The growth of online, and its effects

124The growth of online has been a mixed blessing for retailers. Setting up online channels has cost retailers significant investment at a time when economies are still recovering from the global recession.

Transparent and fiercely competitive pricing means that retailers are having to rethink their margin targets and expected return on capital.

It has though, provided them with information that has allowed them to better understand their customer’s demographics, and to segment their offer and target consumers them in new ways.

Technology enables retailers to provide their customers with an excellent service and experience during their interactions. Customers come to expect the latest advances from their favourite retailers and those that do not provide them will struggle to attract and maintain consumers.

The speed of technology

For retailers, keeping up with the advancement of technology has now become a constant battle. And they need to choose which avenues to follow very carefully, or they can soon lose money on the wrong one.

They have had to contend with contactless payments, click n collect, content marketing, multi-channel retailing, the internet of things, and the rise in the use of mobile devices for shopping.

You Tube has launched click-and –buy video adverts. This allows shoppers to buy directly from the video ads they are watching .Google will soon launch a buy button to its search results, so shoppers can purchase from there without visiting a separate website.

There are many issues that retailers need to address;-

Contactless payments

Contactless payments are accepted in many outlets now, usually for small purchases with low values, such as newspapers, coffee, cigarettes .They are made using credit or debit cards, charge cards or pre-paid cards. They do not need a PIN or signature, the card is touched on a contactless card reader. There are some security concerns about them. They are sometimes triggered by accident if they are close to the reader, and may be easily hacked by fraudsters.

Click n collect

The customer places their order online, then goes to the shop to collect it themselves. Why did this happen? The internet was supposed to mean we shopped at home and took delivery there. But the issue is what is known as the “final mile “. Couriers are perfectly capable of getting the product near to the consumer, but actually getting it into their hand is the problem. In this model the client knows the product is there, reserved for them to collect at their convenience from their nearest store.

Why do retailers need Content Marketing?

We all see so much marketing now we have become impervious to it. We no longer watch adverts on TV, notice or read them in magazines, or pay any attention to online advertisements. How are advertisers to attract our attention?

Content marketing is an approach based on producing and distributing free, relevant and valuable content with the objective of attracting and retaining the attention of the target market, and encouraging customer action, to produce a profit.

What is Content Marketing?

The content produced is intended to influence consumer’s behaviour, by communicating with them without directly selling to them. You are giving them information, not necessarily about your product or service. The intention is to develop a bond, a trust with them. And it is very effective, some of our biggest companies use content marketing. It is why so much information on the internet is free.