In today’s digital age, it’s crucial for retailers to connect with their consumers through innovative offerings and personalized experiences. They must understand the entire customer journey in real-time, which includes shopping patterns, changing trends and many such factors that affect a consumer’s buying behavior. Every offering should have a strong emotional appeal because emotions play a key role in marrying customers to the brand. Retailers, who can do this on repeat, will build loyalty among customers and outshine the competition.
So, what should brands do?
Social media – The advent of social media and its various path-breaking tools have made it easy for brands to communicate and sell their products in real-time. Social media channels keep consumers hooked and enable brands to continue conversing with their customers, collect relevant data and thereby create timely messages.
Automation – Through innovations like predictive analysis, retailers today can envision a customer’s changing needs and thus act upon it. This is one instance of automation. With innovations like chatbots, machine learning and natural language processing, among others, brands can save time spent in clarifying basic queries of customers. Hence, brands can utilize this time in high-touch customer interactions and offer lasting customer experiences.
Omnichannel approach – Today’s customer is savvy and well-informed about brands, what they stand for and how they can benefit them. Though smartphones and online platforms have made the shopping experience more convenient, many customers still believe in physically seeing and buying the product. Hence, it is important for brands to maintain an online and offline presence. Only brands that are omnipresent will prevail.
Integrating Artificial Intelligence into the existing systems – AI powers brands to sift data from a business intelligence perspective, which can be used further for a better understanding of the customer’s shopping journey. This way, brands can prevent themselves from being intrusive and deliver connected customer experiences across multiple touch points. Brands must understand that the road to commerce is built by content and AI will be an exciting add-on to the customer’s journey.
Transactional emails – Brands must pay attention to delivering marketing solutions to customers through emails and SMS. Thanking customers through these mediums for every purchase they make online as well as offline plays a vital role in creating customer loyalty. Thus, brands must equip these transactional emails backed by personalized product recommendations. While this is not a new concept, many brands still fail to understand its real value and hence do not incorporate it into their plan.
In-store technology – Today’s cognitive consumer looks for tailored and more personalized offerings. Brands must understand this and invest equally in in-store technologies such as QR codes, digital screens and tablets, among others, along with back-end technologies. This will enable brands to send notifications and lucrative offers to customers either before they plan to shop or while they are present at the store.
Therefore, brands must start innovating rapidly and offer contextually relevant real-time interactions for more customer engagement. They must expend more time in experimenting with newer and real-time approaches to delight their customers. They must develop an ecosystem that connects all the gathered customer data and insights, and turns them into contextual, personalized and real-time experiences. An interesting mix of all such things will steer a brand towards success.
Ramakant Khandelwal, Chief Marketing Officer, PAYBACK India