2015 has been an amazing year for us here at Promoboxx! While 2015 has been a year ripe with opportunity and growth, however, it’s coming to a close, and now is the time to start setting 2016 plans into motion.
The past year has been a time of rapid growth, as we’ve seen several industry-leading brands and local retailers from across the country partner with Promoboxx and join our marketing platform. To support this fast-growing demand, we’ve also expanded our team to include industry veterans from Facebook, Vistaprint and Backupify, among others.
What we all have in common (this year and beyond) is that we share a vision, believe in local retailers, and recognize the value in our work to better connect and align brands and their independent retailers. As we close out the year (and squeeze in our last-minute holiday shopping trips to our favorite local businesses), we look to the year ahead, full of exciting possibilities and changes to come. Take a look at our top three digital retail marketing predictions for 2016:
1. The Failure of Traditional Funding Models
For those who regularly follow the Promoboxx blog, you know that the pitfalls and failures of co-op advertising are popular points of discussion among our team. There was a time when co-op advertising made sense, but with 2016 around the corner, it no longer does. (You can read more about the rise and fall of co-op in my article for CMO.com).
For brands, the co-op advertising system negatively impacts marketing budgets, reduces profit margins, inhibits retailers’ ability to buy more products, and hurts sales relationships with retailers. For retailers, the co-op advertising system is too time-consuming, reduces cash flow, and, many times, funds go unspent. We believe there’s a better way.
Over the next 12 months, more and more major brands will abandon their former co-op programs and, instead, seek out new, previously unavailable alternatives that make more sense in today’s digital age. Rather than give their retailers an “allowance” and asking them to submit proof of their work, they will begin to redirect co-op funds into platforms like Promoboxx, making them more easily available to the retailers who want to use them.
By plugging into our platform, retailers can begin working with brands to rework traditional co-op in a way that makes more sense for their customers and, ultimately, create a stronger connection with the brand’s overall marketing message. The end result is a professionally crafted, brand-approved campaign at the national level that is then localized by independent retailers. In 2016, we look forward to leading the charge in transforming the outdated model of co-op advertising into a new, shared digital retail marketing standard.
2. The eCommerce Slowdown & the Migration of Online Retailers to Physical Stores
Despite the billions of dollars spent by big box retailers to boost online sales in 2015, eCommerce purchases are slowing and will continue to do so in the year ahead.
Consider Nordstrom, who recently took an unexpected earnings hit after scrambling to offer additional discounts to compensate for declining traffic, both online and in-store. Similarly, Macy’s saw a 3.6% decrease in sales last quarter compared to the year before. Other companies such as Walmart, Gap and JCPenney have experienced similar dips in online sales.
Conversely, many companies that got their start as online-only stores are recognizing the inimitable benefits of face-to-face customer interactions, which can only be experienced in a physical location. The popular online eyewear brand Warby Parker made the leap by opening a NYC showroom, and high-tech men’s retailer Ministry of Supply experimented with strategically placed pop-up shops before settling permanently (lucky for us, they now both have stores on Boston’s very own Newbury Street). By opening brick-and-mortar stores, beauty product powerhouse Birchbox has grown its loyal customer base by appealing to those who prefer to browse and sample products in-store before making a purchase. We expect more online retailers to follow suit in the year ahead.
3. Omnichannel: Not Just for the Big Guys Anymore
Sure, omnichannel marketing is nothing new. In fact, it may be one of the most overused buzzwords in the industry. What we expect to change about omnichannel marketing in 2016, however, is that it will finally be truly attainable for every business – not just the big guys.
Historically, large brands have had the upper hand when it comes to omnichannel marketing, as they have the budgets, internal/external resources and technology needed to provide their customers with a seamless, multichannel journey and shopping experience. They too, however, can realize the promise of omnichannel in 2016 and take the burden off of small businesses by approaching digital retail marketing holistically — not channel-by-channel or campaign-by-campaign — and automating time-consuming processes.
Here at Promoboxx, we work with brands of all shapes and sizes to customize their messaging in an omnichannel program that covers Facebook, mobile, email and various other key channels because, typically, their retailers don’t have the bandwidth (or inclination) to juggle multiple campaigns across multiple channels. They need to be able to set it and forget it, and get back to running their businesses.
That’s why we’ve made it easy: in about five minutes, independent retailers can create a fully operational omnichannel campaign using the Promoboxx platform. For a real-world example, check out this post on how Electrolux has worked to bring its local retailers into its omnichannel experience.