When e-readers disrupted the publishing industry, many consumers swore they would stay loyal to the old-fashioned paper book. Technology made inroads however, and the number of people who own e-readers is still growing.
Retail has followed a similar course.
Online shopping has revolutionized the industry, and mobile is a key reason why. Still, people crave human connection. They want the personal experience of shopping at brick-and-mortar stores when they shop online. The best way to meet this demand is with a personalized app that can help deliver a true omnichannel experience.
Take the Human Touch Beyond the Physical Store
The best way to differentiate your brand is to deliver exceptional customer experiences. To do this, you need to learn about your customers. Start by building a comprehensive database for each of your personas. These customer profiles should draw on data sets that address five questions:
1. Who? Think demographics here. Age, location, gender and income form the basis of a profile. Request access to users’ social media accounts so you can find out their interests and sharing habits. Public domain information often provides useful clues to a person’s lifestyle.
2. What? Pay attention to how customers interact with your brand through your app, and analyze transactional data such as purchase behaviors. You want a clear picture of their browsing and buying preferences so you know the best ways to target them.
For example, movie theaters stay relevant in the age of Netflix and HBO NOW by tracking which movies customers see and then tailoring future promotions based on those interests. Theaters use apps to share show times and enhance customers’ movie-going experiences.
3. When? Data that reveals when customers use your app or website (and for how long) is extremely valuable. You can test whether timed push notifications make them more or less likely to open the app. Without this data, you’ll end up sending messages at the wrong time and risk losing customers.
4. Where? GPS and beacon technologies enable you to pinpoint where customers are when they’re engaging with your app. Look for trends. Do they use it more often when they’re at shopping malls or when they’re at work? Are they more likely to open your app when they’re close to home or out of town? You can use these data points to develop specific campaigns.
5. Why? Understanding the why behind contextual data involves more psychology than empirical evidence. Once you’ve developed a relationship with customers, you can ask them to take surveys to gain insight into their perceptions and preferences. Armed with a clear understanding of your customers, you can create strategies that addresses the how, where and when to communicate your messaging. True personalized messages change based on the dynamic nature of your customers’ data, so make sure this is a continuous process.
Warby Parker is noted for its impressive omnichannel approach, and it's achieved its success through consistent innovation. The eyewear retailer started as an online-only brand, but realized that it needed to add brick-and-mortar stores if it wanted to reach consumers who are uncomfortable buying glasses online. Now Warby Parker uses technology to bridge the online and physical experience.
Omnichannel marketing and personalization aren’t new concepts, but they’re increasingly important. Every time you delight customers with personalization, they’ll give you even more data. And with that, you can offer services so tailored and superior that they won’t want to shop anywhere else.
Pierre Barbeau is co-founder and CEO of Moblico, a mobile engagement tool that drives more transactions through the individualization of content and communication.
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