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Everything You Need to Know About Retail Marketing

When brands compete on customer experience, consumers win. Retailers are vying for their share of consumer loyalty inside a crowded market where engagement and convenience are often the deciding factors when deciding who to buy from.

And when brands get it right, they’re handsomely rewarded. Last year alone, consumers spent a whopping half-trillion dollars on the online sales of physical goods—these astronomical totals will only continue climbing in the years to come.

So what’s the secret to online retail marketing success? How are the top brands winning and retaining their adoring customers?

To find out, we selected 50 leading companies from Internet Retailer’s 2018 Top 500 E-Commerce Report and studied nearly 700 messages they sent over the course of two weeks during the 2018 holiday season. We analyzed how they’re engaging users across multiple channels: email, mobile push, SMS, in-app, and web push.

We compared the 25 top companies based on annual growth rates to their 25 fastest-growing disruptors based on highest web sales. To gain a holistic overview of different marketing approaches and strategies, we selected brands from five unique categories:

  • Mass Merchants
  • Apparel & Accessories
  • Electronics
  • Home Improvement
  • Housewares

After creating new accounts with each of these 50 companies, we tracked all retail marketing messaging during November 2018—the weeks before and after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here’s how we broke out our activities:

  • Days 0-5: Created accounts, signed up for all branded communication, downloaded mobile apps, and opted-in to all retail marketing, including email, mobile, and web push.
  • Days 6-10: Continued cross-channel engagement and abandoned carts via both desktop and mobile on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Days 11-14: Weaned engagement and halted activity.

Inside the report, you’ll find a slew of observations and real-life message examples to draw inspiration from! Retailers run the full gamut in the realm of marketing maturity: a select few companies are executing highly sophisticated marketing campaigns, while most companies are covering just beyond the basics.

Key Report Findings

  1. Cross-channel is gaining momentum among retailers
    Convenience is key for the modern consumer. Digital consumption takes place daily on whichever device is nearest when the mood to shop strikes right. Most retailers are picking up on this behavioral shift, as we found that 42% of major retailers engage their customers on multiple communication channels. Though nearly all retailers leverage email for promotions, a growing portion are amplifying their voices across additional channels.
  2. Email reigns supreme but mobile matters
    Retailers recognize that their customers value strong mobile presences. Reports indicate that nearly 40% of all retail sales already take place on mobile devices, and near-term projections show that number will soon account for half. Keen on capitalizing on this opportunity, 70% of retailers communicate via mobile channels like push, in-app, and SMS. 41% of retailers use push messaging, making it the current mobile channel of choice for customer interaction.
  3. All campaigns are not created equal
    Competition for consumer mindshare is fierce within the retail market, and brands must prioritize the full customer journey in hopes of edging out their competitors. Robust, holistic experiences bear more long-term value than ad hoc sales. With that in mind, 70% of retailers welcome new customers, and 76% of them regularly promote their sales and services. Yet, only 44% are supporting customer reactivation with cart abandonment campaigns. Retailers can increase retention by improving their campaign strategies further down the customer lifecycle.

Make your own marketing engagement wishlist and fill your cart with best practices and tips gleaned from 50 major retailers! Download the report today and keep your customers shopping ‘til they drop.

Retail marketing strategies of top brands

Download the report to learn how leading retailers engage across all channels.

Interested in venturing deeper into the nuts and bolts of retail marketing? Join us at Activate 19 as leaders from breakthrough brands, like FabFitFun and ShopRunner, share their strategies for winning their customers’ hearts and minds. Early Bird pricing ends Thursday, Feb. 28, so register today to save $200 off your ticket!

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