By Ellie-Rose Davies, Content Executive at IMRG

With customer acquisition and retention proving difficult this year, largely owing to cost-of-living pressures in the UK, retailers are foregrounding the customer experience to drive growth.

To accelerate growth, many retailers are turning to interactive marketing to attract and convert even their most hesitant shoppers; Interactive marketing is marketing which foregrounds direct connections with customers, encouraging them to actively engage with retailers’ content. It promotes two-way communication between customer and retailer and the interactions are designed to inspire loyalty.

In this article, we reveal how interactive marketing is reshaping the retail industry, providing new avenues for customer engagement. We explore how these three key areas are leading the way:

  • Interactive video and social
  • Personalised offers
  • Post-purchase communication

1. Video and Social: Transforming Online Journeys

It takes more than stagnant product pages, images, and written descriptions to keep customers engaged. Now, customers want experiences that speak to them directly, that infuse fun in each interaction. Video content is one effective way to fulfil these expectations.

Kathy Klingler, CMO at Brightcove says that ‘Today’s consumers are even more selective with the content they view during their purchasing journey than ever before.’ In a saturated market, she reflects on the importance of video to cut through the noise.

‘Brightcove’s research shows that 85% of consumers worldwide find video essential as they shop online and 71% said videos with interactive features like “buy now” links are crucial. The higher engagement rate of video helps move customers through the buying journey and complete their purchase,’ says Kathy.

She describes how video is effective at boosting ‘interactivity, showcasing products, differentiating, and bringing brands to life’, and ‘78% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales.’

Similarly, Andrew Harkness, Head of Marketing at Huboo, reveals the value of video content, specifically when it comes to social media strategies. He says, ‘Perhaps the most significant trend in interactive marketing is the rise of live streaming, with socially-oriented eCommerce brands streaming their product launches and influencer collaborations, giving customers the opportunity to ask questions about the products and build a relationship with the brand.’

Andrew shares that ‘TikTok’s LIVE Shopping Ads have helped brands to tap into the platform’s vast community’ Using this platform, Andrew told us that one of Huboo’s clients, Worth A Shot Games, sold out their initial product range within days.

Online journeys can be transformed by the power of video, as it offers new and exciting content that is worth engaging with.

2. Offers: Personalisation as the Cornerstone of Engagement

Cost-conscious customers will have two main focusses when shopping online, the first being price and the second being value. If they are loyal, many want to be rewarded for being so and they also request that the quality of experience is consistently high.

Target customer, buyer persona, customer behavior concept. Marketing plan and strategies. Personalization marketing, customer centric strategies. Working on computer for target customer analytics.

Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer, EVP, EMEA at Bloomreach explains that ‘it’s difficult to keep your customers consistently engaged and interested in your brand and what you are offering. Effectively engaging with customers begins (and ends) with personalisation.’

‘That can mean anticipating what a customer wants before they know themselves,’ says Tjeerd, ‘or humanising digital conversations and interactions. This can be done through leveraging both customer and product data. By leveraging real-time data, a retailer can ‘incorporate personalisation at every step, constantly fulfilling customer’s preferences as they move through the site, app, or marketing content.’

Bill Schneider, VP of Product Marketing, at SheerID says ‘Privacy concerns and third-party data deprecation are driving smart brands to gather first-party data through tactics like product finders, interactive surveys, and AR.’

Using this data, retailers can ‘Give a verified, exclusive offer to a group like Gen Z.’ Subsequently, ‘Customers feel personally rewarded, and retailers can use the data to nurture the brand relationship.’ Bill says, ‘Seventy percent of customers who receive a verified, exclusive offer are more loyal to the brand that gives it to them.’

Exploring how to insert fun into the experience is Dan Bond, VP Marketing at RevLifter, who exclaims, ‘One effective method is to gamify offers. Consider implementing special offer hunts, mystery offers, or setting engagement goals or basket values that offer rewards. When executed properly, these strategies engage visitors and improve core metrics.’

Dan says, ‘Another way to stay relevant is by incorporating an onsite assistant that dynamically displays content, offers, and recommendations based on visitor behaviour. Add some eye-catching visuals and animations to ensure it doesn’t go unnoticed. This can truly enhance the overall user experience.’

3. Post purchase: Engaging beyond the transaction

Often marketing is focussed on acquisition, but it is also integral for customer retention. This is why interactive marketing is just as essential during the post-purchase process.

Nick Williams, Director of Parcel Services at PayPoint plc argues that ‘By using data analytics, retailers can tailor a customer’s experience to their individual preferences, providing a personal touch and encouraging repeat visits.’

Online Shopping And Payment. Portrait of excited african american female buyer holding credit card and using mobile phone, sitting on couch and looking in cardboard box container with white sneakers

He continues, ‘By using chatbots and live chats, retailers can still provide customer service in real time to mirror the in-store experience. In the physical world, POS displays and clear signage has been effective for Collect+ retailers allowing consumers to drop or collect their online-purchases at a store of their choosing.’

Shannon Cortina, Vice President of Global Brand & Communications at parcelLab shares how ‘leveraging advanced tracking, timely notifications and personalised communication can enhance transparency and meet customer expectations.’ Also, ‘Utilising customer feedback via surveys, email newsletters, and social media enables retailers to consistently and continually refine their services.’

‘Engaging customers with valuable, platform-specific content ensures ongoing interaction,’ shares Shannon. By increasing engagement at the post-purchase stage, retailers bring ‘a positive, memorable shopping experience’ that will keep shoppers back for more.

Gavin Murphy, CMO at Scurri explores the value of personalised post-purchase experiences, such as ‘real-time tracking and notifications, customised delivery options, interactive and immersive experiences that may include some post-purchase surprises,’ and, as explored, ‘customer feedback integration.’

He says, ‘While this sounds like simply adding complexity, now, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be used to analyse individual customer data and predict preferences based on their browsing and purchase history, as well as their social media activity.’

Want to read more? Here are some other IMRG blogs that cover a range of ecommerce topics:

Which One Is The Best? Ecommerce Pricing Strategies – IMRG

How to Protect Your Brand from Fake Traffic: Learnings from 2023 Holiday Data – IMRG

Fashion Focus: Strategies to Boost Growth After a Period of Doom – IMRG

Future Gazing: Great Expectations for Online Retail in 2024 – IMRG

Unboxing The Trends: Christmas & Boxing Day Ecommerce Insights Revealed (2023) – IMRG

Published 27/02/2024




Angle graphic

Let us help you
grow your business