Retail Observer

June 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM JUNE 2021 46 D igital media channels have forever changed how we market to consumers. And they continue to evolve daily as we unpack and analyze the data behind our marketing strategies. The shift from traditional media to digital media channels drove a need for a multi-channel marketing strategy. As the media opportunities grew, we shifted to omnichannel because the best strategy was to be everywhere, all the time and with the same, consistent message. More is always better – right? Enter data… The rapid engagement of digital marketing by businesses and consumers has given us greater insight into consumer behavior at a faster rate than ever before – and it's not slowing. The pandemic has accelerated the move to a digital-first mentality faster than anyone could have predicted. When real-time data and analytics began to drive our marketing strategies, we realized that trying to be everywhere for every customer wasn't creating the best experience or the highest return on investment. Data has allowed us to identify the most effective channels to reach customers, with engaging and relevant content. Optichannel marketing evolved from omnichannel, and we now know it's no longer necessary to be in all channels. Instead, we focus on highly effective channels based on data signals. In addition to an enhanced consumer experience, our advertising investment produces a greater return, with a focus on the channels that our customers are the most engaged with. To understand how we can implement an optichannel marketing strategy, we have to first understand how each of the media channels is used by consumers today, and by which consumers. For example, text messaging is a great communication tool for short, urgent messages. The open rate for texts is over 98%, while email averages 20% . With this information, we think about the type of content that we would send a customer by text. Demand is high for all of our categories and inventory is low. This could be a great channel to notify a customer of a recent shipment of products they were asking about. Text could also be a great tool to alert customers of flash sales, ending promotional periods, and other time-sensitive notifications. Social media marketing has proven to be extremely effective, especially during the last year while social distancing kept us apart. According to Think With Google, searches for "support local businesses" grew globally by more than 2,000x year-over-year. Social media platforms are a great channel to remind consumers that you're part of their community. To create an optimal customer experience, it's important to know the age demographic that utilizes each platform, and create a custom message that resonates with each one. End to end, the optichannel experience could look something like this: We start by sending out an email about our current promotion. Our customer clicks on the ad, then clicks on a product in the ad. When they leave our site, they are served with an ad on Facebook for the exact product they viewed. Next, we serve them a Google Shopping ad for that product as well as similar products. Then we serve a display ad that showcases the product in a lifestyle image. Finally, we send a follow-up text message with a "limited availability" notice to create a sense of urgency around the product they were interested in. When they return to the site, we use chat messages customized with information from their browsing history to initiate a conversation. The key to a successful optichannel marketing strategy is the availability of first-party data. We work diligently to aggregate consumer behavior data across all digital channels in order to refine content and messaging. The more readily available this data becomes, the more accurate and effective our strategy is. As you plan your marketing for the remainder of this year, I hope you'll look for more opportunities to implement an optichannel strategy, and I would love to hear the impact it has on your results. Jennifer Danko Digital Service Trends Jennifer Danko, Senior Vice President, Optichannel Technology RO WITH OMNICHANNEL VS. OPTICHANNEL, DATA IS THE DIFFERENCE

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