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3 tips for retailers to maximize online success

3 tips for retailers to maximize online success Anto Chittilappilly

With 2015 in the rearview mirror, online retailers have the opportunity to take a breather and reflect on what worked from a marketing perspective in 2015, and what changes they can make for a more successful 2016. Over the past year, consumer behavior continued to evolve, with shoppers spending more time researching and purchasing online and across multiple devices than they had in years past. In fact, 67 percent of consumers moved across smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers when shopping online. To keep on top of this shifting buyer behavior, retail marketers should pull out all the stops to ensure their customers are experiencing a truly connected retail experience. Here are three things retail marketers should keep in mind for a successful 2016:

Embrace mobile

With the explosion in mobile usage, having a unified, cross-device view is more important than ever, as a consumer is more often than not viewing content or ads on multiple devices before making a conversion. For example, a consumer may see a retailer's display ad on their iPhone one day, read an email promotion from that same retailer on their tablet the next day, and click on a paid search ad on their desktop computer the day after that, before finally going to the retailer's website and converting. A unified view of the customer journey across devices provides marketers with insight into how content and/or ads seen on one screen impacts action taken on the other. Additionally, a responsible cross-device view enables marketers to measure the contribution of each of these disparate touchpoints to an ultimate conversion so they can better understand the effectiveness of their campaigns, as well as how to best allocate budget by device type.

Connect SKUs with marketing touchpoints

Since retailers typically sell a number of different brands and products, it's critical for marketers to understand which marketing channels and tactics contribute to which products being sold. Advanced marketing attribution provides this insight by assigning fractional credit to all of the touchpoints that contributed to an eventual conversion, and then analyzing that data side-by-side with vital customer order information such as product Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) purchased, order value, the time of purchase, customer geography, and more. As a result, retailers receive a holistic view of what marketing tactics contributed to which products sold, at what time-lag from various stages in the marketing funnel, from which location, and the amount of revenue generated. For example, if a retailer wanted to increase sales of a particular product (let's say winter coats), marketers at the company could deliver more ads for that product using the promotional tactics that performed best at producing conversions, or even bundle relevant products (e.g., winter coat with matching gloves) together to increase sales volume.

Optimize promotions and offers

When it comes to promotions, marketers must identify which offers will drive the highest number of conversions and revenue. But when using antiquated last click or rules-based approaches to measurement, determining which offers will generate the highest return on advertising spend is a constant game of hit or miss. Advanced attribution techniques that incorporate predictive analytics, on the other hand, enable marketers to look at different combinations of offers based on budget, duration, and location to identify the offer(s) that will generate the greatest response. Given that the retail sector thrives on running promotions, this insight is not only critical for trumping the competition with the most unique and compelling offers, but also for ensuring those offers deliver the best return for their business.

By keeping these trends in mind, online retailers will set themselves up for a fruitful and cost-effective year.

Anto Chittilappilly is president, founder, and CTO at Visual IQ

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Anto Chittilappilly is the President, Founder and CTO of Visual IQ, a marketing business intelligence company that provides the end-to-end insight needed to execute successful campaigns, deliver maximum ROI and measure multi-campaign...

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