11, Jun 2020
In our previous article "Is your contact centre Digital Ready" we covered the importance of implementing an Omni-channel customer contact application that would allow you to communicate with customers across multiple digital social channels from a unified interface.
For the retail sector the addition of Omni-channel communications is a vital first step towards delivering the digital experience that today’s customers want and expect.
It would be impossible for any retailer to deny that digital has redefined consumer behaviour and shopping forever. In this article we will look at the role of the mobile device within retail and ways in which retailers can ensure they are implementing the best strategies and systems to improve customer experience and influence purchase decisions in this rapidly changing wave of digital disruption.
Personalised content delivered in Real-time can be very powerful
For decades the role of marketing has been to guide customers along a purchasing path which starts with recognition of your brand as a viable provider for their needs and once a purchase has been secured the task switches to one of customer loyalty, retention, and repeat business. With the access to information brought about by digital mobile devices the percentage of consumers that desire a self-directed journey along the purchase decision path is increasing year upon year.
The smartphone has made this journey less linear and more fluid in nature which presents opportunities for retailers to use digital services and social media to inspire customers to move to the next step in completing their purchase.
In order to achieve this, customer communications often need to be made in real-time providing meaningful information which is as ‘personalised’ as possible when their interest is piqued through recent digital influences. The use of social, SMS and digital channels have proven to be far more effective than email in this context.
90% of recipients read an SMS within 3 seconds of it being received¹
To provide personalised content we need to know as much as possible about our customers. We can gauge their interests from interactions they have had with our digital marketing content, past purchase histories and communications threads with us across ‘ALL’ channels.
The aggregation of communication threads across ‘ALL’ channels is vital here. Whenever we engage with a customer we are obtaining insight which could potentially aid personalisation, however many retailers are missing this opportunity by creating silos of customer marketing information due to their platforms for social, text and voice residing on disparate systems.
Omni-channel systems which can aggregate all threads can prevent this pitfall and provide valuable input to AI systems that can assist in building a unified social profile for each of our customers.
How can the 'bricks-and-mortar' retailer capitalise on digital?
Many traditional retailers are lagging far behind at creating the digital experiences that customers really want. In some cases this is due to an excessive focus on their online competitors rather than the voice of the customer. Consider the many retail stores which quickly set out to promote a price match policy against online competition; certainly customers will price check using their mobile devices but marketing efforts would be better placed shaping customer behaviours. The percentage of in-store retail sales influenced by the use of web enabled digital devices has been growing rapidly over the past decade and although that growth has slowed traditional retailers should look for ways to bridge the gap between their online and in-store digital presence.
This can take many forms with some easier wins available such as improving the efficiency of purchase-online collect-in-store capabilities. Where things really start to make a difference is when we can carry a customer’s online history and digital footprint through to their in-store experience.
Imagine if your shop floor staff could be armed with the online purchase or marketing content interaction history for the customer who has just walked through the door. Or better still; employ technology to bridge the gap. For example, proximity marketing for retail using Beacon Technology is gaining momentum which uses low-energy Bluetooth signals to send content to customer’s mobile devices as they move through the store.
How do you start the right way to provide a great Customer Digital Experience?
In order for these technologies to be effective consumers need to be willing to give up personal data and recent surveys have shown that Generation Z and Millennials are more willing to give up personal data in exchange for a personalised customer experience2. So the key here is that your messaging and content should be as tailored to the individual as possible. In exchange for their data, customers will want some value in return.
You may not be ready just yet to deploy some of the latest retail technologies as highlighted above but you can certainly start out the right way by ensuring you have an aggregated Omni-channel platform to communicate effectively with your customers and ensure you are not creating silos of valuable marketing data.
How do I learn more about the latest in Omni-channel Solutions?
The team here at Plexus constantly review the market for Omni-channel solutions and can help you to identify the optimum platform for your business. Please contact us for an informal chat or to arrange a demo of one of today’s most advanced solutions.
We are here to help.
1. mobileSQUARED. (2010). Conversational Advertising - A report from commissioned by SinglePoint June 2010 [online] https://mobilesquared.co.uk Available at: https://mobilesquared.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Conversational-Advertising.pdf [Accessed 25 Sept. 2019].
2. Kurzer, R. (2018). Report: Gen Z, Millennials more willing to give up personal data in exchange for personalized experiences [online] https://martechtoday.com Available at https://martechtoday.com/report-gen-z-millennials-more-willing-to-give-up-personal-data-in-exchange-for-personalized-experiences-223985 [Accessed 25 Sept. 2019].