It is no secret that today’s consumers are more connected than ever. In fact, already in 2013 smartphone penetration in the UK exceeds 60% (Nielsen 2013). This trend of hyperconnectivity means that consumers are also changing the way they shop, especially during key shopping times like the back to school season – the second-largest shopping season for retailers. Brands need to tailor their outreach across multiple platforms to reach these on-the-go back-to-school shoppers at optimal times and places.
By using smart marketing strategies, channels and tools, brands can connect with parents shopping for back-to-school essentials and create a personal experience that will serve as a building block to a lasting customer relationship.
Here’s a quick look at how across some of today’s top marketing channels.
The rapid growth of personal technology that consumers are using to engage is tremendous. Digital devices are pervasive, creating a new age for digital marketers. While consumer’s adoption of digital devices and growing internet usage may not be surprising, the rate at which consumers are leveraging digital channels for shopping certainly is. Depending on sources, experts estimate that anywhere between 60%-90% of in-store purchases are influenced by the web (Hyperconnected Consumer, ExactTarget 2012).
For parents shopping for their children’s back-to-school items, time is precious. Parents not only have to be on trend, with the right equipment and clothing, but also are on the go meaning that marketers need to ensure that their brand’s website is mobile-ready.
Email is a fantastic tool to engage new and existing customers, as it is a great channel to extend their shopping experience to the inbox with engaging and dynamic content.
Marketers need to make their communication via email timely and relevant. Knowing your audience is important, especially at a time when parents are busy. Brands that optimise emails by offering content such as tips of trends and special offers at the right time, across the preferred digital channels will set themselves apart from their competitors.
To truly connect with the consumer and drive continual engagement, channel specific silos of consumer data needs to be connected. As any parent will tell you, children grow and change taste at an alarming rate, so marketers need to be aware that year on year, month on month, a parent’s needs will change. Databases need to continually update consumer’s preferences and follow them on a journey to ensure product recommendations are suited. As brand relationships develop, recommendations delivered via email, SMS, social media and other preferred channels become even more tailored based on data gathered via observation of browsing and purchasing behavior. The more marketers demonstrate an understanding of specific and personal interests and habits the more customers will give back in the form of patronage.
It is vital that retailers make the mobile experience simple and interactive so that each and every email is easy to view. Websites and email need to be mobile optimised, to increase usability and improve the overall customer experience. Marketers need to be aware of their target audience; parents want simple and direct content that provides the information they need in a single glance to overcome the distractions that back-to-school season brings.
More than 40% of emails are opened on a mobile device and responsive design is an integral part of building, maintaining and growing a subscriber base (Litmus, 2013). If your emails aren’t optimised for viewing on a mobile device, you’re already behind.
Time for a Lesson Plan
Successful marketers will take advantage of the back-to-school period, helping parents to select the right products for their child with as little hassle as possible. Ensuring an easy and tailored service will make the customer a repeat customer. This will ensure that they come back to the brand again and again, placing a positive image of that helpful store in their mind. Marketers need to use tools to connect to customers ensuring the right communication is directed to the right customer.