Addressing Your Retail Woes: How to Outshine the Competition This Holiday Season
The long awaited time of the year is finally here, and with giants like Amazon.com taking a stronghold on the market retailers will need to put their best foot forward to rise above this holiday shopping season. This year, Americans spent around $3 billion online between Prime Day and Labor Day, and Black Friday is projected to be the busiest shopping day of the year. With this in mind, retailers need to evaluate their approach to the holiday season frenzy. Here are some trends retailers need to keep in mind this holiday season.
Consider new technologies like voice assistants.
Voice assistants have become largely integrated into our homes. Nearly a quarter of U.S. households own a smart speaker. While consumers are still mostly using smart speakers to listen to music or ask for the weather forecast, 30 percent are using voice to inform their purchase decisions through research or adding items to shopping lists. This provides the perfect opportunity for retailers to share recommendations to their customers in the convenience of their homes. This may include providing product details, discounts and helping customers find items they’re looking for in a more seamless way. Retailers that dabble with voice will gain greater advantage in reaching customers at every touchpoint. Leveraging this emerging technology might just give you the upper hand you’ve been looking for in elevating your online shopping experience.
Stay ahead with marketing campaigns that are mobile optimized.
With 77 percent of Americans using smartphones, 88 percent using the internet and 69 percent using social media, retailers need to be prepared to engage with customers right at their fingertips. The quick rise in in mobile engagement has left some retailers behind as they largely focused on optimizing content on their desktops. Leveraging mobile ahead of the holiday season will be crucial. For example, retailers unable to provide product images that load quickly on their mobile site or a seamless experience that mimics that of a desktop experience will fall behind. Furthermore, a distorted mobile experience might be the deal breaker on whether consumers follow through with their purchase.
Provide content that's unique to each customer.
Personalization has become a central driving force in customer experience, however, retailers continue to grapple with best practices in providing such experience. What does personalization look like and how can retailers ensure they’re delivering truly unique digital experiences this holiday season?
Personalization in the age of increased mobile use means providing curated experiences that provide customers recommendations and special discounts based on their interests or the products they’re searching for. Providing truly unique digital content that connects customers to your brand will set you apart from a largely crowded marketplace this holiday season.
Provide exceptional storefront experiences online to win over customers.
This may also include incorporating content that's dynamic into your marketing campaigns. As consumers become largely distracted, especially during the holiday season, it will be critical to set yourself apart from the competition. Customer service will help you achieve that, as well as content that provides customers with interactive experiences and segments them based on their interests. One campaign doesn’t fit all, and you’ll need to understand how to reach customers based on their preferences. For example, e-commerce provides consumers with the convenience of making last-minute purchases right at their fingertips, and retailers will be tasked with providing shopping experiences that help customers connect with products they're unable to touch, feel or try on. As a result, you should consider how leveraging video; 360-degree images; and zoom in, zoom out capabilities to help customers better understand product capabilities.
The Bottom Line
The holiday season can make or break your 2018 sales. Providing customers with what they’re looking for right when and where they're looking for it will set your business apart from the competition. You can put an edgier twist to your holiday marketing strategies by using technologies that can provide customers with recommendations in a less invasive form. The search to create a well-balanced approach to customer shopping experiences will continue into 2019. Having a unique strategy that focuses on exceptional customer experiences this holiday season is bound to put you ahead of the competition.
Rory Dennis is the co-founder and general manager, North America, of Amplience, a content management solution for brands and retailers.
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Rory Dennis, Co-Founder & GM, North America, Amplience
Rory co-founded Amplience and is GM of Amplience in the United States, developing Amplience's presence in North America. Rory previously worked as Business Development Manager for O2 Telefonica's Interactive Media Team.