BrightEdge for Retail Marketing

The current state of retail marketing with tips on how to succeed in the retail shoppers buying journey


Retail is currently going through a cosmic shift in retail marketing strategies, focused heavily on digital business transformation.  However, as an industry, retail companies are inexplicably lagging behind all other industries. According to a recent Gartner Digital Business Survey,  as few as 3% of retailers are delivering clear results from their digital marketing initiatives.  The survey further finds that there is a lack of clarity by retail marketers concerning their objectives.  Specifically, they tend to struggle to define goals for the retail channel that are separate from e-commerce initiatives.  This leaves us with the question, "how can the remaining 97% of retailers gain clarity and results towards their retail marketing initiatives?"  The answer is to listen to the voice of the customer and align retail marketing initiatives with the new digital customer journey.  

In order to understand the retail buying experience it is important to evaluate the following trends that are affecting the retail customer journey.

Top 10 Industry Trends for Retail Marketing:

  1. We now live in a new world of "omnishoppers" where 81% of shoppers first learn about a product online before they buy in-store.  It is vital to support this new hybrid (online and in-store) shopper with easy access to all the information they need at the moment they need it.  While the customer journey clearly begins online it has been reported that up to 88% of online shoppers will continue to make the purchase in-store after making the buying decision online.  In order to drive results, marketers in the retail industry should focus on omnichannel marketing strategies. 
  2. Voice search is on the rise and is expected to reach 50% of the search queries by 2020 according to Comscore, so it could be as large of a growth factor in search as mobile was between 2012 and 2017.  This is good news for the retail industry if companies build valuable content that reaches the shopper at this crucial moment.  While some shoppers may buy certain consumables through voice search it is unlikely that they will make an entire buying decision for common retail items such as electronics, fashion, and home goods.   However, retailers can influence their decision at this moment.
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the rise in retail marketing.  In a recent survey to over 500 marketers, we found that 26% of marketers believe AI is the next big thing in marketing yet only 4% of them have actually implementing AI into their marketing strategies.  This represents a great opportunity for savvy retail marketers to implement AI in their initiatives.  AI can help increase your online visibility through clear insights that accelerate the time to results and ROI. Imagine reviewing a prioritized optimization plan put together by an AI-powered virtual data analyst in the morning, and getting your team to work on the most important tasks before lunch.
  4. Retail Marketers must win the local search results. With digital experiences varying according to location, you can get a skewed view of how your customers experience search locally if you confine your analysis of organic demand (search volume) and content performance (organic ranking) to a single location. You may fail to see the variances in search volume between a metropolitan area and a small nearby town. And using a single-location view of organic performance can hide the fluctuations in ranking across multiple geographies.  Learn more about how BrightEdge can help your local optimization efforts here.
  5. Shoppers have instant access to reviews.  For example, Yelp allows customers to leave their impressions and experiences with various businesses, and with over 70 million unique monthly visitors on mobile and 74 million unique monthly visitors on a desktop, the potential impact of this site on consumer behavior is significant.  By and large, these reviews have a positive impact on buying decisions and displaying these ads next to a product can increase conversions by 270%.
  6. Personalization that drives customer loyalty and rewards shopping behaviors is increasingly expected by today's consumer.  Retailers have understood the importance of customer loyalty for many years, in fact, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools have been used by stores for over 30 years to better understand their customer's buying habits.  While this strategy has been executed for a long time new technologies such as marketing automation have allowed personalization between the store and the buyer to be automated and highly personalized.  From emails to the website experience all the way to the in-store customer experience there is a high expectation of personalization that should be incorporated into the overall retail marketing plan.  It is now necessary to activate content across every channel at every opportunity. Personalizing the sales experience can increase customer loyalty and engage the shopper at a whole new level. Retailers may be able to stay one step ahead of the competition by engaging customers at every touch point and making use of smart content and smart assets, such as associate-facing applications used in stores or interactive booths or screens for customers to “check in” to their store to earn a reward. Personalize email messages with the shopper’s name in the subject line and body; send personalized greeting cards via regular mail; and provide rewards or thank-you messages for visiting a brick-and-mortar store based on the shopper’s latest purchases or social media checkins.  To learn more about this topic, click here.
  7. Social Media sharing drives quality inbound links as well as traffic, leads, and revenue, making it an important trend for retail marketing.  Search engines are increasingly using social media activity such as Likes, Tweets, Shares, and +1s to determine which pages are most relevant for keyword searches, and to provide a personalized search experience. This offers an enormous opportunity for marketers to leverage social media to directly impact content performance, improve search rankings, and increase revenue generated through organic search.
  8. Retail shoppers turn to mobile devices more frequently than desktop to research. Successful retail marketing includes strategies to deliver an exceptional mobile experience.  In order to optimize the shoppers experience on mobile the retail website needs to load quickly. Crawl your mobile domain or main domain (if responsive) with ContentIQ to uncover site errors, such as slow response time or noindex tags.  In addition, recent BrightEdge research confirms the first page that ranks for a search query is different on mobile vs. desktop SERPs 35% of the time.  Learn more about how BrightEdge can help your mobile retail marketing strategy here.
  9. Google has implemented ongoing SERP type changes that can add a lot of value to your retail marketing. From Local 3-packs to Quick Answers there are a variety optimization initiatives that can help capture more of your retail shoppers.  
  10. Over half of retailers have a bounce rate greater than 40%. This is not good. It is imperative to trim your bounce rate. A one-second increase in page load time can have a 50% impact on mobile bounce rate! Two seconds can more than double mobile bounce rates! Check your page load speed here.

Brands are now standardizing on the BrightEdge platform across key industry verticals, including the retail industry. Customer include Nike, 3M, Microsoft, and Four Seasons Hotels. BrightEdge now works with eight (8/10) out of the top ten largest retailers.  To learn more about how BrightEdge can help your retail marketing initiatives contact us today.

Retail Marketing Click-Curve Data:


Click curves are an important factor when determining your keyword opportunities and developing a content strategy that delivers a high ROI.  By understanding these click curves you will be able to answer questions like;

  • How much traffic will I gain from moving from position 5 to position 1?
  • Is it worth my time to focus on a particular keyword?
  • Should I implement a Paid Ad (PPC) strategy on a particular keyword?

While the click curve data is important to understand it is equally important to understand the SERP layout to better understand where the organic listings are located.  There are now 37 unique SERP categories that all retail marketers need to consider.

One of the most common concerns retail marketers experience is they are winning in rank but losing traffic.  To measure organic visibility, marketers must understand SERP type and fold.