Driving In-Store Visits Using Contextual Engagement
What does it take to persuade more shoppers to visit restaurants and stores in the digital age? Let’s consider the following scenario:
Lucy is a somewhat regular customer at Juice Shop— she has their app on her phone, she participates in their loyalty program, and right now she is eligible for a free drink. However, her schedule has been hectic recently, and picking up a glass of healthy juice has not been a priority. Today, she get a push notification from the shop saying:“Hi Lucy, we miss you at the Juice Shop. Your free smoothie is waiting, along with your favorite chocolate mini-donut as a thank you for being a loyal customer!
A Segment of One
Chances are, this message will catch Lucy’s attention and persuade her to plan a stop at her local Juice Shop the next time she is in the area. That’s because it’s not a general message sent to all Juice Shop customers—it is personalized for Lucy. It speaks to her loyalty status, her preferences, and her history as a customer.
This level of personalization is a powerful motivator, especially when it is delivered strategically for maximum customer influence. For example, what would happen if Lucy received the above notification while running errands near the Juice Shop? That’s even better! She is much more likely to stop in if it is convenient for her to do so. And once she enters the shop, what if they push her a follow-up mobile notification for a great deal on a dozen chocolate mini-donuts instead of just one? Now they’ve really got Lucy—at the right time, in the right place, and with the right message that is meant just for her. Now let’s explore how they’ve done it.
Personalization in Context
As consumers move their purchases online for more choices, better prices, flexibility and convenience, businesses that want to increase their in-store traffic have to do more than just display products and run price promotions. Even giant retailers, restaurants and convenience stores have been seeing footfall traffic declines lately. If these businesses want to bring consumers back through their doors, they must, like the Juice Shop, up the ante on the level of personalization they use to engage and interact with their customers.
This means going beyond inserting customers’ first names in emails or showing certain content on the website; it requires a real-time awareness of each customer’s:
- Current location
- Activity across channels (mobile phone, desktop, or in the store)
- Past transactions with the brand
- Attributes such as loyalty status
- External factors that might influence purchasing behavior, such as current weather, events, and holidays
Combined, these factors create the complete context or intelligence for each customer. It’s like the creating a Customer DNA, or the omni-channel click stream (activity) of every customer. Consider the power of real-time customer context in the following scenario:
Lucy is now browsing through leggings and trousers online. Her favorite brand takes notice, and immediately pushes her an in-session message while she is still visiting their site:
“Hello Lucy! Today Only: All leggings & trousers available for same-day store pick up.
Your store reward points expire in two days. Now is the perfect time to use them!”
An understanding of Lucy’s context—including her current browsing activity, past transactions, and loyalty status—empowers the brand to deliver the message that is most likely to resonate with her in that exact moment.
Keep in mind, however, that context is not static. Lucy might be browsing a website on her smartphone one minute; she could be driving by their store the next. The ability to access all of a customer’s most up-to-date contextual data points at any given time is what enables brands to deploy hyper-personalized interactions—and when your goal is to increase and optimize in-store traffic, location is the name of the game.