As retail brands gear up for the busiest periods of the year, mobile is proving more vital than ever to capture festive shoppers and drive online sales.
According to an Accenture survey of UK consumers, 34 percent of respondents believe shopping with a mobile device is a useful way to compare prices while in store and leads to better discounts. As the physical and digital retail worlds continue to integrate, retailers need to look to capture these consumers across multiple channels.
Whilst many have started to implement processes, it is clear a number are still playing catch-up. So what can these retail brands do to quickly target and engage this critical audience?
The multi-screen approach
With rapid technological advancements taking place in the past few years alone, retailers now face a generation of consumers who are constantly connected to their devices. Whether they are waking up to check their smartphones, or falling asleep watching a programme on their tablet, people are always switched on. This new state of intensive connectivity means retailers need to adapt their approach to marketing.
Whereas traditionally retailers utilised different approaches to offline and online marketing, this couldn’t be more different today. Consumers have come to expect a unified cross-channel approach along their path to purchase. If they begin their journey on a tablet, there is a presumption that they can continue this experience via a phone call or even across social media platforms like Twitter.
The path to purchase is no longer a smooth one-dimensional journey and retailers now need to deliver a seamless brand experience across multiple touch points. Disjointed customer journeys, inconsistent messaging and varying brand experiences can trigger a user to abandon their purchase or even drive them to competitor sites that are only a click away. It is more crucial than ever for retailers to truly understand their audiences.
Bulk-targeting audiences is no longer enough, they need to plug-in to individuals and directly engage with them to break through the noise of the festive period. Enter programmatic advertising: technology that enables retailers to track individuals and target them with personalised and relevant messages across all mobile devices.
‘Tis the season for big data and programmatic marketing technologies
Big data is very much on-trend across all business units at the moment. For retailers, this couldn’t be more prominent. Understanding consumer behaviour is essential as well as determining return on investment. With traditional channels making it difficult to link behaviour with exposure, in contrast programmatic utilises this big data and enables a wealth of insights to be garnered.
Put simply, programmatic advertising is about the automatic buying and selling of media opportunities on digital platforms. Instead of having an individual at the end of the phone who sells inventory, the whole process is automated. This allows retailers to deliver a targeted message to the right person, on the right channel, at the right time to achieve a desired call-to-action.
Programmatic takes account of the fundamental marketing principles of segmentation and targeting. It is actually one of the easiest and most effective routes to reach the right consumer at the right time by selecting them based on their individual characteristics rather than what they are looking at. So don’t be overwhelmed by the technology and industry jargon with terms like real-time bidding and demand-side platform regularly banded about.
Retailers that implement a programmatic approach will begin to develop a better understanding of the path to purchase, effectively engage with customers, enhance content, as well as collecting actionable insights that are critical for enhancing customer loyalty.
Engage with consumers in time for Christmas
Programmatic technology is continually learning and adapting to consumer insights. By tracking every aspect of an individual impression, including the user profile, the time-of-day it was viewed, and the platform it was viewed on, programmatic enables retailers to see the entire overview of the process that led to the engagement of each individual.
This level of insight means that marketers are given the data they need to adapt campaigns and control which exchanges they invest across, thus offering greater efficiencies and minimising wasted investment.
Savvy retail marketers who are willing to move beyond traditional marketing tactics and invest in programmatic now stand to earn big gains in time for Christmas. Programmatic has the ability to instantly provide insights and metrics that can direct retailers to relevant individuals and provide instant returns.
With increasing numbers of advertisers moving all of their budgets to programmatic in line with ad exchanges making their entire inventory available, the race is on to take advantage in festive season.
By Charlie Faulkner, Head of EMEA and APAC, Manage.com