As business owner and marketers plan their strategies for 2018, there are a lot of choices for marketing strategies and tactics. However, since marketing budgets are limited, it’s sometimes hard to choose which methods to use and which to avoid. A recent report from the National Retail Federation provides useful insights into what matters most to consumers and which tactics are the most effective.
The recently released its quarterly Consumer View report. The report gauges consumer behavior and shopping trends related to stores, online channels, customer loyalty, technology and other topics. This year’s report found that consumer had rising expectations for online and in-store retailers.
While we often think that price alone is the deciding factor for customers, the truth is the total experience matters more (though that certainly includes having a good price) According to the NRF report, the quality of customer service is also a top factor in deciding where to shop, cited by 44 percent of surveyed consumers, along with speed and simplicity of checkout (42 percent) and the ability to try out products (20 percent). Consumers said their overall experience with a brand or retailer is important in determining which to buy from and how often (79 percent each) and how loyal or connected they feel (77 percent).
Making a brand or product stand out is challenging, especially for newer entries into the market. The Consumer View report indicates that using special events is a good way to generation interest and good will among consumers. Nearly three out of five (59 percent) consumers are interested in special events retailers hold to draw customers into stores or onto websites, including the ability to try out products, exclusive access to sales, demonstrations and product tutorials. This was especially true for younger demographics. Nearly half (44 percent) of Millennial survey respondents said they were “very interested” in special events compared with 25 percent of consumers overall. And Millennial men (60 percent) were more likely to be “very” interested than Millennial women (28 percent).
“Consumers today want what they want when they want it and they don’t expect to pay a premium to get it fast,” NRF Vice President for Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews said. “When they walk into a store they want to find their item, and find it easily, especially if they’ve researched it online beforehand. And whether it’s next-day or pickup-in-store, quick delivery of online purchases at little or no extra charge is growing so fast that it’s something shoppers are coming to expect.”
The report also gave some interesting insights into how consumers felt about emerging marketing technology. Put simply, these tactics are far from mainstream at the moment. The NRF report found that fewer than a third of consumers were aware of technological innovations such as 3D printing or making purchases through social media (29 percent each), in-app store navigation (28 percent), in-store digital displays (25 percent) or retail messaging apps and online chat (24 percent).
It wasn’t all bad news for new marketing technology. About two in three consumers surveyed had tried messaging apps and chat technology for interacting with businesses. And the most technology most-cited as being useful to the shopping experience, in-app store navigation, had been used and enjoyed by three out of five (63 percent) consumers.
The new year is just starting, so there will be plenty of time to try new strategies and tactics to connect with audiences. One reason for this will be the recent changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm that was discussed in previous article.