The global retail landscape is quite different today than it was about a decade ago, primarily because digital technology has disrupted the way brands design their marketing strategies and consumers shop, live, communicate, and work. The way consumers make buying decisions has dramatically evolved: they use their smartphones to read product reviews and compare prices and there is an ever-growing list of online retailers who are ready to deliver products directly to consumers at their doorstep with exchange and return being an additional advantage.
Moreover, the pandemic has accelerated the significance of technology in every strata of life, challenging the ability of retailers to adapt to an ever-changing “new normal” swiftly. The retail business in 2020 was all about retailers making an effort to reach their customers through various offline touchpoints and through uncountable online platforms too. So let’s see how brands can create and implement next-generation marketing strategies to improve the customer experience in the coming year as the shopping trends continue to evolve.
Live Streaming In The Spotlight
As the pandemic forced the offline retail stores to shut their doors, many brands switched to live streaming to engage their customers and boost their sales. The newly found marketing strategy has indeed proven its worth as an effective tactic for customer engagement, and the retailers that perfect the craft will continue to benefit even after the pandemic subsides.
We can say that the shift to live streaming is the biggest takeaway from 2020 and will be at the centre stage in 2021. As digital-savvy shoppers want more than just a product i.e. feel a connection to a brand, live streaming can be one of the fastest-growing digital one-to-one modes in the league.
Leveraging Data And Analytics
Many brands are tapping on the vast amounts of data they possess to enable tailored assortments, targeted marketing, and effective pricing. Gathering data and building analytical muscles to understand evolving consumer needs, attitudes, and preferences will be significant, as will customizing product offers on a one-on-one basis.
In 2021 and years ahead, we will see more retailers using advanced analytics to design unique offers and make decisions that are targeted, as well as, delivered in real-time. Data-driven marketing will be an essential element of an organisation’s strategy to keep up with consumers. In addition to using customer’s data to send targeted advertisements and product promotions, retailers will go beyond and use personalised marketing insights to develop convenient and streamlined shopping processes.
Influencer Marketing On The Rise
A 2019 benchmark report by Influencer Marketing Hub revealed that 92% of consumers believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing. The newly emerged marketing tool is growing at a rapid pace as brands and marketing agencies look to foster deeper connections with consumers through their favourite influencers. In 2021, we will see more consumers making purchases directly influenced by influencers and social media, which is likely to become a prominent part of the retail landscape.
Retailers can encourage bloggers and influencers to earn revenue by sharing affiliate links and advertise their products and services. Moreover, audiences also put trust in brands that showcase authentic voices and reliable services. In fact, brands have already started collaborating with influencers to create and share content on Instagram Live, IGTV, TikTok, and Instagram Reels to build and foster digital communities. The trend is even trickling down into niche markets served by micro-influencers.
Rethink Product Offerings
As inventory and prices become more transparent, retailers will have to give consumers a reason to choose them over competitors as they will not survive otherwise. Today’s consumer seeks out retailers that provide value in innovate ways. Therefore, retailers will need to offer a unique product education and deep product expertise in an increasingly experiential environment in addition to making it easy for consumers to engage in communication, from their mobile devices while they are on the move.
Personalisation Will Be Here For Long
Personalisation has been in limelight in retail innovation for most of the decade. In 2021, this trend will continue to influence the retail landscape as retailers perceive a more holistic view of customer data. Retailers can track customer’s likes, needs, and values to provide the most relevant experiences to them. So, if a customer visits your online storefront, they should view personalized recommendations based on their recent search history and past shopping trends, both online and offline.
The retail environment is becoming more dynamic with every passing month. Consumers’ approach to purchasing decisions is rapidly evolving and competition is intensifying and entering new arenas. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented changes in the retail industry, potentially transforming the way customers shop moving forward. Therefore, retail marketers must be prepared to adapt to these trends in the coming year if they want to maintain a competitive edge in the 2021 marketplace.