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Omnichannel Retail: How to create a content strategy to foster customer loyalty and boost sales

Seize Digital
Author: Miya Knights

This penultimate Eagle Eye blog serialising our CEO, Tim Mason’s new book, Omnichannel Retail: How to Build Winning Stores in a Digital World, tackles the critical subject of content that is fit for the digital age.

Up to this point, Tim has been at pains to spell out the importance of knowing your customers to understand and capitalise on why they buy what they do. This is why traditional loyalty schemes have been so successful.

That was when consumer-facing businesses relied on a physical retail presence as their main sales channel. Stores are still vital today. But they must also enable customers to find their products and services online.

Once a store, bar, showroom, etc. can be found online, it then becomes essential to augment the physical customer experience with a digital layer anytime customers decide to pay a visit using a ‘mobile makeover’.

Content to consistently engage customers and improve loyalty

The objective of digitally enabling and integrating the physical sales channel with those online is the same as it was with Tesco Clubcard: to incentivise customers to identify themselves at the point of decision and/or sale.

This customer data can then be used to optimise everything from product range, pricing and merchandising to store location and staffing levels, as well as the most cost-effective strategic mix between online and offline.

Moreover, the same customer data should also provide insight to support decision-making that drives activity capable of improving customer engagement. This engagement should, in turn, foster loyalty and boost sales.

Delivering profitable performance marketing that drives one more store visit or one more product sale per visit in a measurable and customisable way is the ultimate benefit of a digitally enabled, data-driven strategy.

If digital delivery via mobile provides the means to connect with customers instore, ecommerce is also a vital part of this mix. But content is the glue that holds consistent omnichannel customer engagement together.

Complementing the art of content creation

This relatively new internet and mobile technology-enabled digital medium has changed the way we shop forever. Creating digital touch points to engage customers and foster loyalty still needs compelling content.

While Tim advocates the use of Data, leading to Insight, driving Action to promote Loyalty (DIAL) from his experiences, including the launch of Tesco Clubcard and Tesco Direct, he also knows best marketing practice.

“Data is being put to good use when it comes to managing products and getting them from A to B, but not so much when it comes to managing people. Marketers are still working out how the science behind the tech innovations and data analytics should best be used to complement the art of content creation itself.” (Mason, T., Knights, M. Omnichannel Retail, p177, Kogan Page.)

Chapter 10 breaks down the requirement for marketing to have sympathy for the digital medium across sales channels. This means creating content that can be dynamically repurposed for different audience formats.

As user attention spans decrease, short-form video is becoming a key marketing format, for example. It’s no surprise that visual discovery sites like Instagram and Pinterest are having major success with shoppable ads.

Boosting search engine optimisation (SEO) effectiveness still requires putting customer data at the heart of marketing efforts to ensure success. So, search and clickstream data adds context to online shopping journeys.

Using customer data to demonstrate content relevance

Designing original, creative content that engages, adds value and incentivises interaction has always been key in marketing. But now there’s programmatic ad, video, virtual and augmented reality, and even voice delivery.

Digital delivery can provide deep insight into when and how customers like to engage. Eagle Eye’s own research found consumers value relevancy over all other factors when deciding whether to use a promotion.

It also found that a wide variety of relevant and timely promotions, discounts or rewards was second only to price when it comes to what influences their choice of retailer or product. But they must be relevant.

AI-driven analytics and delivery can revolutionise the levels of personalisation that are possible with performance marketing. It adds the capability of dynamic, real-time response to deliver the next-best offer.

“Customer and connection are nothing without the call to action that comes with content. Today’s consumers expect more in return for their custom, let alone loyalty.” (Mason, T., Knights, M. Omnichannel Retail, p177, Kogan Page.)

We round up what we’ve learned in the final Chapter: from knowing and following your customer, to using DIAL to understand and give them what they want. But never forget that engaging content will always be king.

Omnichannel Retail: How to Build Winning Stores in a Digital World by Tim Mason and Miya Knights, is published by Kogan Page, priced £19.99.

Make sure you don’t miss the rest of this series. Subscribe here to receive the latest blog, previewing a chapter of Tim’s book each week, and be entered into a prize draw to win one of 12 signed copies!