How to Create a Positive Customer Experience Through Personalization
To say that the retail world is changing is an understatement. The constant pressure from discounters, along with the increasing power wielded by consumers, has pushed retailers to seek new effective differentiation approaches to remain competitive in the market.
With retail sales rising rapidly since the pandemic — jumping to a whopping $791.70 billion in 2020, up 32.4 percent from $598.02 billion in the previous year — finding and retaining loyal customers in an oversaturated market is more critical than ever.
The key to standing out against competitors and building meaningful connections with a target audience is a highly personalized customer experience (CX). The unique experiences delivered through dynamic personalization strategies will not only help drive sales and improve CX, but also increase customer loyalty.
However, with personal data restrictions and the demise of third-party data with iOS 14’s new privacy regulations, how can retailers benefit from dynamic personalization in practice? Let’s take it back to the basics and have a closer look at what retailers need to learn about personalization and how to enhance their customers' experiences.
Maximizing Social Media for Personalized Re-Engagement
Social media is one of the fastest ways to connect with your audience, with massive amounts of data at your fingertips. However, this doesn’t mean that it's without challenges. Gathering and using valuable customer data requires a meticulous approach and the right tools, especially when asking customers to willingly share personal information and trust the brand.
With the help of QR codes, landing pages, or text to join, you can capture first-party data from your social media audiences and create incredible retargeting opportunities through personalization. Using special offers, discounts on hot products, and limited-time deals, brands can provide clear “value exchanges” to their customers in order to capture this valuable information.
You should also consider how much content your customers consume each day from the many brands they follow on the different social media platforms. Then consider how many of these brands they actually engage with. Just a few, right? Well, that’s because through social media customers don’t receive truly customized content; they're just one of the masses.
So how do you stand out from the crowd? Tricks such as targeting your subscribers with tailored, personalized campaigns and messages can help achieve this. By basing your content on special local holidays, individualized offerings, favorite products, previous purchases, and more, you can start building real engagement.
An Empowered Retailer
Whether you capture your customer data through social media, a partner channel, website form or your point-of-sale system, the next steps are what count the most. How do you adapt this data and the corresponding insights to empower yourself and your brand?
Customers respond to messages that truly convey what they need, want to accomplish, and their reasoning behind a purchase. This means that personalization goes beyond pushing a product or other products related to what they’ve bought. Best practices dictate that retailers communicate on a one-on-one level, showcasing the brand’s respect for customers as individuals.
Understanding the customer journey is key to help optimize sales processes and customer experiences. Valuable information is conveyed in your customer’s online behavior. For example, you can gather data by tracking your online store time to understand the percentage of dropped purchases and map which of your sales channels your customers come from. This data will empower your customers to buy and build loyalty with the more comfortable they are while purchasing.
Bridging the Digital and In-Store Experience
Until now, the online customer experience has been too broad, failing to focus on what customers identify and relate to. This begs the question: How can retail marketers make both online and in-store customer experiences as seamless as possible?
There’s an inherent amount of trust when customers purchase in-store as opposed to online by being able to touch and feel the product and pay on the spot. However, for many customers, purchasing from the comfort of their homes and saving time is a priority. A CX encompassing both online to in-store and in-store to online helps bridge these gaps and increase the chances of a consumer making a purchase. With strategies such as retargeting, in-store digitization and loyalty programs that are activated both in-store and online, the CX will not only be clear and cohesive in both channels, but also build customer confidence.
In short, dynamic personalization is a key requirement to ensure a positive customer experience and drive sales. By using strategies to connect with your customers to gather valuable data, micro-segmentation, and tailoring content you can set your brand apart from competitors and thrive in an oversaturated market.
Greg Chen is the co-founder and CEO of Mobiz, a SMS marketing platform that connects brands with their customers.
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CEO and co-founder of Mobiz, Greg has more than 15 years of mobile innovation and experience in both B2B and B2C. Born in Taiwan but grew up in South Africa, his multicultural context has shaped him to be a passionate leader, thinker and pioneer. Being unrelentingly customer-focused, he has led Mobiz to become a trusted platform that accelerates commercial success through mobile engagement. Greg received his Master's degree in both Electrical Engineering and Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Cape Town.