The linear path from market to purchase has begun to deteriorate over the last decade. Yet, there are far too many marketers who still rely on legacy engagement strategies to drive sales even when the data shows that consumers are going wherever is most convenient to find the products they want. According to a recent Salesforce Survey, 67% of consumers say they are using multiple channels to complete a single transaction and 74% are open to making purchases on alternative media channels, including social platforms and online marketplace environments. That being said, marketers that are tied to yesterday’s tactics are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to activations, attracting new customers, or even retaining their existing customers.
As consumers shop on multiple channels, they are always actively seeking and consistently responding to personalized engagement. In another report done by Boston Consulting Group, customers admit that when the shopping experience was highly personalized they were 110% more likely to add additional items to their baskets and 40% more likely to spend more than they had originally planned. So, why aren’t more marketers better at connecting with their customers and personalizing their experiences? Well, it’s not an easy task considering the everchanging preferences of today’s consumers, although not impossible. By integrating data into the customer journey, using the correct cadence and creating a seamless experience, brands can evolve their strategies and significantly increase customer engagement.
Integrate Data throughout the Customer Journey
Data should guide every decision when it comes to maximizing the efficiency of marketing spend and creating a friendly, more personalized shopping experience. Today 50% of marketers say they do not have sufficient data intake programs or enough customer insights to drive effective campaigns. Incorporating data into your customer journey from conception to purchase is one of the most crucial, yet complicated parts of creating a connected shopping experience. Marketers first need to establish an adequate data intake system, determine how to read and understand it, and finally can make decisions about how to use it.
Through simple or complex implementations, you are already on your way to improving ROI. Maybe you only have enough data to provide directional insights on your shopper’s preferences or buying behaviors. Maybe your customers fit a certain demographic criterion, you may even start to see trends on which offers they use most frequently or the categories they gravitate towards purchasing. You can use this data to select or create customer profiles to align with your target audience, feature popular category items on in-store signage, or leverage paid media to promote specific offerings to strengthen and personalize the customer journey.
Accurate data in any capacity enables you to create more responsive media, commerce and incentives, eliminate wasted placements and investments, and reach the right audience during critical active purchase or purchase-planning moments. Having a good advertising partner like DBM Group can also help marketers to understand how to interpret and use their data to achieve the best customer experience possible.
Use the Right Cadence and Touchpoints
Finding the right cadence and message frequency will allow you to activate customers across multiple touchpoints to influence purchase decisions both online and in-store. Marketers should start by understanding behavioral and transactional data to identify the needs and wants of your target audience. This data can help determine what products appeal to your audience, what they typically look for, how to reach them, and what kind of marketing messages work at crucial touchpoints.
Different touchpoints in the customer journey influence purchases in different ways. Using channels like in-store signage and on-site media can serve to drive awareness and consideration while customers are in an active purchase mode, while other channels like influencer marketing and off-site media capture attention in the purchase planning stage. A comprehensive marketing strategy should combine both pre-purchase incentives, in-store signage, and newer mediums like targeted media to ensure you are reaching consumers across all buying modes.
The Connected Customer Experience
The customer journey touchpoints should be seamless considering some shoppers will likely abandon a fragmented experience. When this happens retailers can not only miss out on a sale, but are also missing the opportunity to capture valuable data and insights into the customer’s shopping behavior.
This connection has been critical for some retailers today. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, however, contributed to the largest share increase of online sales in a single year. This was due in part to stay-at-home and quarantine orders from state and local governments as most people were forced to shop online for items that they would typically buy in-store. After this shift in purchase preference, 85% of retailers reported that they believe their companies missed valuable opportunities and need to improve their online presence and personalization efforts. But driving sales by making products available online is not the only factor that retailers should focus on – it’s about creating a positive experience for customers to quickly and easily shop with their brand.
Creating a positive shopping experience online does not have to be complicated. Customers want simplicity, 56% said they expect to find what they want in three clicks or less. Although creating a cohesive online shopping experience across multiple channels is where some brands struggle.
Customers today expect a lot from the brands they shop with. They want good quality products, great prices, and they want to feel valued. Through a connected retail experience customers should be able go from viewing influencer content on Instagram, claim an offer online, clip a print offer, or simply add a particular item to their shopping cart with ease, while you capture preference data with complete tracking and visibility to improve and build customer profiles for future campaigns.
An intuitive shopper experience saves time and the effort it takes between browsing and buying, which ultimately drives an efficient and impactful ROI.
The Connected Customer Experience
There are a thousand different ways to test and improve customer shopping experiences. By using the right data and focusing on creating a more personalized, connected journey for customers you’ll undoubtedly start to see more success in capturing consumer attention and influence purchase decisions at every step in the path-to-purchase.
Start small, learn about your customers, leverage data and insights, study what works and what doesn’t, and evolve your customer journey.