How to get the most out of your marketing budget (PPC v.s PPi-PV) ?

Digital marketers and business owners must know what life is like when we chasing after customers by tracing the number of clicks on various platforms: very confusing and frustrating.

What is wrong with a number of clicks here? First of all, we need to understand the nature of clicks. Clicks are simply numbers calculated by the machine behind the platform to count activities happened in the system. There is no doubt that the majority of clicks are made by the “potential human customers”. (In the era of artificial intelligence and robots, I feel I need to highlight the difference between humans and robots in the journey of digital footprints.) However, the “potential human customers” would remain anonymous before some of them decide to engage with us, such as by signing up newsletters or making purchases via the online shopping cart.

And we all know that the majority of clicks never make sales and we would never clearly understand why. Not only because most are anonymous but also because the digital identity that “clicks” might not be legit.

So sadly we pay for the clicks on the various platforms not knowing if “the potential human customers” exist. Hence the return on investment on the digital platforms by PPC (pay per click) has never been helpful with significantly improving sales or customer lifetime value.

How about we convert PPC (pay per click) to PPi-PV (pay per in-person visit)? By the same concept of digital marketing and the current technology, we can “meet and greet authentic customers in-person” and build a long-term relationship with each individual customer each time we engage with them personally in the store.

What PPi-PV does is enable O2O (online to offline) commerce opportunities. It allows customers to learn about products online and to try on the products offline. As digital marketers and business owners, in particular, in the apparel industry, we are given the chance to “match” customers online and “meet” them offline. The customers through the O2O technology platform are “the human customers with potential” for sales because the platform is designed to connect people on both sides authentically. By applying PPi-PV, we can significantly reduce the time and money spent on low-quality leads generated by clicks. Instead we can focus on the in store customers who are promising buyers. Through PPi-PV, we are investing in the opportunity to make friends with our customers by learning who they really are.

I believe we all can agree that our customers are more than just random numbers in the computer system. They are who we are, people with names and faces.

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Shanya Tsai
"You Had Me At Hello!"
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Sounds lovely? You do not need to have much advanced technology or extraordinary marketing technics to have a customer relationship in the level. All you need to do is to have a couch, small treats on the house, and fashion regulars. And please do not be fooled by artificial intelligence and chatbots technology, they are definitely cool and scary to most customers. According to PwC, 75% of consumers around the world desire more human interaction. Customers want to feel they are visiting a functional, cozy, and fun place where they can also relax. And they are millennials.

Following to a study of Boston Consulting Group, millennials tend to shop in groups and consider peers opinions along with approval from fashion consultants in-store. They also enjoy an experimental and lifestyle environment. By having an estimated $1.3 trillion dollar consumer spending power and being major influencers to non-millennials, millennials play significant role to fashion retailers business transformation. Instead of inheriting old value chain of delivering products from top to bottom and focusing on convincing customers of certain fashion designs, it is time to learn customers preferences and deliver curated design through in-person connection and crowdsourced data in the scope of local community.

It is undeniable that we dress up for people whom we hang out with. And the outfit pick decision is really by local lifestyle. I am aware of my outfit changes when I travel back and forth between New York City, NY and Seattle, WA. Though most people would agree that New York City is the capital of fashion, it does not matter as much to people in Seattle because of very different lifestyle. Therefore I believe there is pitfall of applying big data to fashion retailer industry due to imbalanced local fashion styling preferences along with inadequate understanding of individual personality and moods.

Working in the field of connecting people over fashion by technology, I believe fashion retailers might have better ROI by housing customers like old friends and having heart-to-heart conversations. What technology, say AI, can do is to be a matchmaker between customers and fashion retailers. To win customer favor, however, it requires authentic connections.

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Shanya Tsai