The Year Customer Base Marketing Ruled Retail

Arial view of clothing store

Customer base marketing will steal the spotlight in retail marketing this year. While it’s always been important, certain factors and trends will make it imperative for marketers to master their strategies to succeed. Here are predictions for the trends and factors to watch in the year ahead.

Personalization is key, not just with products but also in the way people digitally interact with brands. With the massive amount of data collected and marketing automation tools that make delivering direct one-to-one messages at scale easy, marketers should be strategizing around ways to make connections more personalized via email, social, SMS and all other digital campaigns. In the next few years, we may even see a new role develop around the “personalization strategist” who will spearhead these efforts.

Robots and AI are our best friends. The programing that’s required to create a chatbot or utilize AI to make smarter decisions will become more mainstream. These programs will be more turnkey and designed for the marketer, not just the developer. Some of these tools already exist, like ArrowAI or ChattyPeople (more can be found here). As these tools become more mainstream, the brands with fully baked, smart strategies around why they use a tool will succeed.

The one who owns the most data will definitely win. We’ve been saying this for a while, but in order to become more personalized, more data is necessary. With more data comes the need to handle, digest and stitch the data together. Companies will start destroying existing data silos and begin centralizing all their data from different systems. In the next few years, companies will begin hiring more big data experts, as well as spend more time and money on the strategy of handling and digesting the data and building the centralized infrastructure. Companies that understand the data and utilize it to make important business decisions and more personalized experiences will thrive.

The walls between offline and online will finally be destroyed. More companies will invest a large percentage of their marketing budget in finding new ways to connect the offline consumer to the online experience, as well as creating a more seamless handoff between these two areas. More companies will utilize cloud POS systems that are directly connected to their CRM, websites and other digital attributes, making the experience instantaneous. And companies will place more emphasis on the strategy around this connection.

Experience will drive consumers to the physical store. Now that consumers have been trained to get a desired item shipped to their door with a few clicks, they need extra motivation to enter a physical location. Brands that create small, personalized in store experiences will attract consumers in 2018.

While this is just the tip of the iceberg for what might happen in 2018, it is imperative for retail marketers to focus on these areas if they want to thrive in the year ahead.