Now that we know how to turn a customer into a fan, and how to hit the sweet spot in retailing, we can look at some of the most popular movements used in recent times to engage customers. These retail trends all stem from the driving force of personalisation, whilst also incorporating the growing technology needs of the retail market.
We’ve already written a blog on the role personalisation has in the customer journey and we can’t emphasise enough the importance that this trend is having in retail today. More than ever, personalisation is expected by customers, particularly online and it’s easier than ever for retailers to ensure the shopping experience is personalised for each customer by tracking behaviour and shopping habits.
How does this impact the customer?
A personalised experience means that customers will have a much deeper bond with the brand they’re interacting with – a stronger, one-of-a-kind engagement will transform your customers into brand ambassadors. Furthermore, it’s easier to keep a customer than to recruit a new one – you don’t need to worry about the initial stages of the customer journey like awareness, as they’ve already interacted with you!
Back in 1996, Bill Gates gave the infamous quote – ‘Content is king’. He said this in relation to where money would be made on the internet, and over two decades later, his prediction is true. Social media sites, along with content-driven websites like YouTube and Reddit, are among the most visited in the world. With people consuming more content than ever, these are vital channels for retailers to utilise to turn their customers into fans. By giving consumers quality content, value is added to whatever the retailer is offering.
One retailer to have successfully accomplished this is Mr Porter, attracting customers via articles that leverage products on the website. Mr Porter is using relevant quality lifestyle content to take visitors through the customer journey. Instead of just being a place to buy things, retail websites are now places consumers also go to be entertained. Before making decisions about what to buy, consumers more than ever want to look through as much information as they can – and content helps you to easily supply that to them.
Following on from content, many retailers now see video as a crucial tool in content marketing, with YouTube now the second biggest website in the world (behind Google), and the third biggest website Facebook placing a huge focus on video content, particularly live feeds.
One reason video is so important now is because it brings together entertainment and information in a fun and engaging way – not to mention that a minute-long video is much easier for consumers to engage with than an article, communicating information in a captivating and easy to absorb way.
By 2020, there will be 6.1bn smartphones in circulation. According to Ofcom, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online, with record ownership and use transforming not only the way we communicate, but also the way we buy things. A survey by ICM revealed that over half of Snapchat users and Instagram users have made retail purchases on mobile, highlighting the direct correlation that use of these mobile apps can have on buying habits. These shifts to mobile are particularly apparent in the fashion industry. In February 2016, mobile sales accounted for 50% of all ASOS sales and the number is only rising. We know e-commerce isn’t confined to a desktop computer. Consumers can shop and interact with brands online wherever and whenever – and it’s not just the online world where mobile matters. ‘Moment marketing’ will allow retailers to greater personalise the messages they send to customers by using mobile location to identify when customers are near stores. Sending deals or offers at these vital moments may be the turning point of convincing new customers to make that all important first purchase, or encouraging a loyal fan to return.
Mobile will continue to play a big part in retail trends – as we talk about the fifth and final trend: frictionless payment. In Britain alone, a predicted 60% of people will use their mobile devices to make at least one purchase a week by 2020. With increasing mobile payment options like Apple Pay along with more and more credit and debit cards incorporating ‘contactless payment’, the days of consumers searching for coins at the bottom of their bags will soon be long gone.
And this is a change that customers plan on embracing, with one-quarter of Brits thinking they will be able to do without notes and coins within the next five years. Recently, retail giant Waitrose opened its first ‘cashless store’, catering only to card and frictionless payments. This final stage of buying is being made as easy as possible. The way people view cash is changing as payment becomes less coins and bills, and more taps of plastic.
Technology is having a significant impact on how customers buy things and how they like to shop – and utilising changing technologies and incorporating personalisation are where the retail industry is heading.
You can find more information about retail excellence in our infographic here: http://www.uk.amadeus.com/blog/2016/12/where-are-you-on-the-journey-to-becoming-a-successful-travel-retailer
Contact your Amadeus account manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss the journey from travel agent to successful retailer and how Amadeus can help.