The Rise of Marketing Automation in Retail: Streamline your Business and your Brand

The term automation has garnered plenty of attention over the past few years. Chances are you’re familiar with it, or have encountered it in some form during your (professional) life. In essence automation is an umbrella term. It encompasses any facet of your business that you set on auto-pilot by using software to automate repetitive tasks. Retail automation can affect every aspect of your business, from operational automation (hello robot workforce!) to product inventory management (PIM) to marketing. At 2imagine our expertise lies in alleviating the pains of retail marketeers. Therefore in this article we’ll be taking a closer look at retail marketing automation, and its implications for the retail industry.

“Automation will reshape retail business models and the broader value chain, creating organizations with fewer layers and a better trained and trusted workforce empowered by real-time data and analytics. The winners of the sector will be those who understand these implications and act quickly to address them.” – Mckinsey & Company

“The global business of marketing automation software is growing fast. Currently valued  at 5.11 billion euro in 2019, the market is expected to expand into a 13.84 billion euro industry by 2025.” – Researchandmarkets.com

Automation is changing the way businesses approach (retail) marketing. It enhances the overall efficiency and output of your marketing and sales teams by automating a variety of tasks. For retailers, marketing automation tools can be divided into two overarching categories. 

Tailor made content

First off, the most prominent form of marketing automation are tools such as email automation services that allow businesses to personalize content to an unprecedented level.  In this day and age personalization is invaluable. The rise of the internet and the omnipresent smartphone ensures that potential customers are almost always confronted with some form of advertising.

The digital advertising landscape has become a wild west of sorts. Businesses are always competing and vying for attention. Luckily, many marketing automation tools exist that can use the myriad of data businesses receive from (potential) customers to hyper personalize ads and content. Although their emergence is a very recent occurrence their implementation is widespread. Advertising without personalization has become almost unthinkable for most marketing channels.

Easing your pain with automation

The second category of marketing automation tools focuses more on the pains and issues of retailers (and their marketeers). The job description of many marketers includes menial tasks that are nonetheless important for your business. By automating these often repetitive and time consuming tasks, marketeers and other stakeholders have more time available for tasks that actually require their skillset. Additionally, the chance of human error is removed from the equation. Although the market for these types of marketing automation tools is less developed than the previously mentioned category, the use of these tools has gained traction as automation is spreading to different areas of retail marketing.

One such area where automation is yet to become mainstream is content that requires frequent updates. While the majority of the marketing automation market and retailers focus on hyper personalization of content, the opposite end of the spectrum seems to be forgotten. Product sheets and POS material such as store signages and SKU’s come to mind. In-store customers see the latter daily, but they aren’t exactly  the first to come to mind as important assets. Additionally the larger your business gets, the bigger the challenge to maintain brand consistency, for example across various retail outlets in different countries.

Keeping POS material up to date is an important but tedious and repetitive process- perfectly suited for automation. The question shouldn’t be “should this process be automated”? Rather it should be “how do we do this” ? Here at 2imagine we focus on co-creation, collaboration and automation. Therefore we ask you, how do you imagine a retail marketing tool? What facets of your retail marketing would you like to see automated? What are the biggest nuisances you face while promoting your brand?

Let us know!

Did we get the pains right? Are there other concerns you’re wrestling with? Interested in other solutions that make your life as a retail marketer easier? Feel free to request a (free) consultation and discover how 2imagine can help your business excel.