Where do your customers spend their precious free time – and, more importantly, their money? The answer is increasingly on digital channels, especially websites and apps on mobile devices.
The numbers bear this out – in 2018, total worldwide sales revenue generated from within apps grew by 63% YOY. eMarketer forecasts that US retail mobile commerce sales will reach $268 billion this year, up nearly 30% from 2018. By 2020, that figure will increase to $338 billion and account for nearly half of total US retail ecommerce sales. As this digital channel growth shows no sign of slowing down, it represents a significant revenue opportunity for brands, retailers and other consumer-facing businesses.
In the race to capture some of this growth, only those businesses with an effective digital strategy will win. But what does an effective strategy look like and how can businesses successfully create and execute against it?
Brands and marketers across the retail, grocery and food and beverage (F&B) sectors should track consumer behavior to identify what works at driving customer engagement and purchases online. A recent NRF and Forrester Research study found consumer demand for personalization and omnichannel shopping remains strong year on year.
This mirrors our own research, where we surveyed over 4,000 consumers to study the impact of digital on their shopping journeys. In doing so we identified what attributes of a digital strategy today’s tech-enabled customers respond most positively to:
Our research found digital promotions, discounts or rewards that are relevant to consumers have the most influence on where they shop (second only to price). The key to delivering these types of offers is to know what offer will be relevant to which customer. To gain this understanding, businesses need technology to connect their customer data from across all of their marketing touchpoints (e.g., social, email, website) in a centralized platform. This allows for a more holistic, single view of each customer’s activity across all channels. Armed with these insights, businesses can create and maintain a positive relationship with their customers tailored by channel to deliver more relevant offers in a more timely manner, because that engagement is informed by the individual customer’s wants, needs and preferences.
Nearly all (90%) consumers say utility is the most important factor when deciding whether to redeem an offer or promotion, according to our research. By that, we mean something that the consumer would consider useful, such as wayfinding or scan-and-go-type payments. In terms of a digital strategy, this means businesses need to consider what is useful to their customers from both an offer perspective, as well as in terms of features and functionality. Consider that a grocer could include a useful feature in its mobile app such as a shopping list generator, for example. This shopping list generator, while useful to the customer from a functional perspective, also gives the business a view on that customer’s favorite products and brands, enabling it to send them tailored offers that are relevant to the products and brands they already have an interest in. Maybe the customer always adds a box of cereal to their shopping list? Knowing this information, the business can send that customer an offer for that exact brand of cereal, delivered via an app, email or paper coupon, just as their last box is about to run out. These types of useful offers – and useful features – need to be considered. Otherwise businesses risk wasting resources on apps or offers that consumers can simply ignore.
Our research shows that digital channels have overtaken physical as consumer’s ‘go-to’ for product search and discovery; 67% search for products in a conventional store or shop, compared to searching on desktop (68%), mobile (46%) and tablet (27%). To cater to this trend and encourage consumers from the research phase of their purchase journey into the intent stage, businesses need to integrate digital (and mobile) in an omnichannel approach. Adapting this approach to offer deployment ensures that, whichever channel a customer chooses to engage through, the business can target them appropriately, right then and there. This convenience is a key factor in an end customer’s willingness to act on an offer and, in turn, a business’s ability to drive revenue.
According to our research, 44% of consumers state that timeliness is important to whether they use a promotion. Businesses can turn to mobile devices to respond to this preference – mobile is adept at delivering offers in real time that reach consumers at the precise time and location where they are most likely to engage and act. Rather than sending out a generic mass discount, businesses can send relevant offers to consumers’ mobile devices – and using geotargeting technology, those offers are automatically delivered only when consumers are within a certain radius of their – or their competitor’s – store. This is an example of “marketing in the now,” and has emerged as an effective digital strategy to increase footfall, optimize customer engagement and generate revenue in-store.
For more marketing insight to help your business stay ahead of the digital curve, keep up to date with our latest research, including our last white paper, “The Digital Imperative – Harnessing the Power of Now with Performance Driven Marketing.” It explores how shifting to digital can satisfy consumer expectations, using examples of Eagle Eye client companies who have successfully connected with customers through digital promotions.
Anthony Stevenson is the International New Business Director at Eagle Eye