Technology has changed the way consumers shop and relate to brands. As digital channels, platforms and devices continue to evolve, consumer behaviors do too. Consumers today are digitally savvy, and many have become masters at navigating the omnichannel landscape. Accustomed to being everywhere at once, they’ve become channel agnostic, turning upside down the traditional concepts of the linear customer journey at every turn.
While consumers may have their own agenda in mind when scrolling through their newsfeed and visiting their favorite brand, a recent report, The State of Readiness for Real-Time Marketing Transformation, notes that 54 percent of U.S. consumers believe that customer experience at most companies requires further improvement.
Why Does the Customer Experience Matter?
Great retail experiences accelerate customer conversions, foster brand loyalty, and generate future revenue — all of which requires seamless transitions across a complex set of customer-facing activities.
How do retailers address conundrum and create customer experiences that serve as a competitive differentiator?
There's a growing tension between consumers wanting greater control of their personal data and their expressed desire for more personalized experiences. On the surface, it appears contradictory. However, in reality it actually presents an opportunity for retailers to be more strategic about the data they capture and how it’s leveraged. According to the same report, 88 percent of consumers confirmed the more trust they developed in a company, the more open and willing they are to share personal information.
A company that communicates clearly to customers about the information it collects stands to gain more customer good will than brands that remain passive or noncommunicative about privacy initiatives.
Manage Data Right
The road to a unified 360-degree customer view differs for every brand. It’s critical each brand maps out a customer data strategy that fits with its current capabilities and aligns with its long-term business objectives.
Traditional customer segments and basic customer demographics no longer suffice for reaching today’s increasingly diverse audience. Targeting and audience segmentation — and ultimately delivering that individualized, omnichannel customer experience — now requires an expanded set of attributes, from a wider array of data sources, all in one place.
When data is properly consolidated, brands can create a unified 360-degree consumer profile, incorporating demographics, psychographics, behavioral tendencies, social preferences, and more, ultimately helping a brand deliver individualized customer communications, deeper engagement and experiences that move them to conversion.
A Tailored Experience
A unified customer profile, while ever-evolving, serves as the single source of customer insights. Furthermore, it helps brands deliver the right messages, to the right audiences, at the right times.
The following behaviors may help retailers drive relevant conversations:
- channel and time preference for best engagement;
- key interests and activities;
- primary interaction patterns;
- their view of the competitive landscape; and
- preferred marketing attribution touchpoints.
By keeping these behaviors in mind, brands can engage more deeply and personally with their audiences and deliver on the consumer’s expectations for highly contextual experiences across all relevant channels.
Omnichannel Customer Engagement
Omnichannel marketing doesn't necessarily mean being everywhere at once. Instead, it requires adjusting to the consumer’s journey and delivering them relevant experiences based on their profile, expectations and timing — i.e., real-time marketing.
The key to an effective real-time marketing strategy is the accurate identification of the most relevant scenarios and audience actions. These instances help brands build stronger individualized communications throughout the various stages of the customer journey.
In summary, offering consistent, compelling, highly personalized communication throughout the entire customer journey will result in satisfied customers that are inclined to spend more, remain loyal to the brand, and generate long-lasting revenue streams for retailers.
Redickaa Subrammanian is co-founder and CEO at Resulticks, a global real-time conversation marketing solution provider helping brands and marketers bridge the gap between customer experience and expectations.
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