While retailers can take full advantage of their marketing plan through email and loyalty programs, both must work seamlessly across touch points or they run the risk of disappointing customers, according to a study by the National Retail Federation, in conjunction with FitForCommerce.
Helping your customers understand what you have to offer them is important, so retailers need to have a well-executed marketing plan in place, the report found. During the holiday season, the report stated, it is crucial to use smart omnichannel marketing tactics to cut through the holiday promotional noise to let consumers know what you have to offer.
Email allows the retailer to directly engage with consumers and is most effective. For example, over half of shoppers are likely to take advantage of an email offer for free shipping (53%) and 545% are likely to take advantage of an email offer for free shipping, according to UPS and comScore.
Loyalty programs are powerful when they work across channels and devices because of their ability to engage and later re-engage with customers over the long term.
During holiday 2014, 32.4% of consumers were made of aware of websites through email, 30% as a prior customer, and 15.9% via search engine results, among other ways.
Omnichannel marketing is still a work in progress. The study found that email leads as a “veteran” marketing option.
Movable Ink notes that in the first quarter of 2015, 67% of emails were opened on a mobile device, with opens on smartphones peaking in the early morning, while tablet opens tended to be higher in the evening, still lower than smartphones overall.
Email is still evolving however. Forty percent of retailers provide consumers an incentive to sign up for emails. So for those who don’t offer it, it’s a missed opportunity to stay in touch with a visitor who may otherwise disappear.
More than half of retailers have optimized email for mobile devices, the report found. Those who haven’t are likely to start facing higher delete and unsubscribe rates as readers opt out of unreadable marketing missives.
Responsive design layouts may help but retailers need to test thoroughly to understand what works best for consumers.
Cross-channel loyalty is also progressing. Loyalty programs are compatible across touchpoints, letting consumers accumulate and redeem points and rewards wherever they choose to interact with the retailer, according to the report.