About a month ago, I posted a blog about the changing dynamic of digitally native brands. Brands that started and found great success online – think Allbirds, Away, Outdoor Voices – are now shifting their brand position to include brick and mortar stores. At the same time, we’re constantly seeing headlines about consumers, millennials, in particular, shifting more and more toward online shopping. We’re bombarded with headlines like “…malls see tsunami of store closures, falling traffic,” “These haunting photos of the retail apocalypse reveal a new normal in America…” and “Malls are doomed: 25% will be gone in 5 years.”
So, if everything is pointing towards abandoning storefront, why are successful companies investing in these new brick and mortar locations?
It’s no question that consumers are shifting their spending dollars towards e-commerce, consumers will spend $586.92 billion on e-commerce in 2019, representing 10.7% of all US retail spending (a 14% increase from 2018). However, brick and mortar retail still account for the remaining 89.3% of total US retail spending. Brands shouldn’t shy away from opening up brick-and-mortar locations, they just need to 1.) ensure they understand where brick-and-mortar fits within the modern customer journey and 2.) ensure they can reach consumers no matter where they are at along the customer journey.
The modern customer journey doesn’t start and stop online, today it continues beyond the screen to include in-store experiences and purchases. Here are three things marketers should keep in mind when building out a comprehensive marketing plan that encompasses the entire consumer journey:
1. The customer journey is changing: The traditional customer journey was a straight path outlined as awareness, familiarity, consideration, and purchase. However, with the increase in brand touchpoints, there is no longer a uniform customer journey. What was once a straight line to purchase, is now more of a loop. The customer journey loop requires brands to interact with the consumers long before and long after a purchase is made. Even after a purchase, customers continue to read reviews and look at competitor products, so brands need to continue their conversation and work even harder in hopes of eventually winning that customer loyalty.
2. Design an omnichannel marketing strategy: Today, the options for brands to tell their stories extends beyond print, out-of-home, and TV placements to include digital advertising buys like display, search, and social. A modern approach to advertising is no longer about reaching people in siloed channels. It’s increasingly about reaching real people with the flexibility to meet audiences wherever the are across the customer journey.
Additionally, brands need to incorporate personalization ads and experiences, based on where a customer is in the journey as mentioned above. For example, programmatic advertising allows brands to target consumers based on the products they’ve looked at, past purchases and so much more.
3. Look beyond 3rd party data alone: There is no single digital tactic that can magically drive growth, but a data-driven marketing strategy is a critical aspect of any successful brand’s marketing DNA. Third-party data has become table-stakes. Thinking beyond third-party data expands the area of opportunities for marketers by enabling them to go beyond a pre-packaged audience. Consider layering on the following data sources to generate audience models that can be used in omnichannel marketing campaigns that help acquire new customers:
- 1st party CRM data
- Geo-location data
- App-ownership data
- Social media data
With newly emerging touchpoints, like shoppable ads on social media, brands are constantly challenged to stay in step with the modern customer journey. Finding a digital partner that can help you navigate this challenge and can make your job a little bit easier. To get started with streamlining your omnichannel marketing plan, contact us today.