Top 5 ways to tackle today’s retail marketing challenges

Check out the top 5
solutions to tackle today’s retail marketing challenges.

Amanda Groth, 

6 October 2022



Planning-inc Chief Strategy Officer Stuart Russell spoke with Director, Ethical Consulting Practice for House 337 Nathan Ansell in our recent webinar, Navigating Challenges in Retail Marketing: The Power of First-Party Data and CX. In their discussion, they uncovered countless ways retail marketers can navigate today’s difficult landscape. Here are the top 5.

1. Demonstrate Value (Beyond the Price Tag)

There’s a lot going on in the market riht now that might lead retail brands to slash their prices in an effort to drive sales. Changing consumer behaviour and limited growth opportunities combined with escalating costs and rising inflation are prodding many brands into the race to the bottom.

Brands are facing a big conundrum: How can we be empathetic about consumers’ financial concerns while simultaneously enticing them to spend more with us?

One solution: Focus on value… but not necessarily price. As Nathan pointed out, ‘value’ is more than just cost.

2. Measure What You Manage

“It’s called Customer Relationship Management for a reason…”

— Nathan Ansell

Consumers’ behaviours, expectations and values are changing, and so too should the metrics CRM professionals use to measure the strategic direction and outcomes of their campaigns. Especially when looking to drive retention, the importance of understanding the customer cannot be overstated, and to understand your customer, you need robust, real-time customer data.

Nathan believes that marketers have historically been good at looking at data – just not from a customer perspective. Monday trading meetings are too often focused on transactions, not on analysing how campaigns impact customer behaviour in both the short- and long-term. At minimum, Nathan says, marketers need to understand who their customers are, where they are and what they value.

With that in mind, it’s also time to address the real issue of agility within many CRM teams. Having a finger on the pulse of key customer segments and being able to act on it in real time is crucial to success, but many teams don’t have the access or resource to do this effectively. This should be a key area for investment to make sure your brand weathers the storm (and comes out even stronger on the other side).

3. Get the Basics Right

During periods of upheaval and change, it might be tempting to abandon the basics in an effort to stand out from the crowd. After all, new channels like AR, VR and the Web 3.0 are trending these days, so maybe there’s something to it?

Possibly. But, as Nathan noted, the majority of high street brands still aren’t delivering on traditional customer experience, and before brands strike out on the ‘next big thing’, they should ensure their core business is in order.

To nail the basics, marketers need to look at long-term retention and capture intent in real-time. In other words, marketers have to develop a more nuanced understanding of the customer based on data. A significant number of CRM teams are still struggling to activate data o create valuable customer experiences across touchpoints. It might not be as flashy as Metaverse collabs, but thoughtful traditional CX will be key to developing relationships between the brand and the consumer, and that requires joining the dots between online and offline data beyond transactions.

4. Invest in a Customer-Centric and Data-Driven Culture

“The single most important thing that you can do as a customer-centric leader is to make sure your brand remains relevant to your consumers.”

— Nathan Ansell

Consumers’ behaviours, expectations and values are changing, and so too should the metrics CRM professionals use to measure the strategic direction and outcomes of their campaigns. Especially when looking to drive retention, the importance of understanding the customer cannot be overstated, and to understand your customer, you need robust, real-time customer data.

Nathan believes that marketers have historically been good at looking at data – just not from a customer perspective. Monday trading meetings are too often focused on transactions, not on analysing how campaigns impact customer behaviour in both the short- and long-term. At minimum, Nathan says, marketers need to understand who their customers are, where they are and what they value.

With that in mind, it’s also time to address the real issue of agility within many CRM teams. Having a finger on the pulse of key customer segments and being able to act on it in real time is crucial to success, but many teams don’t have the access or resource to do this effectively. This should be a key area for investment to make sure your brand weathers the storm (and comes out even stronger on the other side).

5. Prioritise Ethical Responsibility

Sustainability and ethical responsibility might not seem like an obvious priority during times of economic downturn, but Nathan believes it’s good for consumers, employers, brands and investors.

Sustainability and acting ethically aren’t at odds with business growth. One practical example Nathan discussed to illustrate this point was product returns. Categories like clothing can suffer from extremely high return rates. This results in high logistics costs, CO2 emissions, stock and supply chain issues, and ultimately high costs of sale. When you act more efficiently and reduce waste, it will have a profound effect on your bottom line. Predictive analytics and AI can streamline these processes, predicting likelihood to return in addition to when and how a particular customer will return their unwanted items. By integrating contextualised personalisation to include factors like drive time analysis and carbon emissions for self-returns vs. delivery, brands can own the conversation. In doing so, they are demonstrating their values while providing the consumer with options to suit their own values in turn.

“Don’t think of sustainability as something separate to the core business messaging,” urged Nathan. “It’s part of what you do. Weave it in clearly and cohesively into your core proposition as opposed to thinking of BAU marketing stuff and lobbing in a bit of sustainability stuff.”

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