Decoded: How are retailers wooing customers in an effort to earn their loyalty

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Updated: October 5, 2018 11:20:26 AM

In its 2012 report titled Joy of Shopping, Fitch talked about a new model that was beginning to change the face of conventional retail.

Retail, customer, Joy of Shopping, conventional retail, E-commerce sales, marketing communications, data-driven communication, customer lifecycleE-commerce sales all over the world are still a fraction of total retail sales.

Prabhu Kannan

In its 2012 report titled Joy of Shopping, Fitch talked about a new model that was beginning to change the face of conventional retail. Three universal shopper mind states (dreaming, exploring and locating) will drive the future of retail, it said. Six years on, retailers are investing in solutions that advance their understanding of a shopper’s mind-state. The core message of first understanding the behaviour of empowered consumers is relevant even in today’s world — a world where channels are no longer viewed as silos but as one of the touchpoints in the new customer journey.

E-commerce sales all over the world are still a fraction of total retail sales. Despite the strong growth rate, Indian retail e-commerce sales are likely to be only 5% of the total sales in 2020, according to an eMarketer report published in 2017. Customers explore, evaluate, test and select solutions that advance their most important efforts — those that answer customer expectations today and anticipate their desires tomorrow so as to grow with their aspirations.

No two customers are alike

For a brand to achieve success, a clear understanding of the role of each component — like point of sale, marketing communications, external product reviews and social media in a consumer’s path to purchase — is critical. This understanding can power personalised interactions that create consumer connections and sustain loyalty for a long time.

Identify ideal prospects

Collection of customer data across all touchpoints has reduced the challenge of customer identity. In the age of same-day delivery, exclusivity and real-time price comparisons available at the customer’s fingertips, their demands change frequently. It is essential to leverage data to keep an eye on trends happening in the industry and meet customer demands.

Make it relevant

When it comes to shopping, consumers prefer personalisation. This means they expect offers that are indicative of their needs and lifestyle interests. While loyalty programmes result in frequent purchasing behaviour on the customer’s part along with an increased spend, they must also acknowledge the customer’s other engagements with the brand such as a visit to the brand’s website, ‘likes’ on social media, etc. Data collected from these interactions must be synchronised to ensure data-driven communication.

Technology’s role

Data analytics can ensure brands understand and recognise their customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Predictive models can help identify these life stages, and forecast current and future trends based on purchase patterns. Identifying the right mix of online and offline communication is also crucial. Retailers must leverage both technology and data in order to ensure that the brand is reaching their current and future customers to drive business growth. Being there for the customer at the right time and place, using both online and offline communication and creating emotional connections, will ensure lifetime loyalty.

The author is VP — marketing technology, Epsilon

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