As the nation gears up to make this Christmas one to remember, e-commerce businesses will be keen to use every tactic in their armoury to create a standout and steal a share of the seasonal shopping splurge.
Here, Alex Feiglstorfer, CTO and co-Founder of headless CMS Storyblok, explains why flexible marketing should be on the top of every business’ wish list as we prepare for a very different festive build-up.
It’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to this Christmas a bit more than usual. With last year seeing many of our favourite festivities put on hold, it’s no surprise that many of us will be going all out to make this Yuletide season extra special.
According to recent research1,, well over half (55%) of consumers are looking to make this Christmas celebration the biggest yet. The same study suggests that with nearly £200bn in accumulated lockdown savings, the majority of UK consumers are planning to splash even more cash on Black Friday purchases and Christmas gifts in 2021.
Of course, for many of us this will involve hitting the High Street and, while there, taking advantage of the reopening of many seasonal staples such as the German market, Christmas shows and the like.
However, that is not to take away from the e-commerce opportunity. The ease and speed of buying online is one of the many lockdown learnings that is here to stay.
What it does mean though is that in order to take a bigger bite of the seasonal share, e-commerce businesses can not afford to rest on their laurels and must seek to differentiate themselves. This becomes more important given the rise of a more digitally-savvy consumer and a newfound affinity with the physical store.
Here, the importance of flexible marketing and the ability to produce rich, relevant content in line with emerging market trends cannot be underestimated.
After all, without the sensory experience afforded by the bricks and mortar store, an online business’ website is its shop window and its content is its pulling-power in getting customers through the door.
Of course, given the past 18 months, for many retailers taking a brand new approach to marketing may be the last thing on their mind. Nevertheless, with Christmas just two months away and, fingers crossed, the worst of lockdowns behind us, now is a golden opportunity to look again at how you engage with your customers and promote your brand.
So where do we begin? First, marketing effectiveness is only ever as good as the technology that underpins it. The big mistake many companies make is in thinking that getting a big tech stack from a well-known brand is the best and easiest way to enable a successful marketing output. Not only is this usually an expensive approach, but it may also mean being locked into using products that don’t fit your business’s changing needs. On the other side of this, there are businesses that simply don’t invest in any significant marketing infrastructure.
The reality is that there are now a huge range of new solutions available that, via APIs, can usually be easily integrated together. This means you have the freedom to build a suite of tools that work for your business. In addition, you also have the flexibility to swap out different solutions as your marketing develops.
Identifying just what you need comes down to how you think about the future of your business and its marketing output. Amid the pandemic-induced rate of digitalisation, people are consuming content from a huge range of different channels and expect more personal, up-to-date content. As a result, creating a suite of tools that enables you to amend content quickly and easily is essential. So too is the ability to leverage existing customer data and other information streams to provide tailored and relevant marketing messages. A headless CMS that is flexible enough and can output content in different channels enables this type of marketing strategy.
The final major piece of the puzzle is building the expertise you need to maximise the impact of your marketing. Gone are the days when a catchy email subject line or funny tweet would be enough to draw significant attention to your brand. Consumers expect the entire customer journey to be personalised and offer the best user experience. Everything from delivering dynamic content on your website through to post-conversion follow up needs to happen. This requires having a marketing department that is multidisciplinary and cross-functional. They need to have data, development, commercial and marketing skills and, critically, the team cannot be isolated from the rest of the business. Information flow between marketing and other departments is both desirable and essential. For example, data gleaned from marketing can inform product development and data gathered from areas such as customer service are needed to enable a truly personal experience.
If all of this sounds very overwhelming, do not worry – Rome was not built in a day. Start small by auditing your existing outputs and looking closely at the data to ascertain your successes and pain points. From there you will be able to identify a pilot project where you can trial a new approach to your marketing. As this trial develops you’ll have a greater appreciation of the type of tech stack you’ll need and the skills you need to bring into your business. When this is completed you’ll be able to create a plan that can execute the points highlighted above.
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Yes, this is a lot to accomplish and may not be achievable in time for this golden quarter. But, by adding flexible marketing to the Christmas wish list, businesses can look to ensure they can create the cut-through content needed to sleigh the competition in the year to come.