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Are retailers leveraging the potency of inbound marketing?

Technology over the last few years have redefined how businesses function across domains.

The phase inbound marketing was coined by #Hubspot in 2006 and referred it to a process of converting customers with an individualised approach. In contrary to outbound marketing, which depends heavily on paid traditional media, inbound marketing relates to the usage of technology and a variety of content at different stages of the consumer buying cycle.

For retail, which used to be the most consumer engaged model, the migration on an inbound model is still oblivious.

Online players like #Amazon and #Flipkart has shown the might of inbound marketing. Precision targeting of the potential customers through inbound marketing has helped in increasing reach and drive quality traffic, engagement and conversions using ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media.

Retail, on the other hand, has the untapped goldmine of validated customer data. However, the engagement models, even for the most organised players, seem to be frail. In a world where customer communication is driven by content, and the definition of media has moved beyond television screens, full-page newspaper ads and billboards, retail needs to reimagine the ways to connect with its customers. The reliance has to move towards a more direct, personalised and sustained engagement through online and social media platforms.

Being a customer myself, and being enrolled with the loyalty programs of most of the LFR's, I have not seen much engagement where my previous buying preferences have been put to good use. The communication even through the controllable channels remains broad and generalistic.

The challenge is even steeper for unorganised retailers. The existence of traditional retail, which still constitutes more than 80% of the domain, squarely lies on how fast and effectively they evolve. A customer has a limitation in terms of visibility and recall, identification of relevant content through the right channel and at the most appropriate phase of the buying cycle will be the key.

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