Consumer attention span has been falling drastically and was already as low as 8 seconds in 2015, based on a study by Microsoft.

Brand loyalty is taking second place to more choices. In most cases, your consumers do not have the time to come looking for you.

This means now that your products have to find their way to people who are more likely to purchase it, at the right time. Where are you likely to find this audience, and how do you reach them?

In this white paper, we bring you new methods to reach customers across your physical stores, distributors, affiliates, social media, and digital 1-1 channel.

CHANNEL 1 –  Proximity technologies to enhance in-store experiences and drive footfall from the vicinity.

Tiny low power Bluetooth transmitters (BLE) called beacons can be installed in your stores to send notifications to potential customers while they are within 100 meters of your store.

In addition to driving footfall, they help you:

  1. Enrich your in-store experiences by sending information about products or categories based on where they are standing
  2. Get new in-store insights  – like the user flow, concentration, and timing of visitors in different sections
  3. Understand customer behavior at an individual level from their interactions.

Achieving this may seem like a huge and impractical project. However, these location technologies have been commoditized and evolved to an extent that:

  1. Beacons are easy to deploy because of the small size, long battery lives (up to 5 years), and integration with POS terminals through USB.
  2. They are cost-effective, with the cost per beacon being in the range of 80-100 Dollars for a pack of 3
  3. Open protocols like Eddystone now enable access to Android and iPhone devices even without a mobile app

Here’s a really interesting success story of partnering with a grocery chain in Ohio to send recipes to customers in the store along with the ingredients that could be bought right there.

It is important to capitalize on the buzz created by in-store experiences by following through with campaigns over online channels to re-engage these customers and keep the cycle going.

Physical stores will continue to stay important for enhanced touch and feel experiences for your consumers.  Even while some large retailers shut down stores to cut costs, pure-play e-commerce players are opening up stores or pop up shops.  

CHANNEL 2: Voice assistants to speak to your customer in natural language in the comfort of their home.

Just hot off the press, Google has now launched “Shopping Actions” on the Google Home devices. This works as an attractive cost per sale model for the sellers. It allows people to add products from multiple sites into one cart and use Google Pay to make the payments.

The Amazon voice assistant, Alexa at home is already accessible for businesses to create interactive brand experiences using open APIs to create apps, also known as Alexa skills. While most people use Alexa only for listening to music or to ask about the weather or news, there are more than 25,000 third party “skills” already available on the Alexa store.

It is inevitable that consumers are getting more and more comfortable speaking to devices and have even started preferring voice searches over getting online and typing. While the consumer adoption of Alexa skills is still at a nascent stage, being an early mover can differentiate you on a channel that will get crowded very soon. This can also provide early insights into how customers use Alexa and voice searches.

The success of Alexa as a channel for you depends on how simple you make the communication, and how personalized the interactions are.

If you are in the early adopter category, contact us to know more about what we can enable out of the box for you. Read our post on Alexa for more insights and use cases.

CHANNEL 3: Direct-to-consumer models to engage your distributors

If you are a manufacturer or wholesaler,  it is high time that you created a direct-to-consumer strategy.  The goal is not to cut off your valuable distributor network. On the contrary, this gives you an opportunity to supercharge your distribution network by marketing to them like they are end consumers.

This enables them to :

  1. Place 1 touch online orders from you and stay incentivized with personalized bulk rates and loyalty programs
  2. Stay updated with product updates like new arrival announcements, price drop alerts, bulk discount announcements, and insights about your customer preferences in their location

This may sound like a large project to undertake with a lot of marketing overhead. However, with the latest marketing automation technologies that are integrated with product understanding and customer level personalization, both the onsite experiences as well as communication can be automated and personalized per distributor based on their association with you.

Your distributors may not be tech-savvy. This is particularly true in countries where most retail is still unorganized. Mainstream channels like text messaging and WhatsApp messaging may be the most appropriate to use in these scenarios. Talk to us about how we make these unlikely channels effective for business.

Besides the optimization of doing business with your distributors, creating a direct channel to new end customers will greatly improve your understanding of the end-users of your product and allow this to govern your product strategy going forward.

Even large brands like Adidas are not complacent with their traditional giant distribution networks anymore, and have direct-to-consumer as a core strategy going forward:

CHANNEL 4: Presence on affiliate sites where your customers are likely to be.

While you are busy strengthening your own brand presence, keep in mind that your products should be where your customers are, and not the other way around. There are websites that have managed to capture very engaged audiences by offering value like content, ease of finding things, or price comparisons.

Being present on Amazon is a no-brainer, but comes with its challenges of ranking in the searches and the high commissions that eat into your bottom line. However, this is a great place to start (and continue to stay) with the largest online customer base, where you can harness invaluable insights about how your products benchmark against others.

Some of the interesting sites that come to mind are:

a) Popsugar – This is a great example of the powerful combination of engaging content and e-commerce. They cover content (+products) in beauty, entertainment, fashion, fitness, food, and parenting, through their publication on mobile, video, and social media.

b) Flipboard – One of the most premium websites for news, with over 100 Million monthly active and engaged users, this is a channel that brands must aspire to be on. They are leaders in the UX space and claim to combines beauty and brains to create beautiful and relevant brand experiences.

c) Coupon and price comparison sites – A presence on the most popular comparison sites for your segment can bring traffic to your website, and keep you on top of the mind of your consumers.

When you choose the affiliate sites that you want to be present on, look for sites that have the latest tech, great customer engagement, and, ideally ones that give you insights into how your products figure against your competition.

One of the deal sites in the UK that really stands out is, and the great thing about them is the community curation of the best deals, neat uncluttered interface, and price comparison features.

New social media channels to explore, here are some more channels to explore:

Facebook Messenger – You can now landing clicks from your ads to the Facebook messenger and engage your customer in a conversation immediately.  Some interesting use cases here.

Instagram – With more than 800 M users, and very high engagement with brands, it is emerging as the fastest growing shopping destination among the social channels.

They have recently added shopping friendly features for BigCommerce customers, to tag images with clickable links leading to product pages.

Youtube – Video continues to grow as the most popular medium, so create short ads (< 15 seconds ) to meet the ever-smaller-attention spans of consumers.

Snapchat – With 160 million users active daily (Source: Snapchat’s IPO paperwork) watching 10 billion videos per day, Snapchat is a growing channel for engagement. It is ideal for real-time social media marketing because it can give the audience direct access to live events.

Pinterest – Pinterest can be tapped very successfully for certain domains, especially related to food, art, and fashion. You. May wonder if Pinterest is still relevant, with Instagram gaining popularity as a sharing platform. The difference with Pinterest is that its purpose is to collect stuff more than sharing. So it is interesting for marketing because your content sticks longer. Evergreen content on Pinterest has a much higher shelf life (105 days) compared to 90 minutes for a Facebook post and 24 minutes for a tweet as per this article.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

CHANNEL 6: Personalized 1-1 interaction on channels preferred by your customers

People who have already purchased from you, or are subscribed to your communications are the most important ones to your business. Do not ignore them in your new customer acquisition efforts. Avoid bombarding them on different channels in an uncoordinated manner. This can happen easily if you use different tools for each channel.

Create coordinated campaigns across channels they prefer, using data-driven marketing tools that feedback user response to the mix of segmenting capabilities.

Email – Email continues to be a popular channel because of its unintrusive nature and read-at-leisure mode, and unsubscriptions have reduced because of the separate promotions tab in Google. We see many customers use their promotions inbox as a placeholder to search and look for deals before they start shopping.

We see email open rates of up to 50% when they are personalized and up to 15 percent for emails with engaging content.

SMS – Text messaging is popular but over-used in the Asian markets, and underutilized in some other markets, Text messaging can be intrusive, or totally ignored because it has been mainly used for short-form spam messages like irrelevant deal announcements.

With personalization and 1-1 messaging, text messages can actually be powerful if they are used for specific personalized use cases and to reach store visitors whose email ids are not available. We see click rates of around 4-5%  when they are personalized.

See our blog on text messaging.

Browser Notifications –  This is a relatively new channel that makes a good substitute for mobile apps. They are based on a simple opt-in and enable you to send app like notifications without the overhead of an app. We have seen great success with these for e-commerce when sent with interesting content, like fashion tips, or price drop alerts. The initial opt-in rate to this channel, like most others depends on the value offered in return for an opt-in. Here’s more on browser notifications.

Mobile App – With mobile responsive websites to create a good mobile browsing experience, and browser notifications to reach users on the mobile, having a mobile app is no longer mandatory. However, if you do have the budget and the time, it is worthwhile creating a drastically simple or cool mobile experience, linking one-click payment options, and geo-location/beacon capabilities.

Whatsapp: Whatsapp has now released their business app, and can be used to broadcast messages to customers. They have not opened up 1-1 messaging APIs yet. If used carefully, this can be a very powerful medium just by its very nature and reach. Talk to us if you like to test if Whatsapp works for you.