A new research study from RetailMeNot illustrates the ways in which retail marketers will expand their content, marketing spend and forward-looking plans in 2018 to better engage and convert consumers.
According to the Nine Retail Marketing Trends in 2018 report, conducted by Kelton Global, 9 in 10 retailers will increase marketing spend this year, and marketers will spread their increased budget almost evenly among marketing channels such as social, mobile, brand and display.
This move reflects the need to ensure that every customer is receiving information in the channel of their choice. Interestingly, 93 percent of mid-sized retailers (between $500 million and $1 billion in annual revenue) are increasing their budget compared to 86 percent of large retailers (more than $1 billion in annual revenue) indicating an increase.
“Retail marketers are no longer thinking in channel silos. They are approaching commerce holistically with an understanding that consumers are channel-agnostic,” said Marissa Tarleton, CMO at RetailMeNot, in a news release. “Delivering an experience that meets the consumer in the moment across the shopping journey will be the pathway to success for brands.”
Tackling new trends and challenges
While trends like virtual reality are still an exciting frontier, most retail marketers have their sights set on more realistic forward-looking trends. More than half of retail marketers surveyed believe improving mobile web checkout capabilities (52 percent) and offering exclusive promotions for mobile app users (51 percent) will positively affect sales growth in 2018. Additionally, voice-assisted shopping is an area that 39 percent of retail marketers plan to implement, with many retailers hoping to capitalize on increased use of smart home systems and smart speakers.
About 50 percent of retailers indicated they will use multi-touch attribution in order to better monitor the quality of traffic from their advertising investments. Further, retailers will become more bullish on advertising fraud as they look to ensure that their marketing is reaching the highest quality audience. More than 6 in 10 retail marketers (63 percent) will increase their direct media buying in 2018 in order to better monitor the quality of their traffic from advertising investments.
Holistic approach to increasing sales
Retail marketers are wisely embracing mobile as a conduit for sales both on the phone and in physical retail stores. Based on the survey, retail marketers believe mobile is the key priority for positively affecting sales growth, and 72 percent will use mobile marketing to drive in-store sales. Further, 82 percent will rely on mobile marketing to drive in-app sales.
As marketers look to increase revenue in the coming year, their team structures and channel approaches will evolve to become more cross-functional. In fact, 50 percent of retail marketers say that their mobile marketing team falls under digital marketing within their organization, up from 41 percent in 2016.
Finally, promotions continue to be top-of-mind for driving sales. Most retailers (76 percent) plan to increase the amount of promotions they are offering in 2018, and 86 percent will partner with websites and apps that focus on deals, cash back and loyalty programs.
“The convergence between physical and digital shopping will blend even further this year,” said Tarleton. “As retail shifts continue, delivering seamless shopping experiences—be it in-store or online—are critical to success.”
The RetailMeNot Retail Marketing Trends Survey was a 15-minute online survey fielded by Kelton Global Research between Tuesday, January 2, 2018, and Friday, January 5, 2018. During this time, 209 interviews were captured among marketing decision makers who work at organizations that sell products both online and in physical retail locations.