The Latest Digital Marketing Trends in Retail Industry That Drive Sales and Engage Shoppers
The transition to digital marketing has accelerated over the past two years, and the customer experience has improved dramatically. However, strong headwinds threaten continued growth as retail businesses face ongoing disruption from the pandemic, supply chain challenges, and climate change. Digital marketing can play a key role in achieving success under these conditions. Online appointment scheduling, touchless shopping in stores, real-time updates on online deliveries, and personalized services are now easier for many as retailers have adapted to new consumer needs and preferences.
This is the time for retailers to look at where they stand and decide how to optimize all of these changes to be in the best position possible to retain customers and be ready to pivot to more digital and customer-friendly experiences. Now, consolidating gains can help retailers focus on the customer experience to improve loyalty and potentially capture new markets.
Here are the latest digital marketing trends in the retail industry to help retailers refine their strategy for 2022 and beyond to maximize growth.
1. Examine Your Marketing Technology Stack
Since the pandemic, many retailers have adopted new technologies to communicate with customers through new channels, offer new delivery and pickup options, and highlight free cancellation policies or automated refund systems to give your customers an added sense of security. Now it’s time to consider whether all of your marketing technologies are feeding customer data seamlessly into a stable repository such as a customer data platform. You can use it to personalize the omnichannel customer experience accurately.
2. First-Party Data Marketing Is The New Norm
While Google slates to phase out its third-party cookies, digital advertisers keep a close eye. Third-party data has helped marketers, especially small businesses, access prospecting, and lead generation data. First-party data will be a foundation of all marketing initiatives, and it’s better for lead generation and overall conversions because users have chosen on their own to access it. But larger organizations have the advantage because they have more first-party data to leverage. Many organizations that have not prepared will struggle to collect this data to stay competitive.
3. Keep Personalization Goals Front and Center.
Customers want targeting, relevant, and personalized messages from retailers. Understanding your brand’s digital maturity will help you figure out where the brand can (and should) go with personalization right now. Whether your technology and data management can allow segmented personalization or provide more targeted personalization throughout your customer journey, the most important thing is to avoid the blanket messaging that causes customers to turn away. The data collected from cross-channel customer touchpoints is the foundation for your marketing that enables retailers to deliver personalized customer experiences through email and marketing automation. Personalization should also be able to provide customized on-site messages and highly relevant content through pop-ups, overlays, and product recommendations.
4. Augmented Reality (AR) Is a Game-Changer For eCommerce
Augmented reality (AR) has changed the game for online shopping: consumers now can see how something will look in their home before they even purchase it. Will we miss measuring and sticking an outline to decide if the furniture is right for us? Probably not. While major jewelry brands have integrated AR technology into their apps, they’ve also paved the way for online retailers. Since many digital marketing trends start with those who have the most resources, smaller businesses take note and implement the successes learned from bigger ones.
5. Embrace SMS Marketing.
SMS marketing strategy has received less attention in recent years, but now it’s essential. In fact, mobile commerce – mobile-first strategy is expected to grow more in the future. Retailers can capitalize on this with SMS marketing and messaging, as long as they get permission from customers. Business SMS has a higher open rate than email marketing, more U.S. consumers have opened business SMS, and more have initiated SMS conversations with brands.
Focus on technology and message optimization in 2022 Digital Marketing Trends for a more engaging customer experience. Like all digital marketing, SMS marketing works effectively if it’s customized and delivered at a rate that doesn’t make the message feel like spam. SMS marketing messages, like email, should be easy to opt-out of, both for compliance and customer experience.
6. Take Advantage of Marketplaces
Creating a marketplace channel can help brands reach more customers because marketplaces account for most B2C e-commerce sales in the United States. Retailers that make a presence on other marketplaces can expand their product selection to mitigate supply chain challenges and merchandising investments and provide a more seamless experience for customers. Simultaneously retailers can build their own marketplace SEO campaign based on shoppers’ search algorithms to find branded products. This data can be used to fine-tune and personalize digital messaging to marketplace customers.
7. Embrace Omnichannel Marketing
In the new era of online sales, omnichannel marketing is a great way to turn one-time buyers into repeat customers. It is the integration of various channels to create a consistent brand experience.
Social and live stream commerce
A potential customer interacts with many touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey before purchasing a product or service. So, it’s wise to reach a customer through different channels at each stage of the buying cycle. For example, digital advertising, digital storytelling, websites, email, interactive video, audio and podcasting, visualized image search, and social media are all ways to connect your potential buyers.
This will create a seamless buying experience for the consumer, boost your remote retail operations and increase the probability of becoming a repeat customer.
8. Embrace Alternative Payments
Alternative payment methods are convenient, cheap, and effective. Mobile wallets are becoming popular among smaller retailers, while many big retailers are lagging behind. When a customer who is in the habit of using their phone to pay in-store tries to check out at a big box chain, they may not have that option, which breaks up the customer experience. This year, retailers need to align their point-of-sale (POS) terminals with the rest of their digital technology stack to enable the mobile, and contactless payments that customers expect and many smaller competitors already offer.
9. The Metaverse Will Become a Marketer’s Playground
A hot topic of the metaverse includes virtual and hybrid physical-digital worlds that consumers can access even through connected devices that don’t support AR or VR, such as smartphones, game consoles, and computers. The metaverse also promises to break down the boundaries between platforms so that people can bring metaverse goods or services to any platform they visit, just like a shopper who buys a pair of shoes can wear them wherever they go.
As a digital channel, the metaverse is relatively new to marketing. Still, recent campaigns have seen brands take advantage of its immersive nature to advertise to increase brand awareness among young consumers. The metaverse will be a platform for D2C marketers, where users can create, buy and sell goods, and it offers marketing opportunities for product placement, search, social selling, and more.
10. Invest in Creating Answer-Based Content
Response-based content can help you improve your organic search. And also creating quality rather than quantity content strategy for high SERP rankings.
It reflects in the rise of conversational marketing and the increase in voice searches, which account for 20% of Google searches. Ultimately, it’s a more direct approach from consumers. They want information and increasingly ask questions to get it faster and smoother. Embrace chatbots and virtual assistants to guide users through their online shopping experience. We’re heading into a future where AI-generated content will be increasingly important to answer complex queries without the need for face-to-face interaction and often on a 24/7 schedule.
Preparing for Emerging Digital Marketing Trends
Retail marketers need to evaluate the agility and flexibility of their digital marketing. As retailers examine the changes they’ve implemented since the covid-19 outbreak, it’s also a good time to look at the adaptability of your marketing strategies and find ways to become more open to change. For smaller retailers, this agility is necessary to attract customers away from traditional retailers and larger competitors who have not embraced new technologies like touchless POS and SMS marketing.
These retailers generally find it easier to implement new digital marketing strategies because there are fewer layers of decision-making in their organizations. They have less or no investment in traditional technologies and associated strategies. For large retailers, agility is essential to adapt to new customer behaviors and deliver a digital customer experience compared to smaller, more agile competitors. This is true today, after several years of constant and rapid change, but it will always be true to some extent as customer behavior and expectations constantly evolve. The most successful retailers will be those who can adopt to the changes and leverage the right retail marketing technologies and strategies to meet consumer expectations and stay competitive in an ever-changing marketing landscape.
Leverage advanced CRM and retail analytics software like ChainDrive to meet customer demands. Whether manufacturers optimize their production or salespeople understand how to best communicate with customers, data-driven marketing will be at the heart of a customer-centric organization’s overall strategy.
To learn more about retail digital marketing strategies that play a crucial role in a cross-channel world with data-driven marketing analytics, request a free demo with ChainDrive.