The future of customer engagement, personalization & loyalty

By Team Session AI on March 6, 2018

A Look at the Retail Trends Influencing Exceptional, End-to-End Customer Experiences

The modern retail industry is faced with a customer expectation paradox: the desire for both digitized engagements and human-like service. To address the paradox, retailers are increasingly turning to intelligent solutions that enable them to achieve 1:1 personalization across channels. Despite this, many retailers do not feel that they are effectively engaging their customers in relevant and meaningful ways. In fact, less than 10% of Tier 1 retailers believe they deliver highly effective personalization.

For those leading the retail personalization charge, it all comes down to adopting the right technology. Best-in-class retailers currently invest 1.3 times more of their revenue in personalization technology than other retailers—and over the next three years, these retailers expect to increase their investment by 30 percent.

As retailers with less effective personalization strategies look to the future, they are taking note of the steps being taken by industry trailblazers in order to develop their own 1:1 customer engagement strategies. When selecting which tactics to adopt, it’s important to recognize which facets of a personalization strategy are making the biggest splash in the retail landscape—and which are not. The top trends to look out for to elevate customer engagement, personalization, and loyalty include:

Engaging Customers Across Channels 

Research has found that unifying the end-to-end customer experience generates greater value for both the retailer and the customer. For example, omni-channel marketing strategies have been shown to result in a 35 percent increase in transaction size, and foster customer relationships that achieve a 30 percent higher lifetime value than those who only shop through a single channel.

Let’s take a look at omni-channel engagement in action: Mary begins searching for women’s formal work attire on her laptop, adding a shirt to her cart, but leaves before she completes the purchase. Later that day, she receives a push notification to her mobile app: “Mary, this season’s top-selling professional women’s attire is now on clearance. Check out what’s in stock!” When she taps the app, she is immediately taken to the clearance page, already filtered by the women’s professional category. She adds additional items to her cart, but still does not complete the sale. Typically, Mary does not make purchases when she has to pay for shipping, so the next day she receives an email offering her free shipping on her next purchase over $75. Just a few dollars short, she clicks the link in the email, adds another item to her cart, and completes the sale.

In this scenario, no matter what channel she used, Mary’s interactions with the brand were highly relevant and targeted, and seamless as she navigated from laptop to mobile device and back to laptop.

Interacting in a Prompt and Timely Manner

Beyond recognizing which channel a customer interacts on, retailers are also taking into account when customers interact—and what their expectations are from brands after each interaction. 54% of shoppers anticipate a personalized discount within a day of sharing their information with a retailer, and 32% of shoppers expect it within just an hour. Evidently, retailers have a small window in which they must deliver individualized offers and satisfy customers.

When retailers are able to tailor outreach to customer’s real-time actions, they not only increase customer satisfaction, but also customer propensity to purchase more. Say Thomas is browsing multiple sites for the best rate on a new pair of sneakers. The retailer recognizes his browsing patterns, and sends him a tailored message via the website’s live chat:

“Two is better than one. Use the discount code SNEAKERS to get a second pair of shoes for 40% off when you purchase the first for full price.”

Customers indicate that they are 110 percent more likely to add additional items to their baskets when the shopping experience was highly personalized. By pairing a timely deal with Thomas’ real-time search, the retailer effectively presented him with a custom offer that provides greater value and urges him to complete the transaction.

Elevating Mobile Engagement Strategies

 Mobile is king when it comes to the future of retail personalization. Yet, key to mobile strategies is the customer’s continued use of mobile apps. Today, there is a 25 percent abandonment rate for first-time app users. As the only way for retailers to receive 24/7 real-time access to their customers, mobile devices therefore prove critical for customer personalization. Specifically, location tracking, in-app messaging, and loyalty program notifications are integral for success.

Looking ahead, mobile strategies are anticipated to continue to grow in sophistication and relevance.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, the top ten global retailers by revenue will manage contextual pricing in real time for customers. While such advanced capabilities are in the future for many, mobile devices hold great potential for personalization of customer experiences—both remotely and on premise.

Take for example this scenario: Jules tends to browse on her phone, but only make purchases in person. She has location services enabled for her favorite retailer’s app, so when she gets within a mile radius of the store, her app pushes her a notification for a new, store-exclusive sale, available now at the branch nearest her current location. Excited by the prospect of a sale, she decides to pop in. When she arrives and connects to the Wi-Fi, her phone prompts her with a map of the store, which she taps to receive directions to the sale section.

By leveraging her mobile device to both collect real-time data and deploy timely offerings directly to Jules, the retailer is able to capture additional revenue and increase the lifetime loyalty of the customer.

Achieving 1:1 Customer Engagements with Personalization Technology 

As a retailer, it’s important to remain on the pulse of industry trends in order to make certain your locations are rising to customer’s personalization expectations, addressing each customer as an individual, and simultaneously increasing sales and satisfaction through every channel. Top retailers today are achieving such a goal by aligning themselves with a true engagement expert like Zine One. Through our AI-powered Intelligent Customer Engagement (ICE) platform, we provide enterprises with a 360° view of their customers’ real-time, historical, and environmental data for 1:1 personalization every step of the way. Contact ZineOne today to learn how our intelligent solution is driving the future of customer engagement, personalization, and loyalty.

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