Consumers of the world are continuously adapting to the rapid pace of mobile technology development. With this, customer purchase behaviors are evolving, too, due to their ownership of several channels for purchasing. This, sensibly, means that retail marketing must also adapt its strategies in order to stay competitive. However, there are a few misconceptions about the current state of the retail marketing landscape. These are worth reviewing so as to be able to effect appropriate actions towards transitioning along with the evolution of business.
Misconception #1: In the future, everything will be digital. It’s been heralded that virtually all growth in sales has come forth through the online channels. With this statement, the retail masses could easily assume that the next sensible step is to go all-in on digital media. Be wary, though, as that first statement does not accurately depict the whole picture. The reality is that, as consumers become more and more tech savvy and thus utilizing digital technology in choosing and researching their options, it is getting more and more difficult to distinguish between an online sale and an offline one. Retailers such as Nordstrom are leaders in integrating online and offline marketing initiatives while other retailers have yet to catch up. In conclusion, it is way more correct to say that online/offline integration will become the norm in retail in the near future.
Misconception #2: Online retail is a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. While it’s true that multiple device connectivity or synchronicity allows for “shopping around”, this can likewise be leveraged upon by the easily adapting retailer. Offering customers a seamless shopping experience across all devices they possibly own actually drives brand loyalty… potentially leading to more investments. This is possible with integrating abandonment rates reduction, targeted offers, and suggestive cross- and up-selling offers to the shopping process. Research actually saw that customers who shop across devices spend 3-4 times more. So, instead of a nosedive in prices, retail marketers who are successful in integrating “omnichannel” selling, there is actually an increase in customer lifetime value.
Misconception #3: No one uses Personal Computers to shop anymore. The notion is that tablets and smartphones are taking over all aspects once dominated by personal computing, including online shopping. However, mobile commerce has not completely eliminated the usefulness of PCs, contrary to this myth. Online research data suggests that the average revenue per user on a desktop is actually up 12% in the last year even though time spent working on desktop PCs continues to decline. This means that customers continue to make large purchases with their desktop PCs and make the smaller purchases through the handheld devices. Desktop workstations are still the predominant device for a larger portion of conversions. Instead of solely focusing on mobile handheld devices in terms of marketing, it makes more sense to focus on meeting customer demands across ALL the devices they use.
The retail marketers that come out on top will of course be those who are able to convert cross-device website visitors into paying customers by understanding how long it takes after the first contact to drive the decision to purchase. Utilizing geo-location data will also vastly improve retail marketers’ understanding of customer behavior.