Search Marketing Influencer Series – Yory Wurmser (Part 2)

Feb
08
2016

​Yory Wurmser is Principle Retail Analyst at eMarketer, the leading research firm for digital marketers. He writes reports about three core questions facing retailers today: how consumers spend their time; how consumers spend their money; and what marketers are doing to reach their target consumers. Some of his most recent reports have addressed topics, such as mobile advertising, omnichannel marketing, and proximity media.

What are some tactics local retailers should consider when their customers start shopping and transacting primarily on mobile devices?
If your customers’ purchase habits have changed, so should the way you engage and communicate with them. Two way in which local retailers can create a better experience for these now mobile-centric customers immediately come to mind: 1) improve your brand’s presence in directory listings, and 2) embrace social beyond the usual social suspects and, instead, invest in creating a local influencer network.

Ensuring that local directory listings contain critical and relevant information so customers can search and transact (in-store or online) quickly can make or break a customer’s experience with your brand.  For example, when a customer comes to your brick and mortar store and learns, upon arrival, that the desired product or service they are looking for is unavailable or out of stock, you risk creating a negative experience ​and ​losing a potential customer.

Imagine if this same customer had reviewed a store’s product listings via their mobile site prior to arriving – where ratings, inventory, pricing, and the like were clearly laid out and easily searchable – then the customer would have likely taken a different path to purchase it was clear that the product or service in question was not available in-store. And in this instance, given that the transaction could be easily completed online, you create a win-win situation where both the customer is happy ​and ​your business now potentially has gained the loyalty of a new customer.

Businesses – especially SMB’s – should strive to improve listings performance by adding ratings and location tags to them so search engines can easily find them. Also, and this is basically table stakes today, it’s absolutely critical that your website is mobile-friendly. Even if you think (or know) that most of your customers’ transactions will take place in-store, not having a site that’s mobile-optimized could potentially (and almost automatically) throw a swath of potential customers out of your consideration set.

What about creating an app? Is that a lucrative option for SMBs?
While app use is now a ubiquitous part of most mobile experiences, the number of apps used each day is actually quite limited. Based on some of the studies we’ve done at eMarketer recently, we’ve seen that mobile consumers typically access only 5 or 6 apps per day. Keeping this in mind, it’s hard to say whether or not a local business’ app will spark real engagement ​or ​even break through this limited app usage trend we’re seeing today.

Instead of investing in building and maintaining an app, which can be time-consuming and costly, I strongly suggest SMBs focus on optimizing their business’ mobile web experience. Doing that will prove to be a solid long-term investment – especially if we start to see daily app usage decline even further.

As a potential social tactic for mobile, you suggested SMBs create a local influencer network. How can small and regional brands tap into the influencer process?
Let’s take a quote from Evan Asano of Mediakix:

“Influencers are the Instagrammers, Viners, and YouTubers who tout subscribers in the millions, if not tens of millions…”

(Think: PewDiePie, iJustine, MyLifeasEva, KingBach, etc.)

I penned a detailed eMarketer report* in December (“Influencers in US Retail”), which focused specifically on the role influencers can play for retailers. Although it requires both a little bit of heavy lifting and some relationship nurturing, influencer marketing can provide significant benefits for local retailers in terms of driving awareness, generating sales, and simply sparking engagement.

Influencer networks have taken off like wild fire because they offer a level of authenticity that traditional marketing just can’t compete with – amplified even more when consumers already have an affinity for the influencer(s) being tapped to speak on behalf of the products and services your business offers. As long as sponsored mentions are perceived to be in line with an influencer’s organic content – and if it seems as though the brand has a one-on-one relationship with the influencer – the authenticity of that influencer marketing relationship will ring true ​and ​not set off any red flags to consumers.

According to a recent survey conducted by SheSpeaks, 43% of respondents cited influencers as the most credible and trustworthy source for product information.

Influencer Marketing Credibility - eMarketer

Keep in mind, however, that influencers like PewDiePie are national or even international household names. As great as it is for your business to get a shout out from these big name online celebrities, there’s a good chance they will draw attention from people who may not actually have a reason to engage with your brand (due to proximity alone).

So my recommendation for any local business is to “think local” with your influencers as well. Consider developing a micro-influencer network in and around the markets you serve. For example, a clothing retailer could sync up with a local fashion expert or an adventure sports shop could align with a popular local ski instructor. It’s important to remember that there are local influencers all around you – so don’t miss out on the opportunity to tap into their influencer network just because you’ve got your sights set for the big online celebrities. The impact of staying local with your influencer network could benefit your business tenfold.

*This report is available only via a paid subscription. Please visit eMarketer to learn more.

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