2016 may have been a turbulent business year, but it ended with a bang. Online spending was up almost 30% over 2015 numbers. And while some retailers struggled with costs, other brands found a silver lining in a weaker pound that has made British brands more attractive to shoppers abroad.

In 2017, brands will continue to implement marketing strategies to keep consumers engaged, using their growing armoury of marketing technology to build great customer relationships. While everyone has unique challenges, there are a few common elements that you can add to your marketing playlist for 2017. Don’t be scared to hum along.

• “What a Wonderful World” and “Surfin’ USA” – Louis Armstrong and The Beach Boys

The Brexit referendum has drastically changed the UK retail landscape. Retailers are warning about price increases to help meet the higher costs of goods incurred by the downturn in the pound. However, brands like Ted Baker and QUIZ have seen increased global sales due to favourable exchange rates.

Our own recent research found that while only 27% of US consumers have purchased from a UK brand, 77% would consider doing so. The two biggest factors for these consumers are better prices and availability of unique merchandise. British brands looking to capture some over-seas consumers have the opportunity to think globally and fly the flag proudly.

• “I’ll be there” – Jackson 5

With plenty of competition in the retail space, engaging customers throughout the purchasing journey should be high on the list for 2017 planning. While brands are familiar with basket abandonment, only 7% of UK retailers are currently using browse recovery strategies. Technology advances allowing recommendations or incentives based on browsing history make it possible for companies of any size to introduce a browse solution.

The key to successful browse recovery is to integrate browsing behaviour patterns into the existing marketing strategy. Rather than thinking of browse abandonment as something to eradicate, approach this as a regular part of the shopping journey for consumers with browse recovery functionality as the logical next step.

• “Hometown Glory” – Adele

Consumers are of two opinions on targeted (or personalised) offers 59% of shoppers expect highly personal offers that are related to browsing and shopping history. Meanwhile, 40% express irritation about such offers. It’s possible that those that express irritation are bothered by poorly executed browse and recommendation emails that aren’t truly personalized. Our thought: Go deeper with personalisation and make it relevant. Emulate how local shop owners interact with customers. They know their customers by name and know their tastes and preferences, helping guide shoppers to products and options that their customers will likely enjoy. Marketing personalisation should include tools to create this effect for every online shopper.

• “I’ll Stand By You” – The Pretenders

One in five British consumers can be considered a ‘brand loyalist’ when it comes to their purchasing habits. The remaining 80% of consumers are led by factors other than their brand relationships. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore your customers. You just have to work at it a little differently. Continue to win over existing customers with great service and offerings. A targeted loyalty strategy that includes post-purchase communciations and user-generated content (like reviews) is an excellent starting point. Loyalty programs and personalised email can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and encourages consumers to consider returning more often.

The great thing about continually evolving marketing technology is that the sky is the limit. I’ve laid out a few suggestions, but in reality, everyone’s playlist is different. Regardless of your individual needs, consider the changing scope of consumer behaviour around technology and shopping. Take these ideas and use them as is, or tweak them for your situation. By being open to new tactics and adopting a flexible mindset, you will find many opportunities to flourish in 2017.

 

By Saima Alibhai, professional services practice manager at Bronto


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