With the holiday season just around the bend, it’s more important than ever that your brand is as nimble, agile and ready to serve customers as possible. In fact, the NRF reports that 46% of this year’s holiday shopping, including browsing and buying to head to brick and mortar stores, will take place on mobile devices.
Google (Alphabet) just launched a beta version of its new expedient Shopping Insights tool to help retailers understand local supply traffic. We believe that it is equally as important to market to local customers at the same rate. Here are our three tips to help retailers develop a real-time situational marketing strategy:
1. Understand the Local On-Demand Economy
Industry blogs refer to the “Uberification” of nearly all commerce. For retailers, this creates an added pressure because often times, an overwhelming amount of locations can create a disconnect in providing services to customers as best as possible. There is an inherent struggle of maintaining communication from the corporate all the way down to the store level, and this gets even more complicated when users expect immediacy to their suggestions, comments or needs.
BIA Kelsey Analyst Mike Boland explained that in this “Local On-Demand” economy, the brand’s workflow is even more subject to the customers’ needs.
“In the local on-demand economy, demand comes first as consumers make their need known. Supply, local service providers, then adjusts accordingly. This creates more efficient customer acquisition—a critical factor for local service providers with small or non-existent budgets for upfront marketing.”
On the same leaf, Google’s Shopping Insights helps brands fulfill on-demand merchandising and advertising needs by tracking changes in local phenomena. While this is still in beta, much can be done on a brand marketer’s end to have local advertising match the speed of local merchandising using consumer data.
2. Use Customer Data to Show you Care
For marketers, tracking, pattern recognition and adjustment are all in a day’s work. But this can go awry if you don’t take the extra effort to understand the story your data tells about customers. We discussed in a previous blog the concept of “Customer Amnesia,” where brands consistently interact with customers but fail to build a long-term relationship with them. By monitoring geographic and seasonal variations,local-social conversations and reviews or even paying attention to mobile versus desktop, you can leverage data to make your brand more trustworthy and top of mind.
In situational marketing, data usage can be used to form customer loyalty and show customers that you care. Especially with the hecticness of retail during the holiday season, your ability to recognize these patterns (both real time and historically) will change user perception and improve your overall marketing strategy.
3. Anticipate, Anticipate, Anticipate
Once you have a consistent understanding of what your users want, need and like, situational marketing is bound to occur. Your data speaks volumes about all the potential comments, actions taken or demand created by customers. Begin to develop sub-strategies that cater to these possibilities so that when anything you anticipate is triggered, you know how your brand can react appropriately.
At times, it may be tough to still know what is and isn’t worth building out a response strategy for. We suggest you make this decision using a tool to communicate actively with individual retail store managers, franchise location owners, or even individual customers themselves.
Whether it be with your social listening, SEO efforts or even advertising, getting local is the key to being contextual. Download newest case studyon how local advertising changed the way a retail ice cream shop connected with its franchises with customers.