Over the last decade, the issues that keep retail marketers awake at night have changed dramatically. They used to spend their time arguing which highway to place their billboard on, whether their next TV commercial should be funny or heartfelt; and even when it comes to digital campaigns, they still struggle to make sure that they are reaching their target audience and find it hard to measure the effectiveness of their campaign in terms of sales numbers.
Today's data-driven world, on the other hand, has flipped the retail marketing environment on its head, and firms are facing a whole new set of challenges centered on identity and data.
We had an interesting chat with the biggest retailers in the Ireland and Egypt, talking about the challenges they face and solutions they look for today. Based on that, we managed to gather as much information, to tackle the market’s pain points and understand it better from trusted sources.
Every business sets clear goals and priorities for the company as a whole and for each unit/department on a smaller scale. In marketing departments, most priorities include understanding customer behavior, building trust between the consumer and retailer, increasing loyalty, finding the right technology solution, and intelligent personalization.
This eventually leads to “meeting the bigger objective which is increasing the number of branches, aiming to maintain a certain level of success, to grow and maintain consistency in all branches, to remain the top in the country, and to be widely dispersed across all provinces to cover all needs in different regions,” as expressed by one of our interviewees.
Businesses thrive to meet the needs of their customers, and try their best to reach customer satisfaction… “this is the main drive of our business and the reason we exist,” as mentioned by one of our interviewees.
“Our people (employees) are equally as important,” they continued. “They are the assets! So the business always ensures continuous success through their personnel and professional development which makes the employees proud for being part of the family. At the end of the day, without those assets, we won’t be where we are now. We always thrive to give back to our community in terms of CSR. We contribute to charity organizations, and pay attention to our social responsibility as a business and family.”
Covid is still a big challenge causing stock issues to many. The Suez canal crisis was one of the main factors that added to the pandemic supply worries for European and U.S. retailers.
Supply problems can affect advertising on many different levels. Changing the work due to last-minute changes for example gets very tricky, especially for print, as there might be a shortage in the resources needed.
The marketing/advertising team has to be fluid in their design and this puts a lot of stress on design resources because, after that, there are factoring and replacing tasks to handle.
Retail is extremely reactive in general, so it is directly related to the market reaction to what competitors do.
“A lot of what we do is driven by competitor activity. The nature of our creatives is to react to their messaging to make our place in the market look stronger. Price messaging, quality messaging, and value messaging are the 3 main issues we always react to, so we usually work on many strategies to deal with those 3 key points.”
When the market changes, the business has to react internally to it first. “We plan 6-12 months ahead, but things could always change at the last minute as competitors could change something that affects our campaign, so we need to react quickly.”
It is very hard to re-plan resources, strategy and design because if something changes at the last minute, you can’t go through all the quality control, all your checks and designs in such a very short time. But what if in such cases retailers choose to be less reactive and stick to their initial plan rather than reacting to the market?
“Well within the marketing team, we closely look at what the market is looking for in the country and then create our strategy based on the overriding strategy of the business.” Thus, by the end of the day, every retailer wants to ensure that everything they do, and every team in there, is aligned with that strategy.
“We will look at certain products that work for marketing material that the purchasing or product department wants to push while being mindful of what the consumer is looking for. The consumer is always a central point. We also look at the areas that are under performing, and again we do campaigns if a certain category is not performing well… if it is down compared to competitors.”
The marketing department pushes what they are given; they don’t set a different strategy. The advertising production team usually works with a purchasing-buying team to see what products have been created or what they need to push that would be of value to consumers. The marketing department only works on pushing the products they are given. “If a category is underperforming, we see how to best market this category to increase the sales.”
When discussing the other challenges their marketing department might be having directly or indirectly, one of them emphasized the High Pricing Strategy.
They have higher prices than other retailers because they are a convenience store.
“Premium service and premium products are what we are after, leading to a premium overall experience. But still higher prices tend to cause a problem in sales.”
So are they targeting the right customers using the right strategies?
We combined some of the most interesting answers we received from our interviewees.
One of the interviewees stressed how important it is for them to market their in-house brands; it is actually one of the main goals they have this quarter, and they are working hard on achieving better results along with their sales team.
Last-minute changes, expectations, not being given full data at the beginning of a project, and incomplete briefs are among some of the things that prevent retailers from meeting their growth targets.
It all depends on speed. To catch the trend. To adapt to changes in tastes, preferences, and timings. To be up to date and flexible to adapt to change quickly. To stay with an open eye for success and innovation. To keep up with the speed of the market.
This is what keeps retailers at the top… They adapt. They understand their customers, they are always up-to-date with the changes in their behavior and purchasing pattern, and they make the best out of the data they collect to offer their consumers what they need and desire.
At Intouch.com, we’ve created a trusted advanced solution to help retailers tackle some of their current major pain points, by providing an exclusively personalized in-store experience that would optimize their offering through an intelligent AI-driven in-store customer personalization platform.
Some of the benefits that our product Intouch Live has for retailers are:
It’s time to take the digitization of your store to the next level and outshine your competitors to achieve the results you deserve! Get Intouch and one of our experts will guide you through every step.