On the surface, the latest research in retail marketing paves a clear road to success. According to an article in ClickZ, back to school searches on Google are significantly up. Specifically, searches that reflect more cautious spending: searches for "coupon" are up 40% over last year; "buy one get one free" are up 30%; "free shipping" are up 20%.
Some more retail research: Based on Deloitte's latest Consumer Spending Index, consumer spending is on the rise (an increase of 2.15% in July, the second straight month of growth). At the same time, shoppers continue to be extremely price-sensitive. The National Retail Federation's recent study conducted by BIGresearch found that over 50% of holiday shoppers consider price to be the most important factor when determining where to shop.
What this looks like for retailers is that for the two major upcoming shopping seasons – back to school and the Holidays – there may be a very straightforward opportunity: shoppers are more comfortable spending, but they need to be motivated though special deals and discounts.
It would be easy to conclude then, that with the right call to action, your problems are solved. If you're offering free shipping, just say so. If you can give 10% off, make sure people know about it. Simple. Revise your copy and watch the dollars pour in.
But there's more. Of course, you need a compelling call to action. However, that only gets you so far. When you run promotions, make sure that you collect consumers' contact information by asking them to sign-up for a coupon for free shipping, or letting them know that they'll be receiving their discount code via email. Then, make sure you use it.
First, respond right away. You can do this by integrating your advertising solution with your email service provider to send real-time emails, or auto-responders, with relevant content. Coldwater Creek uses auto-responder technology to send immediate follow up emails to marketing leads they acquire through CPL advertising.
Then, focus on what gets you long term brand loyalty: engagement. Get yourself in the door through relevant promotions, but don't stop there. Make the most of that email address. Try inviting your email list to be part of your Twitter forum - give real-time shopping tips, offer exclusive discounts. Offer a downloadable Facebook widget where people can enter characteristics about their friends and family, and get gift recommendations. Hold a contest that offers 25% off to the shopper with the best first day of school story.
Sure, do whatever it takes to make sure that when shoppers hit the stores, and sites, during this back to school and holiday shopping season, they come to yours… but also make sure that they keep coming back.