Mobile still accounts for a fairly small share of total retail sales, and, in many markets, even of digital retail sales. But retailers are feeling the impact of mobile devices.
In 2014, a little over half (57%) of retailers worldwide surveyed by payment solutions provider Payvision reported experiencing major growth in mcommerce sales. Among the total, 33% strongly agreed that growth was significant—already a sizeable share. But by 2015 the evidence in favor of mcommerce was overwhelming. Nearly half of respondents were now in the “strongly agree” group, with an additional 34% agreeing more generally.
Overall, 79% of retailers worldwide were undergoing major mcommerce growth this year. More retailers around the world are getting into omnichannel as a result. This year, 91% of respondents said they offered customers the option to shop and pay across multiple devices. That was up from 84% last year.
Omnichannel strategies have a lot going for them, according to retailers in the US and UK who have begun to implement plans to help their customers shop whenever, however they want.
The biggest factor is sales, according to respondents to LCP Consulting polling from 2015. Overall, 68% of retail executives said an omnichannel strategy had boosted sales. That was about even with 2014 levels, and up from 57% who said the same in 2013. A solid majority of respondents also agreed that omnichannel strategies had helped them deliver better customer service. Here, however, responses had not changed much over time, hovering around 60% since 2013.
It was an open question, meanwhile, whether a retailer’s operating model benefited from omni channel. Respondents bounced back and forth year after year, with about half agreeing operations were better in 2015 due to an omni channel strategy. Many retailers have changed how they fulfill orders because of cross-channel needs, and noted changing pressures on the supply chain from omni channel practices.
Most people don’t shop in isolation. They are inspired, informed and assured by others throughout the path to purchase. A slew of marketing approaches have developed to identify, activate or enable key individuals who can sway the brand preferences, buying decisions and loyalty of others. Together, they make up the influencer marketing ecosystem.
Companies like Target, Old Navy, Lord and Taylor, Aéropostale and Dick’s Sporting Goods have paid these big stars to create content: back-to-school look books, music videos, Vines documenting the buildup to a store visit, Instagram posts with 50 celebrities wearing the same dress, or tweets about the arrival of a new collection.
Increasingly, however, retailers are working with influencers who have less reach but greater relevance for a select group of shoppers. This middle tier, whose members often have tens of thousands of followers, include parenting bloggers, cooking vloggers, food “pinners,” fashion Instragrammers and gamers. They are highly respected by segments of the customer base of such retailers as CVS, Food Lion, Pier 1 Imports, Ikea and Lane Bryant, all of which have tapped this group of influencers in campaigns.
Some of the key points to optimize Customer Loyalty
1. Make them pay
2. Real-time relevance
3. Build better dialogues
4. Points 2.0
5. Beyond the call of duty
In the past we may have just chosen only one of these paths, but a single path does not reflect the whole relationship or the entirety of a customer’s experience with a brand.
These strategies need to be increasingly applied in combination to construct more personalized propositions. Ultimately this will ensure that every customer feels individually recognized, valued, and special.
Four in five internet users compare prices via digital channels
Webrooming, to one extent or another, is a significant factor for retailers. For many years, internet research has informed in-store purchases for a large segment of the population, and brick-and-mortar retail still accounts for the vast majority of all sales despite the ubiquitous availability of ecommerce options.
According to Salesforce and The Harris Poll, about eight in 10 US internet users surveyed in October compared prices digitally before making a purchase in a store. And online-only retailers are the No. 1 source of product research that ultimately leads to an in-store purchase: 56% of internet users said they compared product prices on pure-play ecommerce sites before making a purchase in a store.
That was 5 points ahead of the share who compared prices on other retailer sites. In-store shoppers are more likely to have taken advantage of online-only resources than omnichannel options to inform themselves before heading to stores. Brand sites were somewhat less popular, at 35%. Other research, conducted by Shotfarm in August, found that manufacturers’ websites had more accurate and complete information about products—though they appear to be less useful for pricing information
With the New Year just around the corner, this is an opportune time to evaluate and refine the fundamental processes affiliated with the execution of digital marketing campaigns.
As we finish out 2015, it is a great time to take stock of both your ability as well as the abilities of those within the marketing department, specifically in regards to their skills, interests, and effectiveness.
In marketing, nearly everything boils down to five places where you should excel:
Designing great campaigns
Analyzing the results
Deciding how to adjust and improve for the future
Let’s look a little closer at each one of these important functions.
1. Laying a firm foundation with solid planning initiatives
We all know that great marketing doesn’t happen at the snap of your fingers. It takes time and insight to understand where you are and where you’d like to go. Planning is where you take stock of the current state of your customers, prospects, products, and more. You establish goals, milestones, and targets for everyone to rally around. In this phase, you should also determine how much budget and resources you want to assign to different projects and campaigns. To help you stay focused on the customer - instead of just on your products or services for sale - develop or review your buyer personas.Remember, everything will cascade off of your plans, so make sure you have the correct assumptions and double check that you have been thoroughly using all of the market research at your disposal. Hopefully your targets are meaningful to everyone on the team and not arbitrary or completely out of reach before you even begin.
2. Marrying creativity with digital marketing
This is where you and your digital agency (if you have one) should get creative with all of the information from your planning stage. Today great campaigns are much more than just a simple drip nurture or series of e-blasts. If you are still relying solely on these types of tactics, then you really need to step up your sophistication.
You need to design multichannel, customer journey-centric campaigns with interactive content, data collecting assessments, video, mobile apps, new website pages or microsites, location targeting, and SMS and mobile push should all become part of your campaign design arsenal. If you found in your planning phase that you lack key insight about your customers and/or prospects, incorporate simple questions into your campaign so you can build your database as you go. Make sure you preview your campaign plans with both the sales organization and your call center so that they can provide valuable input, acting as an additional team member.
3. Flawless execution; all hands on deck
Once you are ready to launch your campaign, it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure you are executing as perfectly as you can. You need to send your outbound messages on schedule, make sure your website can handle the traffic, have call center reps trained on proper call handling, and have sales act as helpful facilitators.
Keep in mind that executing flawlessly does not mean you should be so cautious that you take lots of extra time. I see too many marketers move at a snail’s pace because they are so terrified of making a mistake. Remember that "done" is better than "perfect" - you are better off getting out in the market to establish first preference over your competitors. If you do make mistakes, ensure that you can get the feedback and quickly work to correct any errors.
4. Reviewing all aspects of campaigns and analyzing results
Over the weeks, months, and even longer periods of time, you will need to assign the resources to analyze your results, so you can adjust and improve mid-campaign or for your next major effort. Of course, good old-fashioned reporting is a great start for everyone. But this is the time to kick things up a notch by doing more sophisticated analytics into the root causes of success or the lack thereof. Perhaps you even take a sample of customers and non-purchasers and interview them about their perceptions of your campaign.
Finally you can explore newer tools such as predictive analytics to spot trends before they actually happen. Having a robust analytics capability will only make for stronger campaigns and an improved marketing department.
5. Digging deeply for next time
Toward the latter half of the campaign, begin to ask yourself, "If I had to do this whole project over again, what would I change?" Allowing everyone in the marketing department to periodically ask and answer that question is the key to continuous improvement.Hopefully you have a culture that allows everyone to have an open, honest, and constructive dialog about what you need for the next iterations. Make sure that all of the performance data is readily available to all for close inspection. Also, be sure that all voices are heard - not just the more vocal extroverts. Collect all ideas and encourage everyone to share.
All too often, if things don’t go according to plan or don’t exceed the goals, everyone is quick to bury the evidence and move on to the next project. However, taking time at in this final stage should help you both build a better campaign next time and build a better marketing department. Is everyone in a role that they enjoy? Are they able to contribute to maximum effectiveness? By asking all of these questions and more, you should be well on your way to future success.
Social networks have been experimenting with—and even fully implementing—buy buttons into their platforms for a while. And though social media users are turning to platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to research brands and products, they are not that interested in actually using the buy buttons there.
GlobalWebIndex polled social media users worldwide ages 16 to 64 in November 2015. When it came to their interest in using buy buttons via select social media networks, few were interested: Only 17% of respondents who used Tumblr said they were interest in using Tumblr's buy buttons, and those were the most popular.
Even fewer said they were interested in Instagram’s (14%), Pinterest’s (13%) or Twitter’s (12%) buy buttons. Interest was lowest for Facebook’s buy buttons; just 9% of Facebook users said it appealed to them.
Buy buttons may still seem like a new concept to users, even though this idea of social commerce has been reinventing itself year after year. And retailers are somewhat optimistic and expect to see a change in revenue because of them.
A July 2015 study by Boston Retail Partners found that by the end of 2016, retailers expect to see a 34% increase in revenues from social media, which includes buy buttons. But again, there’s a ways to go. Some 28% of respondents said they expect no change.
It has been researched and established over the last couple of years that it takes five times more to acquire a customer than to retain an existing one. Today in the retail world, it is difficult to acknowledge everything that's happening around the customers. In such a scenario, retailers cannot afford to ignore the need to constantly connect with consumers on multiple channels and touch points simultaneously and also interchangeably. Looking at the current trends, retailers need to overhaul their loyalty programs in order to create a personalized shopping experience.
1)The mobile wallet - As per Forrester Research, mobile payments will amount to $90 billion by 2017! * 2)More personalized in-store experiences for shoppers 3)Omni channel Retailing
Achieving Omni-channel customer loyalty is possible only by engaging with customer thorough pertinent evolving campaigns, promotions, offers and communications across all sales channels across all touch points of the shopping experience that resonate with the customer expectations. Distributing the right information at the right time and in the right context can be fruitful in terms of optimising the relevance and return of all loyalty marketing exercises. Such loyalty programmes promote cross-channel engagement which further buttresses customer engagement.
As consumers get addicted to new technologies and start making purchases across different channels, loyalty campaigns are taking the shape of an ever changing riddle, with marketers facing the challenge of creating an integrated picture from a mass of disparate data points.
Such sound loyalty management practices will ensure that customer-centric marketing initiatives across the purchase cycle - customer acquisition, customer development and customer retention, lead to improved control over customer's progress and in overcoming most of the loyalty challenges through the life cycle stages. Considering the universe of customers at the centre, every customer can be bucketed into one or the other category of loyalty lifecycle as demonstrated in the diagram below:
Given the fact that loyalty management is still in the nascent stage with respect to exploitation of technology and also given that many businesses and loyalty programs, aren't equipped enough to inspire a fresh breed of customer loyalty, there is ample scope for retailers to re-invent their loyalty programs at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Here are a few scenarios of customers in different stages of the lifecycle and how digital loyalty programs can be used with them:
•Would it take really much to delight a prospect with a personalized text on her mobile, offering a free product of her requirement?
•How about flashing the point balance with every text to a responder (prospect responding to a loyalty promotion)?
•How about re-welcoming the former customers with customized offers (based on their preferences / purchase history) delivered directly to their mobile phones?
Better and optimal use of technology will not only grow the number of loyal and new customers but will also build visibility and advocacy for the brand. It will help to further lift product specific sales and promote sales during slow periods, eventually generating returns on the capital invested in loyalty systems and programs.
Native ads work and they work on mobile, where traditional ads are less effective.
Mobile devices are the primary way people plan, research and cook during the holidays.
During Thanksgiving, 44% of people will use their mobile device to search for recipes. We know mums still do a lot of the cooking for families and when it comes to reaching the highly sought after Millennial mum segment, 76% look up recipes online.
For CPG brands, it comes to two key objectives: getting your products on the shopping list and influencing shoppers at the shelf.
From planning to cooking to eating and entertaining, if you understand how to make it a stress-free holiday, you’ll have no problem capturing holiday shopper dollars.
Make it on the list
During the holidays, the home cook’s activity is centered around Pinterest and blogs.
Mobile is the key to planning, researching and cooking a holiday meal and the numbers prove it:
44% use mobile to search for recipes during Thanksgiving holiday
78% of Millennials use their smartphone to aid in their holiday grocery shopping
70% of Millennials use their smartphone to aid their holiday cooking
27% are worried about cooking multiple dishes at once
Mobile, digital marketing efforts focus on local conversions
According to 2015 polling, retailers and CPG firms are focusing their digital marketing efforts on driving in-store sales. Altimeter Group and Cofactor found that 60% of US retail and CPG brands had tailored digital advertising and marketing messages to deliver local outcomes, including in-store purchases. Nearly as many also said that driving such in-store sales was a key indicator of their digital marketing success. Mobile marketing efforts were also specifically related to in-store activities for a majority of respondents.
Consumers’ propensity to use digital touchpoints to connect with retailers before entering a store could be helping retailers achieve their goals.
More than seven in 10 US digital shoppers told G/O Digital that they would “often or always” research products only before visiting a store this holiday season. Those looking specifically to research promotions said they would head to search engines (68%) ahead of any other digital channel.
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) shoppers are serious about sales, according to research from Nielsen.
Sales, coupons and other promotions have a significant effect on the choices grocery shoppers make about their CPG purchases, the June 2015 survey found. To start, nearly six in 10 reported looking for sales or coupons related to their CPG needs on digital platforms before they went shopping.
That was in addition to the 28% who looked at online offers via email.
This deal-seeking behavior, which also extended to comparing prices (26%), was far more common than other activities like checking nutrition info or looking up recipes.
And if shoppers do find a coupon or deal, they may change their mind about which brand to buy because of it. Coupons influenced brand decisions for 15% of grocery shoppers before they went shopping—more than any other source of influence. Promotions were the second-most-influential, with the ability to sway 14% of respondents. These were nearly twice as influential as direct requests by other members of the household (8%), meaning a coupon is more powerful than a family member’s craving for most shoppers.
It's important to know the value of all your marketing touchpoints because the data loss is far greater than you could imagine.
Marketers’ interest in better attribution of offline purchases across paid and earned media channels continues to grow, and for good reason.
According to recent data from Deloitte, mobile’s influence on brick-and-mortar sales rose to 28 percent in 2014. In fact, mobile influenced in-store sales will reach nearly $1 trillion this year. Click-to-call commerce - when a consumer calls a business directly from a smartphone search to make a reservation, appointment, or purchase - will contribute to an additional $1 trillion in consumer purchases this year. Mobile is clearly no longer a niche channel.
When digital or mobile media was relatively inexpensive, using rough estimates of conversions to store visits, or conversions to phone calls was considered acceptable, even though everyone knew that the data was far from perfect. Now, however, it’s become more important than ever to know the value of all your marketing touchpoints, both in respect to advertising and also for earned media, because the data loss is far greater than you could imagine.
This data loss is largely explained by the explosion of use of mobile devices to surf the net and gather information. Have you looked at your analytics (or, if you're old-school, your web-logs) recently? If you have, you’ve likely noticed a surge in visits to your site on smartphones, phablets (large phones that are almost tablets) and tablet computers. And when a consumers is exposed to an online ad, app or Web page to make an offline purchase or phone call, it is often a blind-spot for marketers.
Aruna Paramasivam, senior director of Data and Partnerships at MediaMath emphasizes how important it is to get this online-to-offline measurement right for the world of programmatic display buying.
“Though the advertising decision in programmatic is made in real-time, the consumer outcome and experience is often made offline or outside of the digital attribution loop. Tracking offline activity is critical to ensuring marketers are delivering the right ad at the right time and place," she says.
Bottom line: you'd better get your mobile house in order before your competition does.
Luckily, solutions for better attribution are being developed for marketers that want to get phone calls, and for those who use phone numbers as a key index to identify customers (think about your pharmacy loyalty card or supermarket rewards card: they both have your phone number).
Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Adarsh Nair, senior director, Product Management and Engineering at Marchex, a long time leader in call tracking, to learn about how they're helping marketers solve the mobile attribution problem. They've made tremendous strides in expanding their platform beyond traditional call analytics to connecting display advertising exposure to a future inbound phone call.
Adarsh had the following to say about the latest addition to their platform,"The Marchex Display Analytics platform provides an industry-first view-through conversion metric for inbound phone calls, enabling digital marketers to measure the ROI of programmatic campaigns by connecting offline phone calls with display impression data. The reports are delivered real-time, providing marketers with actionable intelligence to shift towards display tactics that work."
That’s a bold statement, so I dug deeper to better understand exactly what drove Marchex to invest heavily in tying cookies to phone numbers. It turns out that Marchex’s customer needs were important drivers behind the product roadmap for Display Analytics.
Marketers and agencies need accurate data, and as MediaMath's Paramasivam observes, “For a marketer, making a decision based on bad data is a worst case scenario. With the rise of mobile content consumption and ad opportunities, it is critical that we use the most accurate attribution methods. For companies with national call centers, it is critical that inbound phone calls are front and center of the attribution model.”
No attribution platform is perfect, but you’ll do a much better job optimizing your campaigns if your agency or marketing team has access to timely, accurate data around the behaviors you care about, including phone calls or conversions that include phone number data. Perhaps with the right analytics, you can get your mobile attribution -- and your media allocation -- closer to perfection, which to me represents the "holy grail" of media and marketing.
Display is a long way from dead. In fact, new technology is making it possible for traditional display to be more beautiful and engaging than ever with the introduction of hyper-targeted video.
Display isn’t dead, but video could very well be its second coming.
For the past few years, it seems that once a month, some big news outlet declares the banner ad dead and celebrates some new method in its place, but the truth is, display advertising remains alive and well.
As a matter of fact, U.S. retailers will have spent nearly 25 percent of their budgets - an estimated $27.05 billion - on digital display this year, and a big portion of that budget will go to hyper-targeted video display, the ad industry’s newest weapon in the war against “banner blindness.”
In the past, display ads have gotten a bad reputation as “Internet clutter” according to David Miller, vice president of product management at AOL, but video display is helping to dispel that image by adding value to the banner experience.
“What we’re seeing is advertisers infusing traditional banner ad placements with more utility for the user, and that is where video and display can certainly work together to create a more relevant user experience,” says Miller.
“Display ads have a bad rap because they are often seen as cluttering the user experience, are irrelevant to the user, or are simply not seen. But by unifying the data and having a singular view of people across the various screens they consume media on, video display advertising has a greater opportunity to align with the marketing tactics in place,” he adds.
The technology that allows display advertisers to realize that singular view is the much-anticipated adoption of HTML5 over Flash, which improves cross-device deliverabilty by 50 percent and allows for more engaging creative, such as fast-loading video overlaid with hyper-targeted text, according to Mihael Mikek, founder and chief executive of Celtra, a programmatic creative technology company.
“We’re seeing the convergence of display and video with HTML5 taking over as the main standard that everyone will be using in the future,” Mikek says. “On mobile you need a tech that loads extremely fast. Nobody tolerates anything that buffers, so that moment when you scroll through the page and see an ad that instantly plays, it needs to feel extremely native.”
And many brands are pairing instant video display ads with more interactive elements to create even better engagement.
“What we’re seeing is advertisers infusing traditional banner ad placements with more utility for the user, and that is where video and display can certainly work together to create a more relevant user experience,” Miller says.
This can include much more information about products through various additional pieces of multimedia, like a slideshow gallery as well as a video, notes Miller, adding that he's seen these more robust types of display ads double the engagement rate as opposed to traditional spots.
The rise of programmatic display also offers greater testing opportunities. Whereas in the past, advertisers would have to painstakingly test different creative over months, HTML5 breaks the elements of an ad apart, so advertisers can test nearly limitless variations of ads very quickly. This makes it possible to serve up better-targeted video display ads than ever before, which makes consumers more likely to engage, according to Michael Lampert, senior vice president of New York Media and Account Management for 360i.
“With the increased level of data gathering, consumers continue to say that they expect and actually like advertising as long as it’s relevant to them and provides content and information they seek,” says Lampert. “It’s about individuals, not impressions and the strategy needs to align with that. Give consumers what they want and they will engage.”
And one of those strategies is using programmatic technology to overlay video with other elements, such as text, slideshow, and other targeted, personalized messaging to make display not just beautiful but utilitarian, and more personal than ever before.
“The only way to really achieve personalization on mass scale is with programmatic creative,” says Mikek. “Video ads can be dynamic based on any number of different data core signals. For example, depending on the audience data for each specific user we can have different calls to action for audience members in different parts of the purchase funnel. Videos can be longer or shorter, depending on the platform, we can even use location and date to be fully dynamic for each user.”
As better technology improves the way we buy, test and create media, the possibilities breathe new life into display, with video both personalizing and beautifying banners.
“Display is certainly not dead,” says Lampert. “It is just changing its delivery mechanism based on consumption, environment and targeting based on the use of more data". And increases in video are absolutely at the forefront.
Bud Light is officially selling smart fridges that let you know when you're almost out of beer. Is this a fun novelty item, or does it show how CPG brands will be impacted by the IoT?
Bud Light's smart fridge recently became available for consumers. This is a notable innovation, not only because it's a refrigerator that texts you when you're running out of beer, but because Bud Light is hardly an e-commerce brand. Is this a sign of what's to come for consumer packaged goods (CPG)?
The fridge has a complementary app, which requires a date of birth to use. Some of its capabilities include a countdown letting you know when your beer is at optimum coldness, control over what the exterior displays, NFL team updates, and an integration with a beer-delivery service that operates in select California cities. However, its main function is getting Bud Light's offline product involved with the Internet of Things (IoT).
"The rise of mobile and connected homes are two trends we're watching closely. It's an opportunity for us is to figure out how to offer connected, branded experiences in-home and at the bars, restaurants, and venues were Bud Light is consumed," says Azania Andrews, senior director of North America's digital connections for Anheuser-Busch.
This union between beer brands and connected devices isn't a new concept - Heineken had connected beer bottles at Coachella two years ago - but it is still something of a novel one. Coined by a British entrepreneur in 1999, IoT is a techie term that is typically used to refer to things like smartphones and smartwatches. However, it's since expanded well beyond Google and Apple, with consumer brands increasingly utilizing connectivity in creative ways.
Rebecca Minkoff's New York City flagship store has smart dressing rooms that scan radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled clothing tags and suggest complementary items. Retailers like Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Kohl's have connected fitting rooms as well. Levi's too, partnered with Google in June to make smart jeans made from jacquard yarn that combines thin, metallic alloys with traditional textile materials like cotton and polyester.
According to Retail Systems Research's recent report, The Internet of Things in Retail: Great Expectations, 80 percent of retailers agree that the IoT will drastically impact consumer products and the way companies do business in the next three years.
It makes sense for retailers, given how the Internet has changed shopping. But can the same be said for CPG brands' products?
"It's a harder nut to crack on the CPG side," saysSean Miller, senior vice president of strategy at Rokkan. "Strategists around CPG brands are trying to figure out how to make a low-involvement purchase top-of-mind. They're not used to being needs-driven, in terms of an experience and solving problems, so that's a new way of thinking."
Some offline brands have already started thinking that way, even if their campaigns were more fun novelties than anything. In March, KFC debuted Bluetooth-enabled smart trays that transform into keyboards, allowing German consumers to text without getting their greasy chicken fingers all over their phone screens. And while Doritos didn't pioneer smart corn chips, the brand didfigure out a way for consumers to access online content by scanning chips.
Miller points out that connected devices generally strive to make people's lives easier in some way. So while he thinks the IoT will affect the CPG space, it won't necessarily be on a product level.
"That doesn't mean that every bottle of aspirin or every candy bar should come alive somehow, but these different brands are showing that they're aware of the context around the experiences people are having with them. So, they're finding a way to make that overall experience more interesting," he says.
Packaging can be more connected device-friendly - for example, a granola bar wrapper with a scannable barcode could connect with a nutrition app like MyFitnessPal. Companies can come up with new products that support their overall brand experiences. Items you buy regularly can arrive at your home periodically, automating the shopping process.
"Technology can tell you about what you bought and when it's going bad," says Gary Koepke, chief creative officer for North America at SapientNitro. He offers another example, "It could say, 'Hey, you bought tomatoes over a week ago and they're on their last leg - you'd better have spaghetti tonight.'"
Koepke doesn't think the IoT will have the same seismic effect on the CPG as it will retail. However, he does think connectivity will increasingly become a factor in the brands' strategies.
Like Miller, Koepke thinks it will happen at a brand experience level. Rather than come out with soap in a smart bottle, a brand like Dial can send reminders.
"They can say, 'It it flu season - are you remembering to wash your hands?'" says Koepke. "Brands could offer us ideas on how to integrate their products into our daily lives a little more, rather than just selling them to us and leaving us be."
For many businesses competing on customer experience, balancing a diverse product profile and increasingly global consumer base brings new and more complex service challenges. Twenty years ago, consumer interaction with brands was relatively low and straightforward, with experiences taking place in store or over the phone. But today, the increasing number of consumer touchpoints, and instant, always-on connectivity, challenges brands to consistently give their customers everything they expect, across every channel.
For CPG customers, a good experience online can translate to purchase decisions. A recent study revealed that almost a quarter of in-store shoppers said their online activity was one of the most influential factors driving them to an in-store purchase.
CPG brands understand that mobile connectivity needs to factor into their customer experience model to help build loyalty, but actually implementing this model is a challenge. In fact, in a recent study 60 percent of CPG sales executives said it is too difficult to deliver relevant and personalized content to engage customers effectively through digital channels.
That is why it is essential for companies today to find solutions that seamlessly and cohesively provide stellar customer service across any channel and help inquiring customers move their engagement across channels without losing the information exchanged in their last interaction. And they need to ensure agents are factored in so they can quickly and efficiently respond to customer requests.
To successfully implement this unified engagement, omni-channel, always-on, easy-to-do-business-with customer service approach, brands and businesses must put experience at the core. What does this mean?
Understand the consumer journey: Understand where your customer is trying to reach you, and what they’re trying to achieve. Each customer will interact differently, so make sure you’re providing them with the right resources in the right place, so they can easily find the information they need.
Acknowledge that consumer comfort comes first: The majority of consumers want to be in charge of managing the services they use, including their transactions, troubleshooting and resolving a technical issue, buying a product, etc. As a result, they are more than ready to use self-help tools themselves to find an answer.
Be proactive: As new channels surface, consumers expect that the servicing brand will provide proactive information through all channels of communication. For example, a consumer wants to be constantly updated on the status of a shipment they ordered, without being the one to make the initial contact.
Understand the power of knowledge: In the process of developing an omni-channel consumer engagement experience, it is very important for businesses trying to deliver services through web self-service to provide agent-based communication channels. Knowledge management, in combination with online self-help tools, can help reduce manual overhead and provide dynamic engagement solutions.
Be tech savvy: With new channels evolving so rapidly, customer service reps need the ability to interact with multiple back-end systems to optimize the omni-channel environment and businesses keep using the channels and systems in silos.
Basically, providing outstanding customer experience means helping your customer find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible, with the least amount of effort, and in their preferred place or format. Increasingly, this means online. Gartner recently reported that social media and digital self-help channels will be preferred by 2018, with approximately two thirds of all customer interactions taking place there.
Today, consumers own the relationship with a company or brand, meaning companies must adapt their framework to unify and simplify their brand experience.