Trends to Watch in 2017
by Stephen Lett
Stock market is up; unemployment is down. And, there is a new President in the White House. Regardless of your politics, we can all agree that there will be change. At least for now, there is an optimistic view that the business climate will improve, interest rates will remain low and our national debt will decline. These are all important factors that will affect buyer behavior in 2017. Here is out list of important trends to watch this year that could affect and/or influence your business:
- Big box retailers have elected to step away from Thanksgiving evening and Black Friday early openings. This is an interesting trend that started this past holiday season. Companies showing they care about their customers and employees reflects positively on their brand image.
- The use of videos for marketing purposes is another interesting trend. By 2020, Cisco has predicted over 80% of internet traffic will be digital video, meaning this will the biggest way people spend their free time. Embrace this trend now so you can identify ways to leverage it in the future.
- Companies are getting away from the default Google Analytics Last Click model and trending to Custom Attribution Models. A traditional Last Click model does not tell the whole and/or accurate story of which of your efforts led to the sale.
- Cross-Device Tracking is another trend to watch this year. Gain a better understanding of how your customers interact with your brand across various devices. Without cross-device tracking accurate attribution is nearly impossible.
- Increase engagement and lower your bounce rate by taking advantage of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). These are light-weight web pages that load very quickly on mobile devices and help to retain customer attention.
- Postal regulator begins a 10-year review of the CPI-capped postal rate system. ACMA industry involvement is crucial to avert another 2007-style postal disaster. Catalog companies are entering a critical time when postal rates could trend in the upward direction. If we cannot muster aggressive engagement with the PRC (Postal Rate Commission), your bottom line will be impacted by the whims of Washington. Join the ACMA who is fighting for catalogers in Washington every day.
- The push by many states for an Internet sales tax is a trend you should watch. Colorado took a different approach that could have traction. The Colorado Legislature found a possible solution in 2010 when it passed a law requiring online retailers to notify customers to pay sales tax and report purchases to the state. That’s not the same as demanding tax payments from out-of-state retailers. Again, the ACMA has your back.
- Varying print formats is a trend to watch. While nothing will replace the traditional catalog format, there is a growing trend to use other formats as a supplement (not a substitute) to drive house file traffic to the web. For example, post cards, mini-catalogs, etc., can be used effectively as an additional touch point to the house file (not to prospects) to announce a sale event, etc.
- One trend catalogers should be considering is how to better engage on social media. Target your advertising options. Take this one step further by including engagement with your viewers AND employees. Also, social adds to brand loyalty & enables 1:1 interactions.
- Pure plays are launching catalogs and sending direct mail. Several new names showed up in our mailboxes this holiday season that weren’t line extensions, and last year, discount online retailer Wayfair launched a catalog. These examples continue to support the catalog as the top TARGETED driver to your ecommerce site. Email is #2, but you must build that list.
I am confident 2017 will be a good year for catalogers and online retailers. Consumer confidence continues to improve, and, therefore, consumer spending should continue to grow. Regardless, you will want to watch these important trends throughout 2017. They will affect your business.