Don’t stick with the status quo — start meeting and exceeding your benchmark goals every month.

Knowing if your marketing efforts are working can often be a gray area. That’s because knowing what your metrics look like from month to month may not quite line up with the retail benchmarks of your specific industry. 

And while we’re talking about the different industry types, isn’t it confusing how metrics can vary drastically based on one section and another? How are you really supposed to know what tactics are successful and what’s not? 

Well, it does start with knowing the benchmarks based on your industry or segment, but really understanding your metrics goes beyond that. You need to be tracking your metrics monthly to monitor and analyze what’s working and what’s not. Then you can set your own benchmark expectations. 

Maybe your own benchmarks don’t align perfectly with the industry standards, but they give you a starting place and something to aspire to beat. 

There are a number of things you can do to help improve your current metrics across the board. From open and click rates to conversion and improve return on investment — you have the power to make a difference. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at 4 different ways that you can improve your current retail marketing efforts to see higher metrics and beat the benchmarks. 

Here’s a look at what we’ll cover throughout this article: 

  • Utilize automation to reach customers more effectively
  • Build a diverse marketing toolbox with the help of SMS messages
  • Implement an abandoned cart strategy to land more sales
  • Make personalization and see higher conversions

1. Utilize Automation Where You Can

Automation is all around us. From email marketing to social media and digital ads — it’s easier than ever before to reach your customers. 

If you aren’t using this to your advantage, you’re likely missing a big opportunity. The first reason is that automation can save you time and money. It allows you to create emails and campaigns one time and send it to large audience groups based on your current segmentation parameters. 

At this point, most companies are using some form of automation in their current marketing efforts. But are they using it to its full potential? By integrating customer data with the right automation system you can take it to the next level. Image courtesy of Business2Community

But it can go even further than that. In fact, with the right technology, your automation platform can actually start to learn and predict customer data. That means that as your customers’ wants and needs evolve, so do your marketing messages. The best part is you don’t have to do anything, it’s all done in the background. 

So what does this actually look like?

Here are a few examples of how automation can help improve your marketing efforts and boost your yearly benchmarks: 

  • Welcome campaigns to introduce customers to your brand
  • Nurturing campaigns to help guide users through the buying experience
  • Retention campaigns to win-back customers who are inactive or likely to become inactive

All of these can be done by understanding the behaviors of your customers. If someone just recently subscribed to your email marketing, they will be enrolled into a welcome campaign. On the other hand, if someone has been inactive with your messages for the last 60 days, they will be enrolled into a retention campaign to try and bring them back to an active state. 

While these examples are one of the more basic forms of automation and customer behavior tracking working together — it’s a great place to start. 

2. Build a Diverse Marketing Toolbox

If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers and see higher engagement rates, adding new marketing tactics can be a great option. Chances are good you’ve already started to build a brand presence via email and social media — but have you looked into SMS messaging yet? 

With a 98% open rate and 90% of messages read within 3 minutes, it’s something you should seriously consider. Looking at the benchmarks across all of the retail marketing industries, it’s hard to come by anything else that compares. 

SMS messages are a great way to reach your customers. Then by combining them with your other marketing efforts, you’ve set yourself up for increased metrics and created a seamless customer experience. Image courtesy of Listrak

That’s because when you are sending SMS messages to your customers, they have given consent to hear from you by opting into your program. Not to mention that you’re sending messages to their most-used device — their cellphones. 

Once you’ve established your SMS marketing and build a substantial subscriber list, you can start to develop cross channel marketing campaigns. Doing this can help you leverage the engagement of your SMS messages with the reach of your other marketing efforts. 

Here are a few examples of how you can integrate SMS messages into your other marketing tactics: 

  • Include your registration keyword on print materials
  • Encourage in-store shoppers to subscribe and receive a special discount
  • Send emails announcing an SMS messaging contest you’re running
  • Tell your social media followers about your upcoming SMS messages

There are a number of marketing tactics out there that can help you build a more diverse toolbox. The more you interact with your customers across multiple channels, the more likely they are to engage with your brand. As your engagement rates increase, so will the other benchmarks you’re tracking each month. 

3. Implement an Abandoned Cart Strategy

Did you know that approximately 55% of online shoppers will abandon their cart? 

So, if you aren’t tracking and marketing products back to these shoppers, they could simply just never return to checkout. That’s a huge amount of sales lost because someone decided they weren’t quite ready to seal the deal. 

The good news is that you don’t have to lose all of those sales. You can implement an abandoned cart strategy that will allow you to win back a large portion of those sales and increase your conversion rates. 

Image courtesy of Fit Small Business

One of the first steps to developing an abandoned cart strategy is to understand why your customers are not completing their purchases. There are a number of different reasons this could be happening, but here are a few of the most common: 

  • The cost of the purchase was higher than expected
  • The checkout process was too long or too complicated
  • The customer didn’t trust the website with their credit card information
  • The return policy wasn’t what the customer was looking for 

Sending abandoned cart messaging either via email, SMS messages, or even social media and digital ads is the first step to bringing these customers back to complete a sale. But you do have to have an understanding of why people are choosing not to complete purchases on your site. 

It may be as simple as sending a discount code or coupon to bring them back, but it could also be as complicated as restructuring your check-out process. But once you know what is wrong and how to fix it, you have the ability to greatly increase both your conversion rates and your return on investment.

4. Make Personalization a Priority 

To be competitive in today’s marketing world, you need to make personalization a priority in all of your communication tactics. In fact, we’ve already gone beyond the need for just personalization in our marketing efforts. Everything is all about hyper-personalization these days. 

To help hit home just how important personalization is in today’s retail marketing world, here are a few personalization statistics to shed some light on how important it truly is: 

  • 71% of consumers are frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal
  • 36% of consumers say retailers need to offer more personalized experiences
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides a personalized experience
  • 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging

Customers welcome personalized content because it’s more relevant to their needs and can help them save time. You’ll improve the customer experience and continue to see higher metrics as you work to better personalize content to the needs of your customers. Image courtesy of Marketing Charts.

If you haven’t jumped on the personalization bandwagon, this is your sign. 

The idea of hyper-personalization utilizes advanced technology to understand customer data and behaviors to provide them with the most relevant content offers. With the help of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics you can know exactly what your customers want before they know. 

Having the ability to predict their future needs allows you to stay ahead of their purchasing needs and encourage them to make additional purchases. It allows you to provide the most relevant content based on each customer’s personal journey, improving the overall customer experience. 

You can expect that by implementing personalization and hyper-personalization into your current retail marketing efforts you will see a big increase in your monthly metrics. With the right steps, it won’t take long for you to reach or exceed the benchmarks for your industry. 

It’s Time to Start Beating the Standard 

Start pushing your retail marketing benchmarks to the limit. If you’re continuously seeing lower metrics month after month, it’s time to make a change and find new ways to engage and excite your customers. Whether it’s through automating campaigns based on their behaviors or improving personalization — there’s a way for you to see higher metrics. 

Don’t get sucked into the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset. Start tracking and beating your marketing benchmarks every month. Soon enough you’ll be beating the industry standards and setting higher goals for the competition.