ECOMMERCE: eCommerce is big business. In 2014, there were 12 to 15 million online stores, with more than 650,000 of those generating over $1,000 in annual sales. Many have found success selling goods through the giant marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, but highly-customizable and easy-to-manage ecommerce platforms have also emerged. Entrepreneurs with dreams of opening their own online stores have flocked to these platforms, which allow them to use content marketing to drive serious numbers and expand their market reach.
RETAIL: Under Armour is the powerful new kid on the block. At its launch, the sole workers were Plank, then a recent college grad, and his girlfriend at the time (and now wife) answering the phone. “The phone would ring in the middle of the night and we would be writing orders from California half asleep at 4 a.m.,” Plank told me. Now he’s got about 14,000 employees, but it appears his dedication (and from the sound of it, his hours) have not waned. I talked to him about what he thinks makes his company such a hot place for jobseekers.
ECOMMERCE: Amazon just announced the date for the second annual "Prime Day," a day of shopping that will have more than 100,000 special deals worldwide exclusively offered to its paid Prime members. Starting at midnight on July 12 (PST), Amazon Prime members will be able to shop across nearly all product categories and take advantage of new deals that Amazon promises to have as often as every 5 minutes throughout the day.
BRAND: What’s better than acquiring a new customer? If your first thought was “retaining a current customer” then your strategic thinking is in the right place. While there's a certain allure that comes with capturing new customers, keeping customers coming back will continually result in a greater ROI, as seen in a recent study from Belly. How do you create a customer retention strategy that keeps your current customers engaged? Below, I've detailed eight retention strategies that the biggest brands are currently using to inspire loyalty.
BRAND: In recent years, brands -- and the marketers behind them -- have become savvy to the fact that consumers crave content. What’s more is that companies finally have the power to shift from advertiser to publisher, while still reaping all the benefits. HubSpot’s inbound marketing blog has been instrumental in raising a whole generation of digital marketers, and it now has a market cap of $1.83 billion. "The Red Bulletin" by Red Bull prints two million copies a month which it sends to its subscribers around the world, and Red Bull remains the energy drink of choice for consumers everywhere.
ECOMMERCE: Amazon Web Services DynamoDB, MongoDB, Couchbase, and MarkLogic are all examples of NoSQL databases that may offer a better way to store product catalog information. How an ecommerce site stores and accesses product information can have a significant impact on site performance. Online retail businesses, small and large, may benefit from a popular database technology that could offer a better way to store product information. To help understand this technology, which is called NoSQL, it can help to describe just how complex product information can be.
RETAIL: The workspace is no longer just functional, it tells other people what type of person you are, and what type of business you are. Retailers are realising that they can be part of this new way of working, and are creating spaces that help them build deeper relationships with their customers. Retailers are creating partnerships with their customers through workspace and helping them to launch products. They are using the workspace to bring customers into stores, where they are given space and time to associate themselves with the brand. In addition, it associates retailers with the innovation and creativity of the people/business using the workspace.
MCOMMERCE: The growing retail ecommerce market is helping to offset a decline in traditional retail sales in the UK. The total retail sector, which includes high-street shopping , suffered negative growth last year, but it is set to start rebounding in 2017 when it will grow by 0.9% to reach £404.75 billion. UK consumers have always been quick to embrace digital technologies and eMarketer’s forecast shows that this extends to shopping and buying. In particular, they are easily making the shift to spending on mobile devices.
ECOMMERCE: eCommerce packages will have more places to land with United Parcel Service Inc.’s expansion of its Access Point locker program. UPS will increase the number of “smart” locker locations to 300 in the next two months after conducting a pilot program with nine lockers in Chicago, the company said Thursday. Installations are underway in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, says Kalin Robinson, director of the UPS Access Point program. The lockers will appear in eight other states—California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Texas—by the end of August, he says.
ECOMMERCE: JD Williams [IRDX RJDW] has also become a strong advocate of personalization, with the fashion retailer seeing an 18% rise in conversions through using personalization techniques in its mobile marketing. More recently, Gap relaunched its app, and branded it Gap+, to deliver a greater level of personalised experience to its customers. Mike Harris, VP EMEA at Monetate, adds: “Brands need to be interacting with customers on an individual level, as opposed to simply delivering a one-size-fits-all approach. To be successful, you need to connect with each customer, in every moment, through all touch points, based on everything they know about them.”
Last Word: Are They Really Broken?
There is a great article that discusses the efficacy of marketing agencies, written by the principal of a marketing agency. One passage stood out to me.
This is one of the biggest problems when it comes to the relationship between companies and their agencies. They expect the agency to be a de facto CMO. The agency is responsible for coming up with the ideas, deploying them, managing the systems, and reporting everything back. In fact, we’re treated more like a CMO and marketing department all rolled into one. But again, we’re not you. Our message is always going to be slightly off from where you’d like it. We’re never going to know your customers as well as you do.
I don't fully agree with his sentiments. I am a believer in marketing agencies, I just happen to think that beliefs and goals could be better aligned to achieve more, over the longer term. This could mean a few things: perhaps marketing agencies should have in-house management consulting expertise to assist in advising brands' toughest decisions. Or perhaps brands' securities should be a component of compensation packages for marketing agencies. When the brand does well, the firms' illiquid assets are mor valuable.
More and more, agencies are becoming more accountable to brands. But often enough, the remedy is the alignment of risk and the potential of upside.