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Best of the retail marketing web - September 2015

We've scoured the web for the latest articles we think represent the best of the retail marketing web over the past month. Read on!

Google Shopping product feed updates...

Our pals over at Leapfrogg really have their finger on the pulse when it comes to search engine marketing. This article shares what you need to know about the latest updates to Google's Shopping Feed specifications. The changes Google has made aren't drastic but it is definitely worth checking to see if you need to update your feed. Updates include: the requirement for a Global Trade Item Number in order to ensure bona fide products can be found and sold through Google Shopping more easily.

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Preparing for the ominous 'Black Friday'

Summit, the retail specialist agency, look ahead to this year's Black Friday event, set to be the biggest online shopping day in history. They cite some useful preparatory steps around stock levels, logistics and site performance to ensure your online reputation won't be hampered. They even have a useful performance checking tool which could come in handy in insuring you stay 'open for business'.

For us, there are two key elements to focus on: Delivery partners and their capabilities, given your reputation is in their hands. And minimising margin erosion by segmenting your customer base and targeting heavier discounts to those more deal-hungry customers and more palatable discounts to customers who have bought full price or on shallower discounts. For these customers you should think about warming them up in advance to the special offers they will receive, so that they don't switch their spend elsewhere.

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Giving respect to customer reviews

Customer reviews are clearly important but this article puts that importance into context for any retail business, which approaches reviews half-heartedly. What we found most interesting were stats and findings such as: having 50 reviews increases purchase likelihood by 37%. And that negative reviews can actually generate sales for a brand. The key being the authenticity of the review (whether positive or negative) and the speed, manner and indeed authenticity in which the review is fielded.

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Email still number 1 , but improvements still needed

For anyone still doubting the power of email, here is more weight to the counter-argument. According to Adobe research, email is still a powerful marketing channel with 63% of customers preferring to be contacted via email vs. other channels. Interestingly Direct Mail came second as a channel of preference with 20% of customers. The article references the optimisation work that is still needed to make emails more engaging across devices, as well as relevant for the reader.

The EMEA Marketing Director for Adobe sums up the kind of sentiment we share:

while email marketers have a devoted audience, they need to keep it relevant to succeed. The days of blast-style emails are over and brands need to focus on getting their messages to the right person, with the right content, at the right place and at just the right moment. The best way to keep consumers engaged is through more dynamic and real-time personalised content with contextually relevant offers and promotions.

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