“The new normal.” Yes, it’s a cliche, and marketers are equally tired of both saying it and reading about it, but for those in the retail vertical, the COVID-19 crisis has irrevocably changed the sector.
Consumer behavior was already shifting. For generations, shoppers visited retail stores at the local mall, chatted with expert sales teams, and made considered decisions based on the trusted advice they were given. This was already changing pre-COVID-19.
Shoppers were browsing in-store, only to purchase cheaper online, with an expectation of one-click checkout, next day delivery (at the latest), and free returns. They take advice from peers on social media ahead of any staff or celebrity endorsements.
The shift from clicks over bricks has been hastened by the current landscape. Today that means adjusting quickly, not only to the now, but to what’s next.
Only 13% of marketers say their marketing campaigns are going ahead as planned
Email is stronger than ever
Although time and resources are rightly allocated to digital display, and social media advertising, email is unrivaled when it comes to connecting with consumers. In this time of flux, consumers are spending more time than ever on their digital devices, so with screen time up, open and click-through rates are seeing an uptick too.
But it’s not merely a case of spray and pray; the email inbox is still a private space that belongs to the consumer, and should be treated as such — so delivering contextually relevant and personalized messages is key if you want to rise above the noise in an already crowded inbox. To do that effectively retailers need to own and have the ability to enrich customer data.
77% of consumers have made a purchase because of an email sent by a brand or retailer in the last 12 months
Marketing in the “new normal”
It is possible for retailers to know what their customers intend to purchase in the future when they collect data that is intentionally and proactively shared directly by the shopper. This is called zero-party data, and it can be collected by leveraging data-gathering interactive experiences.
Zero-party data is a class of preference data collected directly from consumers and not by purchasing lists, or cookie tracking. Imperatively, zero-party data is accurate information and never inferred.
To connect with shoppers in the new normal, consumers need to be entertained, engaged, and receive something in return for their attention and data. With individuals exposed to over 5,000 marketing messages a day, marketers need to strive to create that moment of magic that captures attention and paves the way for direct engagement with consumers.
To facilitate this, retail marketers need to offer consumers something in return for their attention, engagement, and preference data. And it doesn’t always have to be a discount or red-letter prize; exclusive content, social kudos, personalized recommendations, and loyalty points can also be the catalyst for the collection of marketing opt-ins and self-reported data.
Like all things, this too shall pass, and proactive retail marketers focused on building more meaningful relationships with its customers will be the ones who emerge from it stronger.
“Cheetah Experiences works in concert with email programs to enable templatized interactive experiences for collecting zero-party data. The Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite has continuously running AI models to proactively identify optimizations. Cheetah provides one of the largest and most capable professional services teams in the category. The largest, most demanding enterprises should confidently consider Cheetah Digital as either a self-service, hybrid service or agency partner; it can take on most any circumstance.” — The Forrester Wave™: Email Marketing Service Providers, 2020
50% of fans want incentives like coupons, loyalty points or exclusive access in return for their data
To learn more, and see examples for world-renowned retailers that are delivering engaging campaigns to win during COVID-19 and beyond join us for our live webinar: Opportunities Marketers Have Today, Tomorrow, And How To Get Stronger.
Danny is a Content Marketing Manager for Cheetah Digital. Danny has spent his career in disruptive tech start-ups driving content strategy with a current focus on how brands can connect with modern consumers through a philosophy rooted in self-reported preference data. When he’s not extolling the value of zero-party data, he is guaranteed to be out running.