The Value of Integrating Marketing and Merchandising Teams
Consumer empowerment is the name of the game today. Companies across industries are beginning to transform the way they buy, market and sell products and services.
Why? Consumers are getting smarter. They're in charge of the conversation, using social networks, mobile devices, websites and influencers to help them make buying decisions. More importantly, they're using social media to broadcast their opinions. IBM data shows that consumers pay a lot of attention to these opinions. Consumers referred to a retailer's site from social media are nearly twice as likely to buy than visitors who arrive via other channels. This suggests that consumers are heavily influenced by the opinions of those in their social networks.
All this makes it very tough on marketers, who need to be in more places at more moments with more relevant communications. You need to anticipate customer behavior and center yourself and your marketing and merchandising on what they — not you — think is important. In this context, retailers can't operate with the narrow, traditional view of marketing as advertising and promotion.
In traditionally product-centric organizations, merchandising and marketing typically have the same goals, but different processes, applications and databases. This makes it nearly impossible for retailers to create and execute the kinds of multitouch campaigns needed to reach and influence consumers today.
These shifts in buying behavior have had significant implications for retailers. To adapt, retailers need a better understanding of customer preferences and insight into what it means for their business, their products and services, and their channels. It's clear that consumers today expect personalized shopping, tailored promotions, consistently available products, and overall better quality and value for their money.
So why are some retail merchandising and retail marketing groups still siloed? A lot of it depends on the strategic focus of the business. For some, retail expansion globally may be the top priority. For others, store operations may be the biggest concern. An important area of change like this typically takes time to take hold in the marketplace, but we're seeing signs that change is coming.