The Future of Direct Marketing: Retail Marketing Tips
This post is focused on how retailers can create great marketing experiences that set their brands up for success during COVID-19 and beyond.
April 21, 2020
Retail marketers have always faced the challenge of communication with customers across multiple platforms. Web, social, mobile, mail, email and voice… with so many channels to choose from, it can be difficult to select the right combination to use in your marketing plan.
And with today’s business environment, there is a renewed need to ensure the platforms that you do choose work together to create a cohesive customer experience.
What does this mean?
Marketing must work hand-in-hand with all departments within the company, in particular sales and customer support, to maintain focus on the end consumer’s experience. In terms of accountability, marketing may be primarily responsible for customer experience, but everyone in your company plays a role in how the customer experience is formed.
“Customer experience does not stop after the sale — in fact, some of the most powerful opportunities to create loyalty and drive repurchasing and referrals are experiences with service and support after the sale is made.” – HubSpot article
With all of this in mind, the question is: how can retailers create great marketing experiences that set their brands up for success during COVID-19 and beyond?
Retail Marketing Experiences
As physical shopping options become more and more limited, many consumers are turning to online shopping to make their purchases. This change in behavior may become permanent for some, as there will likely be reluctance of some people to return to shopping in stores, even once it is safe to do so again.
As you plan for the future of retail, you may need to factor in the increased reliance on online shopping and what the customer experience looks like for your shoppers.
When you think about promoting your website, it is important to remember that while many customers will find you on their own through your SEO and paid advertising, you may need an additional website traffic boost from email and direct mail.
When reaching out across multiple platforms, keep in mind that the different channels should complement each other rather than conflict. Consistent messaging contributes to a positive customer experience by providing clarity in what you want the customer to do next.
In terms of the online shopping experience itself, it is important to make sure that your website is optimized to handle an influx of online traffic, and that your supply chain is ready for fulfillment.
When you experience any delays in production or shipping, it is important to make this clear to the consumer as they are shopping, and again when they are checking out, so there are no surprises if it takes weeks to fulfill their order.
The transparency will hopefully leave the consumer with a favorable impression of your brand, which will go a long way toward them deciding to purchase from you again in the future.
If you can master this now, you will be prepared later down the road for other surges in online shopping like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With the increased limitations you have experienced, you have probably made a lot of changes to the way that you currently operate:
- Hours of operation
- Number of employees working at a time
- How you process requests
- How you invoice for your work
To avoid interruptions in the customer experience, be sure to clearly communicate all of these changes to your customers.
While COVID-19 is still ongoing, have your policies and procedures readily available on your website and social media pages, with a number to call if they have any questions.
When your operations begin to return to normal, keep the line of communication open so that your customers are always aware of the correct procedures for working with you. By doing so, you limit any unwanted surprises that may leave the customer with an unfavorable impression of your brand.
In turn, you will set yourself up to have long-term successful interactions that result in a positive customer experience.
The Bottom Line
A great customer experience should not leave your customer with any surprises. No matter what channels you are using, remaining consistent in your messaging goes a long way toward creating positive impressions of your company.
Bonus #1: Augmented Reality
Whether you are creating a new campaign or looking to get some extra mileage from a logo or printed message, Augmented Reality helps you stand out among the crowd. Check out “Creating Augmented Reality Mailers” to learn how to easily make your mailers come alive using Augmented Reality through AReveryware.
Bonus #2: Direct Marketing Templates
Product Marketing - Short-Term Direct Mail Example
Product Marketing - Long-Term Direct Mail Example
Service Marketing - Short-Term Direct Mail Example
Service Marketing - Long-Term Direct Mail Example
Product Marketing - Short-Term Email Marketing Example
Product Marketing - Long-Term Email Marketing Example
Service Marketing - Short-Term Email Marketing Example
Service Marketing - Long-Term Email Marketing Example
Portions of this post were originally published in January 2014. Those sections have been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness, and the post has been reformatted for consistency in the new series: “The Future of Direct Marketing.”