The report – and it is well worth the money and recommended reading – explores how retail for the Web channel has not just been able to withstand the economic hardships of the last year, but actually grown. The report attributes the growth to an interesting dynamic borne out of the uncertain economic climate. In recent years, online retail businesses have balanced their marketing efforts well between acquisition marketing and retention marketing. As the economy turned, so did the strategy. Larger online retailers infused their marketing budgets with more money dedicated to customer acquisition. Likewise, smaller retailers – now in danger of losing customers to their larger competitors – must move to effectively “protect their flank,” pouring more funds into retention marketing to retain customers and ward off a price war with great relationship marketing.
It is a fascinating dynamic. Interestingly, the most cost effective, best channels to execute these campaigns for large and small retailers alike are two pillars of direct digital marketing – email and mobile. While email is historically the premier retention tool, the perception of mobile marketing is changing more in favor of retention, and less as an acquisition tool (read: M-Commerce) is a misnomer. Simple mobile programs touting a time sensitive offer, local store event, or providing valuable information on merchandise in the store are excellent retail retention marketing campaigns that are simple to operate.
Ignoring mobile marketing, or resigning it solely to acquisition duty, is a failure to understand the value the mobile channel holds for the customer – and the marketer.