search to find quick answers and purchase products online. Apple’s Siri is already taking the next step in using artificial intelligence and voice technology to transform into highly smart personal assistants.
Retail brands need to note that voice-based shopping is on the rise and one they should prepare for. A recent report says 57% of consumers who owned voice-activated speakers have made an online purchase.
To optimise content for voice search, retailers can:
- Create local-optimised content as voice search is locally oriented. Create content that answers location-specific questions like “What shops are near me? or “What shops are near XXX street?”
- Use longer keywords and phrases for SEO as voice search will now be based on how people actually speak rather than text-based keyword search
- Embed search phrases in video scripts to optimise video for voice search
Tying It Together
Many of today’s digital platforms are shaping what customers want from an online experience, but it doesn’t mean all is lost for brick-and-mortar retailers. There are many ways for them to use the latest content marketing methods to adapt to changing retail trends so they can better connect and engage with customers at different stages.
Understanding the changes in customers’ search and buying behaviours will allow them to create a relevant and more personalised content marketing strategy that can drive customers back to where they are whether online or in-store.