Ever since we have entered the lockdown phase, the amount of data consumption has increased exponentially. More than 4.2 billion people worldwide are on the internet and China alone with 854 million internet users followed by India.
The increasing number of people on the internet has changed the way consumers behave and in order to cater to the new needs and requirements of the customers, businesses have also evolved in the way they operate. The recent COVID crisis has already accelerated online businesses worldwide and because of this, we can see online and offline businesses shaking hands and collaborating. This has not only benefited the businesses but also customers are experiencing better service levels with fewer efforts.
For businesses, reaching out to their customers, communicating with them and maintaining the relationship is one of the problems which were solved earlier by traditional marketing techniques. Traditional marketing techniques included traditional channels like television commercial advertisements, billboards, using print media, etc. With the changing customer preferences and the way they consume and interact with these advertisements, digital marketing has emerged as one of the most effective ways of reaching out to the customers.
On an average, a human being spends 90-120 minutes daily on the internet and the availability of people on the internet is the most important reason for brands and businesses to use digital marketing as a tool for marketing. Image Source Benefits of digital marketing over traditional marketing for retailers The most important factor for any marketing campaign is that the customers should be receptive to them. Most of the population being millennial and GenZ are not very receptive of the traditional marketing techniques used by retailers. There are a lot of advantages which digital marketing campaigns offer over traditional and the most effective one being the flexibility.
A campaign once deployed on all the traditional channels of marketing cannot be altered, modified or easily rolled back. But in the digital marketing channels, we can see the real-time performance of the campaigns and monitor them. This gives us the power to change and modify the campaigns making them more flexible and effective. Also, digital marketing is more cost-effective as compared to traditional marketing techniques. Because of the reduced cost in using digital marketing techniques, new and smaller players can also use them for increasing their sales and footfall. With everything going on the cloud, the need for infrastructure has gone down and this has reduced the capital required.
The capabilities which digital marketing tools give us are way more than the traditional techniques, and one such capability is analytics. Analytical tools not only monitor the performance of the digital marketing campaigns but also give us extra features of cross-selling and upselling of products. Although the advantages of digital marketing outweigh that of traditional techniques, not all customers are present on modern-day digital platforms. Hence, these old techniques should not be ignored and be used along with digital marketing. A proper mix of both techniques can ensure the success of retail businesses. We will now discuss which digital marketing techniques and tools can be used in retail businesses both by brick and mortar and omnichannel stores. Source-V12data.com Digital marketing in brick-and-mortar retail Many retailers prefer staying physical rather than going online.
They think it will dilute the way their existing business model runs and that their conventional customers might be apprehensive too. The key to growing in retail business still remains connecting with the customers and building relationships. Digital marketing enables businesses to build relationships and increase revenues. For brick and mortar stores, one of the advantageous tools is geo-targeting. Whenever we search on Google terms like ‘supermarkets near me’, we get a list of physical stores along with their address, contact information and their website (if available).
Retailers have to bring those searches onto their doors and this can be done only by providing correct details and fulfilling customer trust indicators i.e. the reviews of those stores. Only if the reviews of the stores are good, you will land upon the top 3 results which have the highest probability of a customer walking in. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) enables you to get your results on the top whenever a user searches for service or a product that you deal in. For this, the retailers need to have their profile registered on Google My Business and other local business directories. There are some other platforms too where these small retailers can enlist their businesses like Foursquare and Facebook. Customer reviews and rankings on these platforms can also increase the footfall of the physical brick-and-mortar stores. Image Source Geo-targeted advertising campaigns can be beneficial for these small brick-and-mortar stores as they can target customers by defining their demographics in the vicinity of their stores. For example, an electronic retail store in the vicinity of educational institutes can define the demographics of students and target them with special offers and schemes.
This gives the retailer an option to create a pull from the customers and attract them to their stores. Driving a local campaign will cost less and will give better results for these stores. But for these campaigns to be a success, stores will have to again maintain their ratings and update the address and contact information of their businesses with local online business directories. One of the biggest tools for brick-and-mortar stores is the use of social media to attract customers. Social media marketing can help them in communicating with the customers and scoring better in the reviews which ultimately results in customers giving recommendations. Image Source Digital marketing for omnichannel retailers Already existing digital presence might give the omnichannel retailers an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores.
The benefits of geo-targeting are relevant to omnichannel retailers too as they can use it for increasing the footfall on their physical stores. Because of their eCommerce channels, the need for using digital marketing tools is higher for these retailers. Some of the examples of how digital marketing is beneficial for omnichannel retailers are listed below:
1. Digital marketing campaigns Using digital marketing campaigns will bring more crowds on eCommerce websites and will increase the probability of increased sales. These campaigns can also be used to convey new offers and schemes available on all channels.
2. Use of analytics Omnichannel retailers can use the data which they get online to develop strategies for other channels. The analytical tools give them an insight into how customers are responding to certain products and services and then these insights can be used to manage other systems like inventory management.
3. Email marketing Using emails to communicate with customers is one of the most effective ways even today. Using the contact information and email addresses of the customers (obtained with consent), the retailers can get in touch with the customers to provide the latest information about products and services or even let customers track their orders real-time.
4. Mobile Application Most of the data consumption happens through smartphones these days. So, targeting advertisements to mobile phones can be one of the effective ways. New technologies like beacons and AR/CR interacting with customers through a mobile application can also be effective in providing a personalized experience to the customers.
Image Source These beacons are small Bluetooth devices which send out alerts and advertisements to the mobile phones in the proximity. We might have seen an advertisement for Godrej Properties in a cab while we are near an existing property developed by Godrej. These beacons can be used to send out advertisements and offer to nearby customers increasing their chances of them walking into the store or diverting interests to their websites.
Digital marketing enables retail businesses to reach out to their customers and even provide a seamless personalized experience to them in a cost-effective manner. The tools and technologies of digital marketing also help businesses come up with better marketing strategies by providing data insights with the help of analytical tools. We cannot totally eliminate the use of traditional marketing techniques because there is a large portion of our population away from the internet and smartphones. An optimal mix of both traditional and digital marketing techniques will help brands serve their customers better leading to more business and better profits and in beating the competition.
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