The New Face of Multi-Channel Retail Marketing

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In today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing retail environment, it’s more important than ever to utilize a multi-channel direct marketing program to maximize sales across retail platforms. There are several proven and evolving marketing models that are being employed by savvy retailers, who understand how to optimize retail sales through direct marketing. We will explore some of these strategies, so you can consider how they can fit into your marketing mix.
 
Many online retailers are utilizing a combination of offline media including, infomercials, direct response television, print and radio to drive online sales. This type of direct marketing campaign is often referred to as a drive to web campaign. Online retailers are finding that consumers, who initiate a search online, after being exposed to an offline ad, are converting into a sale at a much high rate than those who come to their site through an online media channel. Many online retailers are deploying a paid search campaign that runs simultaneously with a DRTV campaign, in order to capture consumers who initiate a search after viewing a DRTV ad. At the same time, they are also implementing an SEO campaign, to help move up their site organically in the search listings.
 
Hybrid Campaigns
 
Another multi-channel retail marketing approach is a hybrid drive to web/drive to retail campaign, to increase both online and store traffic. Frequently, a multi-channel direct response ad campaign is used with this approach. Various media channels need to be tested to find the ones that deliver the optimum ROI. Offline media and online advertising, including paid search, email marketing, affiliate programs, behavioral/contextual and demographic targeting, and rich media can all play a role in a successful multi-channel direct marketing campaign. Social networks and blog networks are newer online mediums being explored by more progressive retailers. Remember that messaging needs to be consistent throughout the various mediums to maximize the impact of the campaign.
 
Understanding the Target Customer
 
In today’s more competitive retail environment, it’s increasingly important to understand who is your target customer and to make their retail experience both online and at the store level memorable and enjoyable, in order to increase your sales conversion rate and customer retention. Try to create a retail shopping environment/experience that is easy to navigate, appeals to the target customer and engages all their senses. Remember that online the consumer is always one click away from leaving your site. Retailers also need to understand the lifetime value of their customers and employ customer retention strategies to create customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
 
Multi-channel retailing is much more complex today, since it often takes place on several retail platforms, in order to gain the optimum results. Direct marketing programs need to be customized to reach target customers in a range of mediums and the shopping experience needs to be tailored to appeal to the target audience. Employing these strategies in your retail-marketing plan will help ensure a more successful 2008 for your retail business.

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