Online marketplaces, like Amazon, have drastically altered the retail landscape, but brick-and-mortar stores offer an unparalleled opportunity for retailers to use omnichannel marketing to enhance the customer experience. If we marketers could understand what shoppers really want, we could engineer a customer journey that would incorporate mobile, online, and in-store experiences in a way that makes every touchpoint valuable.

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Enter Heike Young of Salesforce and Hilding Anderson of Publicis.Sapient, sharing surprising consumer data from a new Salesforce + Publicis.Sapient research report: 2018 "Shopper-First Retailing."

Based on a survey of 6,000 consumers, plus activity data from the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform (more than 500 million shoppers), and a mystery shopping study of 70+ retail locations, the report addresses the battle between brands, retailers, and marketplaces. The findings include some surprises and plenty of advice for savvy businesses. For example, mobile accounts for 92% of e-commerce order growth, and 69% of shoppers expect to see new merchandise when visiting a site or store. But that's only the beginning!

I invited Heike and Hilding to Marketing Smarts to delve into their findings and explore what the data means for marketers. We discuss the importance of mobile, the advent of voice, and how retailers can use omnichannel marketing to affect in-store behavior.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Incorporate mobile, but use it to enhance the in-store experience, not replace it (04:03): "This data clearly identified four foundational truths that are, for many retailers, familiar. But they're increasingly table stakes in this era of Amazon and free shipping and omnichannel experiences.

  1. Mobile. We found that 60% of all digital traffic today is coming from mobile, and the phone accounts for materially all the digital growth for retailers today.
  2. The second is around intelligence. The role of personalization is a huge one and is influencing 37% of all digital revenue, a huge, massively outsized percentage of impact from that intelligence piece.
  3. The store, of course, is fundamental. Retailers are getting at least 70-80% of their revenues from the store. We found some really interesting findings around shoppers: 46% of shoppers actually prefer to shop within the four walls of the store.
  4. The final one is an omnichannel component, which is connected reality. Shoppers don't draw a line between devices, channels, and points of sale: 83% of shoppers are actually using their phones within the four walls of the store."

Design your in-store experience to create value for the customer (09:21): "How do you build that store of the future that integrates mobile into that shopping experience? Sephora's a great example. They do so much work with their hands-on programs. We actually learn how different cosmetics work as part of their beauty insider program. The way that they reach and understand their customer, and the way that they've designed the stores to really create value for that customer is one of the reasons they did so well in the mystery shopping study."

Invest in data and personalization (16:07): "Ultimately it comes down to "How well do you actually know your customer on a one-to-one level?" Too many retailers have failed to invest enough in terms of the data and the underlying data lakes and other pieces that are needed to deliver on that one-to-one marketing promise.

"That's a huge miss for them, and it's a culture change as well. If you think about the traditional four walls of the store, the idea of one-to-one marketing is a sales associate. You're walking into an experience that's regional, but it's not one-to-one.  A lot of the leadership now is understanding that personalization, the role of data, is how they're going to compete over the next five years.... Service is going to be a key differentiator."

To learn more, check out the full report, "Shopper-First Retailing," and be sure to follow Heike and Hilding on Twitter.

We talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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