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How retailers are merging the online and offline shopping experience through personalised, local content

17 February, 2016

Online shopping

The shopping experience has been intrinsically altered by digital technologies in recent years. Wearily struggling with shopping bags down the high street is no longer necessary as online stores have made browsing convenient and accessible. We can now make purchases at the swipe of a mouse and the click of a button from the comfort of our living rooms.

But despite the phenomenal growth of online shopping there is still a demand for the experiences confined to ‘bricks and mortar’ shopping, namely touching, feeling and seeing products and being amongst fellow shoppers for a more social experience.

The savviest and most competitive of retailers are embracing the radical shift in contemporary shopping habits and are rightfully focusing on improving the digital experience for shoppers.

The most effective ecommerce sites endeavour to sync these online and offline shopping environments to craft one “cohesive brand experience.”

And one way to satisfy the modern demand to unite virtual and high street shopping is through content.

(1) Tailored, customised and relevant content

In a report related to retailers’ use of content marketing to merge online and offline experiences, NewsCred cites the views of Warby Parker, a key innovator in retail space.

Warby-Parker-Eyewear-LogoAmerican eyewear brand Warby Parker ensures customisation is at the core of almost all its content. The brand notes the importance of ‘personalisation’ and customised content, tailoring product content right down to the level of individuals as opposed to more general groups.

Warby Parker gave examples of how it efficiently customises its content by producing nationwide travelling campaigns, which effectively engaged customers and local businesses throughout the country.

In its social media campaigns, the eyewear company uses relevant hashtags, such as #warbyparkerhometry to generate user-generated content from their customers sharing their experiences of Warby Parker eyewear and, by doing so, boosting the customers’ confidence in their purchase.

(2) Localised content

instagram logoReiterating the importance for retailers and ecommerce sites to create localised and personalised content campaigns are the results of research compiled for the JiWire Mobile Audience Insight Report. The report showed that 60 percent of Facebook users aged from 25 – 54 always location-tag their posts. The location-tagging trend was also found on Twitter and Instagram.

Similar findings were revealed by Keynote Competitive Research, which found that out of 5,000 smartphone and tablet users, 88 percent wanted access to local information on their devices.

As Retail Touchpoints noted in response to the research outcomes:

“These findings underscore the growing opportunities for retailers to connect with shoppers on a more local, direct and intimate level.”

Social, local, mobile – find out more about SoLoMo

(3) Personalising email offers

The content of email marketing campaigns is another element of retail digital marketing that should not be overlooked.

It’s pretty safe to surmise that almost all of us can stand accused of hastily reaching for the delete button when an impersonalised, irrelevant and geographically-inappropriate email offer from a retailer lands in our inbox.

By contrast, receiving an email brimming with personalised content that addresses us by our name, our browsing and purchasing habits and tendencies and which is localised to our area, is much more likely to make us click and probe the offer further.

Further ‘proof of the pudding’ at just how important tailored, localised content is in the drive for effective retail digital marketing campaigns, can be found in the 2016 Yesmail Marketing Channel Report, which focused on 200 retailers attending the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org Digital Summit.

In what has been described as being “alarming” findings, the report found that almost two thirds of retailers were failing to personalise their email offers. Furthermore, more than one third didn’t bother personalising subject lines, and more than a half of the retailers failed to use the recipient’s name in the body of the email.

In response to the report, Ivy Shtereva, Yesmail director told Marketing Land that “personalisation is the new floor” in retail marketing.

Find out more: building the user experience (UX) into email campaigns

user experience e-commerce UX

(4) Personalising video content

The modern push for organisations to produce original more local content is not confined to the written world. It can also be seen through different content mediums, such as film, TV and internet streaming.

Netflix Web Logo

Testament to the recent drive for retailers to create local and original content in different mediums, can be found through an announcement recently made by Netflix. At the 2016 CES technology conference in Las Vegas, the multinational provider of on-demand internet streaming media spoke frankly about its plans to develop local content.

Gadget 360 sat down with some of the top managers at Netflix, including its director, Chitavan Patel. They pressed Patel about Netflix’s “relatively weak collection of local content” and the fact that competition coming from India includes “content creators who have launched their own streaming platforms, and might not have any inclination to license their content to third parties.”

Patel responded by stating:

“I think it’s a balance of the best storytelling and how we can get our hands on it, and whether it’s an original that we commission or it it’s an existing piece of content that we can license, we just want the best things for subscribers.

“We have folks that are focused on local, original content and they have established partnerships in markets around the world,” Chitam Patel added.

Content is Key

It is without question that personalised, original and local content is becoming increasingly crucial to the success of numerous digital platforms, including digital marketing campaigns within the retail sector.

Merely relying on broad, untailored and impersonal content will effectively invite customers and potential customers to take their business to a retailer who’s willing to treat them as an individual.

  • What are your experiences of customised, tailored and local content? What campaigns work best for you?
  • Are your customers more likely to click on an email that is addressed to them personally and offers deals, products or services they may be interested in? Do you test this?
  • Are you more likely to watch content if it’s local, original and hasn’t been shown umpteen times elsewhere?

We’d love to hear our readers’ thoughts on content personalisation.

In the meantime, if you’re a retailer or ecommerce business looking to harness the benefits of tailored, personalised and local content, get in touch with jrc.agency to discuss your content requirements today.

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Blog post by Gabs Pickard Whitehead, Content Creator at jrc.agency.

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