In our first issue of this series, we discussed how Brands and Retailers should view eCommerce not as purely transactional/a sales channel but rather as BOTH an audience reach/marketing and transactional/sales digital ecosystem:
In our final article in this series, we will discuss:
Step Three: Leveraging differentiators – how you can set your brand/consumer experience apart, so shoppers choose your brand instead of your competitor’s…both on and offline and therefore drive increased sales and loyalty. It’s time to put fuel into your digital marketing ecosystem!
The ability to turn shoppers into brand loyalists by continually giving them a great browsing and shopping experience will encourage repeat traffic and purchases.
There are a variety of ways to set yourself apart – but first let’s say:
"it cannot be about slashing prices and leading a “race to the bottom.”
You need to cultivate your brand’s online (and offline) experiences and messaging by focusing on your strengths
In these instances, no one wins – even the consumer who begins to form a distorted view of the true value of your product.
You need to cultivate your brand’s online (and offline) experiences and messaging by focusing on your strengths – that unique owner benefit or two that sells the shopper on the notion that you offer something more/different – you safely deliver the shopper to the destination they were seeking on their Consumer Shopper Journey (CSJ).
Like all good marketing strategies and sales execution – it all starts – and ends with a deep understanding of your consumer and how your product or offering satisfies his or her needs.
You need to use their language and meet them where they are – not “drag” them to an irrelevant platform or website just because that’s where you chose to place your content.
In their language, where they experience your product (e.g. your website, a retailer website, a social media platform, in-store, on TV, radio, etc.), you can differentiate yourself by providing a truly personalized and engaging experience.
Here are a few ways:
Consumer relevant language in all content – focused on owner benefits vs merely product characteristics (sales/marketing 101!)
A personalized and curated experience based on the past interactions with your brand on and offline (special packaging, relevant pack sizes, seasonal offerings, sku personalization opportunities, upsell and cross sell recommendations, etc.)
Tailored E-mail at an acceptable frequency (assumes they have opt-d in)
Quick & convenient shipping/customer service (cost of entry in today’s next day/2-day shipping experience) e.g. Brick & Click – work with your retailers to ensure that yourright assortment of products is available for in-store pick up – not just online. Easy and reliable customer service offerings (easily located contact information and options, chat/ proactive chat, knowledgeable call center agents, etc.)
Subscription service to drive convenience (and loyalty) on relevant products
Contests & Sweepstakes – customized experiences that match your audience’s interests and needs
Loyalty Programs to reward allegiance
IMPORTANTLY: Extension of brand voice and above offerings to social media channels
We’d suggest that you litmus test your differentiated offering(s) by interrogating your execution against each of these ideas above and others.
If you can answer: “yes, this is important to my shopper’s experience and yes, I have purposely chosen this offering/channel/platform and have executed it with brilliance” to most of these questions, you are well on your way to leveraging a differentiated experience to your most important audiences.
The trick is to stay current and continuously scrutinize your communication channels, content, keywords, consumer relevancy and loyalty.
We cannot emphasize enough that this consumer led world, in which we market today, requires a strong team of specialists and marketing experts to ensure that they leverage consumer insights and data to deliver marketing messages that are relevant, consistent and clear.
Delivering cohesive and personalized messages will drive conversion and DECISIVELY “brand love.”
The digital ecosystem gives you an incredible framework to achieve these goals in “real time” and with real time results that cannot be replicated in offline only programs. And as we previously noted:
More sales = higher rankings = more sales
Your digital marketing ecosystem will be dynamic, and your virtuous cycle of growth will yield the results you desire if you start by following the THREE SIMPLE STEPS we have outlined in this series:
Make your point of DIFFERENCE clear and consistent to win vs competition (hint: consumer insight/data driven)
Please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help you evaluate opportunities to optimize your digital marketing ecosystem, delight your consumers and drive profitable growth and market share.