As I look at my Christmas tree that I still have not yet put away, it immediately brings me back to the family, shopping, stress and email that just ensued over the past few weeks. The volume of email that marketers sent during the holidays definitely spiked. Year-over-year increases were steady and Black Friday itself showed a 55% volume increase. When volume increases like this it’s even more difficult to stand out from the clutter of the inbox. So what did marketers do this holiday season to differentiate their brand? And what can we learn from these approaches for the year ahead?
There are more than 2 million available apps in the leading app stores for consumers to download as travel and hospitality brands, quick service restaurants, financial services companies, retailers and more use mobile apps as a critical component to support the on-the-go consumer. But to date many brands have traditionally developed these apps in silos rather than integrating them with other channel platforms and in to the overall customer experience. But 2016 saw brands making technological advances and data enhancements to apps to improve experiences by knowing the consumer inside, and outside, of the app.
The in-store experience is still crucial to retailers’ profits, despite how much we hear about brick and mortar going away. 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in stores as many consumers look for the tangible in-store retail experience. The presence of a knowledgeable sales associate has the ability to improve customer experience and increase in-store purchases. However, today’s consumers also value convenience and instant gratifiaction. They want to be able to enter a store and feel as though they are taken care of, by way of both human and digital interaction. Realizing this evolving consumer behavior, many retailers are answering this need by employing a series of digital technologies that enable them to control and measure their customers’ experiences in store. Rather than competing, the digital and the physical channels are integrating to yield convenience, satisfaction and an overall positive consumer perception for the brands doing it right.