June 27, 2017
The growing development of social media, smartphones and big data analytics are changing the world of online retail. Companies must alternate between the quickly-changing habits of those in touch with technology trends, while also remaining accessible and functional to customers still relying on older technological trends. Identifying what changes are necessary to adapt to can be a struggle.
These developments also offer companies more effective and creative ways to improve their connection customers, grow their businesses and create a stronger brand message. Some key changes in recent years in particular have positioned companies to offer updated tools to connect to consumers and develop strong customer relations.
Targeted Content Is on the Rise
One of the most advantageous tools companies have now is big data and its subsequent analytics information. This feature is showing up more often in business settings, from Google Analytics to Facebook’s targeted advertising options, allowing companies to develop content aimed at a very specific population in order to produce the most ideal response. Companies that want to send one message to soccer moms in rural America and another to young millennial men and women interested in the latest technology, now have the ability. Thanks to the availability of targeted advertising, companies can identify who they want to deliver a particular message with more precision.
Analytics around such targeted content comes from companies offering unique insights into the identities of their consumers and potential customers, allowing them to identify exactly who they need to appeal to so they can hone and focus their message on the populations most relevant to their businesses.
Mobile Phones Are a Key Tool
Companies are finding that being mobile focused, whether that means having a mobile-friendly site or a mobile app that is both regularly updated and intuitive in design, is necessary to maintaining a connection with customers, particularly with millennials as they slowly take over a wider share of the consumer market.
Companies need to adapt to this development by changing how they think about advertising, how to reach customers and change where they push advertisements.
They have the advantage of giving companies near constant-access to consumers, and frequently offer the ability to connect consumers. For example, Apple Wallet currently has a feature that will alert iPhone users with the Starbucks app of how much money they have in their account whenever they approach a Starbucks store, thus serving as both an advertisement and a motivation to purchase, built into the smartphone.
Consumers Expect Instant Gratification
One of the side effects of consumers now having constant access to companies is that they now expect near-instant gratification, whether that comes in the form of prompt company responses to both personal and public complaints or quick delivery of products. Companies like Amazon are particularly leading the revolution in terms of instant gratification, developing features such as same-day delivery, while grocery stores across the country are quickly learning to meet customer needs by allowing customers to schedule grocery deliveries or meal purchases ahead of time, often just minutes in advance, for immediate pickup or delivery.
Small Businesses Have a Better Chance
One other side effect of all these changes is that small companies now have a fighting chance of competing with big companies. After all, much of the traditional overhead requirements that go into running a business are eliminated when online interactions become a company’s primary mode of operation. Online stores, such as Etsy, enable small business owners to access a wide population, advertise at more reasonable costs, and serve as an appealing alternative option – the internet equivalent to mom and pop brick and mortar shops – for consumers to purchase from when they’re browsing online.
Thanks to the world of technology and social media, small businesses are more likely to find sudden success. For example, the small indie makeup company Bitter Lace Beauty pioneered an ingenuitive rainbow highlighter. The internet got ahold of it, and this tiny company that only a few thousand people had ever heard of became an overnight sensation, at one point forcing the shop owner to temporarily close in order to catch up with the massive influx of orders for her rainbow highlighter.
Online retail is seeing a significant shift thanks to changing trends in social media and developing tools that put more power in the hands of business owners, and grant customers more convenience and gratification.
Read more advice on how to connect with customers at Tech.Co
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