Merchant Marketing: The new normal?

Merchant Marketing: The new normal?

In an article taken from PBM’s April edition, Jones Digital outlines its 2022 Digital Marketing Trends Forecast, sharing its thinking on how the KBB, Home Interiors and Build & Construction industries can “harness the power of the latest marketing technology to raise their profiles and deliver amazing customer service, 24/7”.

“The past two years have intensified consumer reliance on digital technology as a tool for connection across all aspects of their lives,” explains Peter Jones, the Founder and Managing Director of Jones Digital. “With 84% of British adults owning a smart phone and 96% having internet access, up from 57% back in 2006, what was once a brave new world of ‘having the internet in your pocket’ has now become the norm and has revolutionised everyone who sells products or services.

“Like it or not, we all have a digital footprint today, so it makes sense to make the most of it.”

During the pandemic, increasing demand for personalisation in offline and online experiences was evident with a wealth of podcasts and video content for users to choose from. Peter said: “Having a strong message and an in-depth understanding of your target audience’s needs is crucial,” noting that creating a customer journey “needs to begin as soon as a potential customer lands on your website or clicks onto your social media feed”.

As such, Peter shares how to capitalise on the digital trends in the year ahead:

Embrace the power of video

Peter says: “I completely understand that in our sector we tend to let our amazing products and services speak for themselves, and in the physical world it’s easy to invite customers to ‘feel the quality’ once we’ve built up a rapport and give them samples or brochures to take home. However, using video marketing can really speed up the customer journey so that customers and are already fired up to meet your people and have done their research.

“You don’t need to shoot a commercial — video marketing is all about providing easy to consume information which sparks curiosity and distils the essence of your brand for your customer, making it easy for them to decide to buy from you. Once you have your own content, it’s easy to post it on social media channels as well as your website and also to your email list.

“When it is done well, you will have an evergreen resource which you can use to answer FAQs in a personable and professional way.”

Invest in storytelling

Peter argues that your ‘digital story’ needs to be fully integrated into your marketing strategy, rather than regarded as a ‘nice to have’ bolt-on. He said: “Time and time again, I see that brands are focused on themselves rather than the features and benefits they offer to the customer. Get into the nitty gritty about how you can save your customer time, money and effort so they can quickly grasp what sets you apart from the competition.

“In 2022, information comes like white noise so cut through with an authentic, straight forward digital story which gives them instant clarity about what you can offer.”

Plug into virtual experiences

“The move to hybrid working during the pandemic and restrictions during lockdown ensured that retailers and manufacturers had to get creative about connection and this trend is set to continue,” explained Peter. “We are finding that virtual showrooms are a great asset to KBB retailers as customers are self-selecting and have done their research before they visit in person, which means the buying process is accelerated.

“Knowing how much retailers invest in creating beautiful showrooms, it makes sense to bring them to life online so that they get maximum exposure outside of trading hours. You can also seamlessly include promotional videos for core products, giving your customers access to as much information as you wish, so that your showroom is effectively an extra member of your sales team.”

In closing, Peter adds: “Remember not to underestimate just how powerful a personal brand is within a business, as these too can form building blocks for you and your customers. Embrace the fact we’re all the same and just be yourself, and share personalities within your company by encouraging everyone from junior level right up to management to have a voice online. As long as you’re all speaking with ‘one brand voice’, you’ll be able to create adhocracy values where innovation, change and growth become part of your everyday culture and customer relations — old and new.”

Click here for more information on the bespoke digital marketing packages offered by Jones Digital.

In his role as Founder and MD of executive recruitment agency to the KBB and builders’ merchants sector, Foyne Jones, Peter Jones discusses the rise of the four-day week.

The recent lockdown measures have emphasised the number of people working flexible hours, something which has increased five-fold in the last two decades. According to a recent report by Forbes, 70% of UK employees also feel that flexible working makes a job more attractive to them whilst 30% would prefer flexible working to a pay rise.

I recognise this concept will be difficult to translate across traditional ‘retail’ sectors, however it will inevitably become part of everyone’s future and so I believe companies should not shy away from new opportunities to support and work with their staff.

Indeed, as a specialist in industries typically regarded as ‘male-dominated’, I have witnessed a sea change in recruitment, as employee engagement is now regarded as a fundamental concept in business, combined with unbiased equal opportunities. Ultimately, your greatest asset is your relationship with your team and achieving results by empowering staff is the best way to gain the right level of productivity and form a common purpose.

However, there need to be employer benefits too — and these are being realised through increased sales, lower overheads and improved employee retention, which will breed loyalty and more positive culture. Similarly, reports are showing that implementing more flexible working hours can also encourage lower sickness rates and a more equitable, transparent relationship between employee and employer.

Click here for more on Foyne Jones’ recruitment services.

In his role as Founder and MD of executive recruitment agency to the KBB and builders’ merchants sector, Foyne Jones, Peter Jones discusses the rise of the four-day week.

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