Strategies for Enabling Multichannel Success Throughout the Consumer Life Cycle
The new empowered consumer has high expectations for retailers. A consistent, relevant and engaging shopping experience no matter when, where or on what device or channel they're shopping is demanded. In order to remain competitive, retailers need to think about how to not only meet these expectations, but to exceed them. The key is to engage consumers across the entire life cycle in which they interact with a brand, from point of first becoming aware of the brand to the point of engendering greater loyalty once they've made a purchase.
The Consumer Life Cycle
Retailers can drive engagement and exceed expectations at each stage of the consumer life cycle. Here's a look at each step:
1. Awareness. Most consumers aren't going to seek out a brand they're not aware of, therefore being creative in the earliest stage of the consumer life cycle is critical. Ways to generate referral traffic, construct relationships with new customers and build awareness include:
- Using QR codes or near field communication to present consumers with educational production information and special promotions. Barneys New York used QR codes as part of a "Back Stage Campaign" in early 2011 when it displayed ads in The New York Times that linked QR codes to backstage stories of products. This tactic energized the approach to traditional advertising and helped drive brand awareness among consumers who may have otherwise not been reached.
- Enable social sharing via feedback buttons on all product pages as well as other points of consumer interaction with your brand — e.g., prompt customers to share after a purchase or use of a promotion. Bare Escentuals allows its product pages to be shared across Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, in addition to using the “Like” button. Facebook recently announced additional feedback buttons, including “Want,” “Own” and other social verbs which will add additional value to what retailers can do.
2. Discovery. Once a consumer is aware of a brand and likes what it has to offer, they'll seek to discover more by visiting its website, its stores or interact with the brand through another channel. Multichannel retailers can make the most of the discovery process and capture potential sales by ensuring consumers find what they're looking for in the right variations (e.g., size, color, model, etc.) and avoiding stock-outs. Here are two ways to accomplish this: