Hamed Wardak, NYC-based Entrepreneur
With more than half the world’s population using the internet, growth is now beginning to slow down. Estimates are that the current 3.6 billion users will increase 6% this year, a slight decrease from the 7% last year, but shipments of cell phones already dropped 4% in 2019 over 2018. Ecommerce sales in the U.S. were up 12.4% while in-store retail sales increased 2%. However, some economists are warning of a coming recession. While companies can’t prevent a recession, how’s a business adapt to the other changes?
Marketers need to think smarter. One way is to continue learning more about the brand’s audiences, using social media, segmenting and then directing targeted and personalized messages to them in the frequency and format they prefer.
This is not an easy task. Learning about a customer’s interests requires a program and analysis that helps a brand determine if the consumer favors casual to more formal attire, kitchen accessories that do it all or the basics, costume jewelry or high-end, etc. Such an analysis sheds light on the customer’s budget as well.
If customers are being sent emails, text messages, and other forms of communication, analyzing what’s been most successful is valuable. Some consumers may have higher open rates on text. Others may lean to email or tweets, so utilize what works best for each.
Similarly, companies using videos to demonstrate, educate or explain need to pay attention not just to the subjects consumers are viewing, but also the feedback they’re receiving. Comments can often lead to new courses and even new product ideas or hints of changes in future consumer preferences.
Encourage reviews and comments. And above all, pay attention to these comments, both good and bad, and respond to them. According to Katrina Lake, CEO of StitchFix, an online clothing stylist for men, women and children, all of their three million clients were acquired through recommendations. Lake explained that her 4,000 stylists listen, empathize and deliver what their clients want without any judgment whatsoever.
Free Trials and Stewardship
For companies offering services, the offer of a free trial is the most favored among new customers. A survey of more than 10,000 consumers by 2BrightCove and YouGov revealed that free trials ranked highest over all other options among 42% of respondents.
Video conferencing company Zoom reported a conversion rate of 67% to 69% from offering free trials to prospects compared to averages in the 20’s for their competitors. The reason for the difference, they explained, was in nurturing the customer experience during and after the trials to ensure that customers are satisfied.
Having a presence on more than one platform is also a good choice as long as marketers know which ones their public frequents. Although shipments of smartphones have declined, they still appear to be the best choice based on results by research firm Nielsen.
Nielsen’s recent audience report discovered that people are multitasking more than ever. Nearly nine out of ten (88%) have a second digital device in their hand and use it when they’re watching television, while 71% are online searching for content-related information and 41% message family and/or friends while watching their favorite shows.