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David RushCEO and Co-FounderEarshot
Shoppers feel empowered by their mobile devices to make buying decisions anytime, anywhere. However, this behavior poses a threat to traditional retail. David Rush, CEO and co-founder of real-time social media marketing platform Earshot, told eMarketer’s Tricia Carr how shopper marketers can effectively communicate with and convert the multichannel shopper.
eMarketer: How can shopper marketers cater to today’s mobile-empowered consumers?
David Rush: Technology has evolved to the point where consumers can instantaneously make purchase decisions through their mobile device in a way they couldn’t before. Marketers can capitalize on this by not only making their mobile commerce capabilities more robust, but making their communications and those opportunities to convert consumers more timely.
eMarketer: Mobile gives shoppers access to so many products. How can shopper marketers make a true connection with a consumer?
Rush: There are still studies that show that consumers are looking for incentive-based communications, and that’s an important part of the arsenal for shopper marketers, but it needs to be conversational. Ultimately what drives business between a brand or a shopper marketer and a consumer is trust, and the way that you establish trust is through a consistent relationship that delivers value.
That value doesn’t necessarily have to be a 25% discount on a product. It could be in the form of a concierge to help them understand problems that they’re having or give them direction. Smart shopper marketers will find clever, value-added ways to connect with consumers when there is an opportunity to convert them without relying solely on incentive-based communication to achieve their goals.
eMarketer: When is it effective to connect with consumers when they’re in the aisle?
Rush: If you empower the consumer with the ability to ask a brand questions in real time, that might be an effective way to provide them with the information they need to make a more informed purchase decision while they’re in the aisle. But if you push them incentives and there are multiple vendors doing that at the same point in time, that gets annoying fast. There’s also the flip side—how many of those consumers have already made the decision before they walk in the store?
eMarketer: What’s the biggest challenge for shopper marketers who want to target consumers in real time?
Rush: It’s the creepy factor—you have to balance real-time relevance with the privacy expectations and concerns of the average consumer. People are appreciative of authentic value-added messaging from brands, but are turned off by aggressive solicitations and even incentive-based communications when they are unwelcome. The challenge is, how do you connect with the bottom-of-the-funnel consumer in a tactful way to drive business results?
eMarketer: What digital trends do shopper marketers need to be mindful of?
Rush: There are more and more ways to reach consumers at the right time to get them to convert that can go beyond the store. There will still be value in brick-and-mortar locations, but more and more people are making purchase decisions online or through a mobile device. Shopper marketers need to be cognizant of this.
Another emerging trend is the ability to place buy buttons in different locations, such as blog posts or other types of content. The idea is that you’re enabling the consumer to make a purchase decision at that moment when they are most connected to the product, brand or service.
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