No retail industry should shy away from digital marketing. Else, the retail industry will remain a Bonsai for the rest of its short life. According to knowledgeable people, the prime objective of digital marketing is to “take advantage of the techniques out of the offline world and translate them into the online world by applying different marketing strategies.”
Let’s try to get to know what digital marketing is in the retail industry? The answer is digital marketing is why retailers are in the pink of their health.
Mobile apps are behind the rampaging retail sales. How about smartphones? Aren’t smarter smartphones driving retail sales? No one can deny that, not if that person is holding a mobile instrument close to his chest. The mobile is everywhere. Even kids are deciding which school bag to pick from looking at images of schoolbags on website-friendly smartphones. It is faster shopping and the shopping experience is being touted in kitty parties where matronly women debate the latest fashion-wear. Yes, the mobile is the mother of all connectors, linking retail outlets to digital channels.
So, once again, what are the trends in the retail industry? The answer is not going to make sense to every person with basic common sense, at least not when told of retail trends like augmented reality (AR), machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Utter those words loudly or in a whisper and the response from most people would not be intelligible.
People will have heard of AI and, maybe, of machine learning, but what is ‘Augmented Reality, pray to tell? Apparently, AR has something to do with Facebook, and AR in retail is not new and Facebook made “some big AR moves in 2018.” Of late, it is being said, AR has gone from “nice-to-have” to “an essential part of retailers’ e-commerce offerings.” So, most of us missed this trend in retail. But now we know!
So, all over again, what is digital retail? A series of experiences, says a website, which allows customers to engage with a plethora of websites during his/her purchasing journey. It is also another name for ‘website-hopping’—a series of website experiences, one leading into the other and so on and so forth.
For example, how many knew that Instagram is a hit with kids and, therefore, digital marketing of anything to do with children will find Instagram topping the list of beltways to digital marketing of kids-wear and other kid-stuff, like online video games. Ask a Chinese person and he will tell you better, and more!
Mind you, though, good content still matters and interactive content is on its way to becoming mainstream. Of course, email is getting more personalized in every child’s playbook, and it remains a top trend in digital marketing in retail. There is also more about chatbots and customer service and Facebook peaking, and a video is no longer an option but a must. The fact of the matter is digital trends are multiplying and that is also a trend!
What is the biggest trend? Video marketing, says the bot with the brightest eyes, color tinging the irises. Video marketing will remain a top trend for at least a decade. According to one honcho, 60% of businesses use video in the retail market, and for 61% video is an extremely, extremely important marketing strategy. People look at retail marketing videos and are mesmerized, like some freak from outer space has just then zoomed into view!
So, on with the latest digital marketing for retail trends! The pandemic has changed the way we live and interact. Ecommerce is booming, maybe a conspiracy with the coronavirus! Masked shoppers worldwide are dancing in the streets. Retail marketers are living a bonanza. The online shopping experience is cool. Shop from the washroom or shop from the terrace. Shop at any ungodly or unworldly hour! Technological advances in retail are driving sales channels to sign new partnerships—there is a whole lot happening in digital marketing in retail.
Covid-19 has pushed social online shopping to retail trend #1. And shopping using the mobile or smartphone tops this trend. Folks confess they have turned more digital in the last nearly two years and shopping by smartphone doesn’t seem to have any upper limit. This gels with the observation that customers everywhere are buying online at least once a day. Social commerce or shopping via a Social Media app is another contribution due to the coronavirus.
There can’t be a weirder homage paid to Covid-19—Tik Tok partnering with Shopify and Snapchat Native Stores chatting away merrily. Social commerce is trending in retail digital marketing in the USA. Shops can be accessed on Facebook, these online shops are festooned with colorful banners and images and buttons. It is global! The user base is exponential and in outer space, so to speak.
Among other trends, let’s not forget the influencers and their tie-ups with brands. It’s new and it has caught on famously in the last year or so. Influencer content is driving retail sales. The influencer’s opinion carries retail weight. Customers trust film and pop stars—and YouTubers. Yup! Brands backed by influencers are getting the high-five. Education and entertainment-related retail are especially doting on influencers. And aided by video, the influencer-brand combination is dynamite!
Now, how many have heard of online stores in offline spaces? It is a retail trend in digital marketing. Almost all big apparel brands with online stores have opened offline stores. Shoppers want to get a physical feel of the fabric. Amazon has the Amazon Fresh grocery stores—combining ease of eCommerce with the personal touch of brick and mortar. Anything to stay relevant in this today’s digital world.
Finally, let’s round off with ‘AR-powered shopping experiences’, yet another digital marketing trend. Augmented reality is when the reality is enhanced and zoomed into our lives with digital finesse, leaving at least the children among us round-eyed! Retailers are maximizing AR technology to marry digital with the physical.
AR spurred shopping is not just limited to mega-brands, retailers of all grades are taking advantage—of leveraging AR to stay in the competition. AR experiences to convert leads into customers are something else—out of this world, say Augmented Reality enthusiasts.
If you're not getting the results you want from your marketing, it may be time to hire a marketing consultant. Marketing consultants help your company develop a strategy that will generate more leads and sales for your business.
Digital Piloto, December 5, 2021
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