Retailers Shifting Digital Marketing Spend

To capture and capitalize on mobile traffic growth, retailers are looking for ways to optimize their digital marketing campaigns across various devices.  As a result, top investment priorities include tried and true favorites email and paid search.

According to the Shop.org/Forrester Research, Inc. study, “The State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising,” nearly nine in ten (87 percent) online retailers surveyed either already have implemented or are planning to implement mobile email optimization in 2013, and seven in ten will optimize paid search for smartphones and tablets (71 percent and 73 percent, respectively).

“As consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the United States reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touchpoints now,” explains Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer.”

According to the study, retailers say that, on average, 28 percent of emails sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone; the stakes are higher for small retailers who say that on average 42 percent of their emails are first opened on a smartphone.

Online retailers to hire more web marketing positions in 2013

Across all digital platforms, email and search are where four out of five retailers are most likely to invest more this year than last, signaling retailers’ understanding that they need to balance investments and resources in both retention and acquisition. Many retailers are adjusting their staffing accordingly, bolstering marketing budget allocations for search and email with investments in skill sets and staff. Forty percent of retailers surveyed plan to hire for open positions in marketing analytics in 2013, reflecting the need to wrestle down volumes of marketing data to create more effective interactions and an improved customer experience.

Personalization, omnichannel integration top merchandising priorities

For merchandisers, improving the customer shopping experience is key. For online retailers, those enhancements come in the form of video, personalized content and more. According to the study, product detail page improvements, particularly video offerings, will be a top focus this year: nearly three-quarters (72 percent) will invest in integrating video on their sites. Another 62 percent indicate that recommendations and personalization features will be a priority, including integrating capabilities to create different home pages and creating unique pages for their customers based on purchase history.

“Retailers continue to optimize the customer experience on their site and to that end have made investments in A/B testing, product detail page enhancements, and personalization mainstream,” notes Forrester Research VP and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “Going forward, however, we expect to see much more emphasis on checkout enhancements, as that is a key obstacle for direct transactions on mobile devices.”

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