Monday, September 10, 2012
The customer experience. Mere invocation of the words makes seasoned retail marketers misty for the days when they controlled every aspect of the customer’s journey from parking lot to purchase. Today, however, the customer experience that retailer’s work so hard to create is under siege, thanks to internet-enabled smartphones, barcode scanning apps, and comparison shopping tools. Indeed, the balance of informational power has shifted to consumers, and retailers are scrambling to fend off competition in every aisle of their own stores.
For those retailers hoping to avoid a fate similar to that of Borders Australia, and Angus & Robertson, all eyes are focused on optimisation. Revenue optimisation. Website optimization. Brand optimization. Product optimization. Loyalty optimization. To survive and thrive, retailers must maximize returns on their existing investments while driving innovation that will keep their brand fresh and their customers loyal.
Lost for many retailers in this pressure-packed environment is another form of optimization—audience optimization. Today’s retailers are no longer creatures of mass media alone. To thrive and survive, they must earn and own audiences across an amazing array of email, mobile and social channels. The retail brands that can best leverage their consumer touchpoints to build, nurture, and grow their audiences won’t just have direct lines of communications to potential customers, they’ll have a distinct competitive advantage over competitors who fail to build such audiences.
Retail Touchpoints Exposed: Australia! is a new installment in the ExactTarget’s SUBSCRIBERS, FANS, & FOLLOWERS research series. In the infographic below, we share with you the findings of our in-depth study of the fastest growing retailers in Australia. Our objective is to document how and whether these retailers are seeking to build and engage proprietary consumer audiences in ongoing email, mobile, and social communications.
To do this, we tracked each retailer’s efforts at five specific retail consumer touchpoints: (1.) In-Store, (2.) Website, (3.) Email, (4.) Social Networks, and (5.) Mobile Channels.
While one might automatically assume that the fastest growing retailers are fully leveraging their touchpoints to maximize both the size and engagement of proprietary email, mobile, and social audiences, we found quite the opposite. Consider that of the fastest growing retailers with brick and mortar stores, only:
- 0% used in-store signage to promote email
- 7% used in-store signage to promote their social communities on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- 15% sought email opt-in at point-of-purchase
- 20% had interactive displays within the store
Online, the story was equally striking. Among the Hot 100 Retailers with eCommerce websites, only:
- Zero sent cart abandonment emails
- 62% acquired email on their website
- 54% of retailers had Pinterest accounts
- 5 hour response time for brands on Facebook
If there is one lesson to be learned during the research, it is that even the fastest growing retailers have room to improve their level of consumer engagement before, during, and after the initial sale. By exposing where retail touchpoints could be better leveraged to build engaged audiences, we hope to inspire marketers of all stripes—retail or otherwise—to embrace the full potential that email, mobile, and social channels hold for their organizations.
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