This week, retail professionals gathered in Dallas for Shop.org, Retail’s Digital Summit. Attendees heard from retailers leading the way in this quickly evolving digital world. Presentations from J.C. Penney, True&Co, Rocksbox, Google, Facebook and many more brands covered topics ranging from omnichannel integration to mobile to reaching millennials.
Here are a few key takeaways from the event for those who weren’t able to make it.
Facebook’s Director of Product Marketing Maz Sharafi thinks of mobile as a consumer behavior, not a technology or channel. Because of this, brands need to market to people, not to the device they're using.
Sharafi shared some statistics to get retailers thinking about a mobile-first strategy:
- Ninety percent of people access a mobile device while shopping.
- Seventy-four percent of millennials take action after being influenced by a mobile post.
- One-third of people say they’ve purchased from a local store based on an ad Facebook served to them.
- Forty-nine percent of store purchases are influenced by digital interactions — 57 percent of those are on mobile.
Sharafi further pushed retailers towards adopting a mobile-first mind-set by noting they have 30 billion moments to reach their target audience throughout the day. Each mobile phone owner picks up the device anywhere from 150-200 times every day.
According to April Anderson, managing director of branded manufacturers for Google, the tech company is even changing its algorithms to reflect mobile’s impact on search. Anderson says that currently, 20 percent of mobile searches are voice searches, meaning they're full sentences and longer than a regular, typed keyword search.
The vast majority of consumers’ first impressions happen on mobile. Even if your customers are converting on desktop or in-store, you need to have a mobile plan to capture their attention.
With the rise of smartphones, consumers are now able to more easily control the content and information they're consuming. They follow who they want on social media and have the ability to shop any brand at the palm of their hand, 24/7.
“Five years ago, shopping was a special occasion," said Bindu Shah, vice president of digital marketing for Sephora. "Now, it’s a part of everyday life.”
Sephora looks at search data to determine what’s on the shopper’s mind at that exact moment. Shah says that based on what a particular shopper is searching for, the beauty brand can determine what phase of the buying journey she’s in and how long it will take for her to convert.
It can be difficult for marketers to answer their CFOs’ questions about attribution when it comes to certain marketing tactics. For example, it's still a challenge to quantify the return on investment for social media, influencers and content marketing.
Jennifer Jost, director of digital marketing for PetSmart, says her team has a “testing mentality,” but gets executive buy-in on the testing. She suggests that retailers should know every little detail about what they're testing, why they're testing it and what the outcome is, then be able to explain it to their executives in one or two sentences.
This approach to testing provides Jost a better chance of getting the PetSmart executives making final decisions to be more inclined to buy into new ideas.
“Don’t get hung up on attribution,” explains Jost.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) aren't screens on phones; they're environments in which people consume media. Mitch Joel, president of Mirum, gave retailers seven reasons to care about AR and VR:
- You have the chance to be one of the first brands doing AR/VR.
- You have the ability to move a lever with experiential marketing like never before. For example, you can use AR/VR to control how products are experienced in-store.
- Good PR play: Brands doing AR/VR get a ton of media attention. It also shows consumers you’re an innovative and tech-first brand.
- Training: Retailers can train their store associates or warehouse employees in an array of situations and spaces without having to be in them.
- Gaming (easily integrated in AR/VR) is a powerful way to engage customers.
- AR/VR allows brands to create new products or services to sell.
- Push the current marketing and technology boundaries.
However, Joel did warn retailers not to use technology just for technology’s sake. Johanna Marcus, senior director of Sephora’s Innovation Lab, added to that, saying customers know when retailers are just trying to do something because it’s the next big, shiny object.
Holiday 2016 is almost here. Make sure you're prepared for it by following these tips from some of the top retailers and experts in the industry.