A customer’s personal interaction with a brand is more important than ever. According to Walker Info, 86 per cent of customers will rate experience as the most important factor when making a purchase by next year.
As competition between brands increases, you can’t afford to leave your marketing strategies up to chance and guesswork. Advancements in technology, like the rise of digital wallets, provide a wealth of valuable knowledge right at your fingertips, and you can use these insights to shape the experience for your customers.
This data-focused marketing model is so widespread that Forrester coined a new term – insight-driven businesses. And a recent Forrester report found that these insight-driven businesses are growing at an average of more than 30 per cent annually.
Here are four reasons to create a data-centric shopping experience that will have customers coming back for more.
1. Customer Retention
Did you know it can cost businesses up to five times more to acquire new customers than retain existing ones? From a financial standpoint, it’s a no-brainer to focus your energy on keeping your current customer base coming back. According to a Harvard report, even just a five per cent increase in customer retention can boost profits from 25 to 95 per cent.
Customers want a shopping experience that’s unique to them, and brands can leverage vital data to create enticing, one-of-a-kind offers. Whether it’s through a sign-up form or a questionnaire, you can collect basic information to create personalised vouchers for birthdays and other special events.
In 2004, Amazon revolutionised ecommerce by becoming one of the first brands to offer product suggestions based on an individual customer search history and previous purchases. Even today, the company still leverages its data by sending out personalised email campaigns that tie in with events like Christmas and Mother’s Day.
You can also engage with your customer base and drive in-store foot traffic with location-based notifications. Geo-targeted alerts notify customers when they’re close to one of your physical locations and provide your brand with an opportunity to offer a coupon or remind them about an unredeemed voucher that’s in their mobile wallet.
2. Expanding Through Loyalty Programs
Creating a points-based mobile loyalty program is an easy way to gather information on your customers while keeping your brand top of mind. Stored in your mobile wallet, this allows shoppers to pay for items with earned points, and unlike programs that consist of a flimsy plastic card and a web log in, customers keep track of their loyalty points in real-time via their smartphone.
Loyalty programs also allow you to craft unique offers specific to each customer in order to boost sales. For example, Woolworths Rewards was introduced by the supermarket giant a few years ago, and by 2018, there were nearly 11 million active members across Australia.
This free system lets customers earn points for money spent in-store while offering fuel discounts and exclusive member-only deals. Because the card is stored in their mobile wallets, customers can pay for transactions with a smartphone and check their loyalty points any time they like.
By combining sign-up info with data on each person’s order history, this type of rewards system provides significant value for customers who demonstrate brand loyalty, making them feel special and appreciated.
3. Reaching Lapsed Customers
While customer data allows you to create unique offers for loyal shoppers, it also lets you create segments, so you can tailor messaging to different audience groups.
For example, if a customer hasn’t made a purchase with you in several months, you can send a personalised coupon via email or SMS based on their previous orders. Running a retargeting campaign is another great way to re-connect with lapsed customers, displaying relevant ads on third-party websites and mobile apps to drive them back to your website.
You can use push notifications to send a message directly to a customer, even if your brand doesn’t have a mobile app. Because Apple Wallet and Android Pay are pre-installed apps, mobile wallets act as ‘lightweight apps’ and allow you to easily communicate with customers by sending notifications to their lock screen. These notifications can be based on a user’s stated preferences, purchasing behaviour, or location, providing the lapsed user with a timely offer that can be used at a nearby store.
4. Right Place, Right Time
Getting your brand’s message across to the right people is a fine art, and it can feel as though you’re just throwing everything against a wall and seeing what sticks. By segmenting your customer base, you can deliver the best possible message via the best possible channels to the best possible audience.
Customer segmentation is essential as it lets you identify which customers should be your core focus, which ones need to be re-engaged and which are less of a priority. The last thing your company wants to do is spend money communicating with an audience that isn’t likely to buy from you. Targeting the most profitable segments means you can cut back on your total spend while generating significant ROI.
You can segment your customer base on a variety of factors, the most common being geographic location, age or income. For example, if you have a special in-store offer, target those who live nearby and are more likely to check out the store. Alternatively, if the special offer is for a luxury item with a 4-figure price tag, you might want to get more specific, and target a nearby older audience with more disposable income.