Customer engagement has been an industry-wide marketing term for around a decade now. It encapsulates the change in marketing philosophy brought about by three effects of digital media:
Rise of marketing automation
Move from one-to-many broadcast marketing to one-to-one conversational commerce
Proliferation of transactional and programmatic messaging
Customer Engagement pressures: Marketers need new ways to engage
According to the report, marketers have found that they need to find new ways to communicate with customers and build lasting relationships, or face crippling competition from more capable rivals.
Those that adopt a customer-engagement approach to their marketing strategy typically see improved customer satisfaction, resulting in improved customer retention and financial performance.
B2Cs, for instance, measure impact in increased order values and reduced marketing costs, while their B2B counterparts use customer engagement techniques to boost acquisition and optimize their lead quality.
For better customer engagement, brands need to connect and communicate smarter
There are two main barriers to a robust customer engagement strategy:
Difficulties in getting a single customer view (SCV)
Disconnected technology platforms
Many businesses struggle with legacy systems that don’t work together, since driving engagement relies on the seamless connection of all data points. Plus, antiquated organizational structures impede the vital sharing of data across the business. This is another key requirement to creating a consistent and engaging experience along the path to purchase and beyond.
Headline stats highlight customer data silos
How are marketers engaging their customers?
79% of respondents use email platforms
65% use content management systems
62% use social media tools
BUT, creating an SCV proves to be a challenge…
Just 65% of companies have integrated email and CRM
Only 56% of businesses have integrated email with their didgital analytics
And the levels of integration are far lower for other types of technology.
Consumers expect personalized experiences
Brands are well aware of the growing expectations of consumers. Personalization has, according to 25% of those surveyed, been one of the most important customer engagement-related trends in the last five years. The need to personalize is driving intermediate and advanced brands to focus more on AI as a tool to accelerate the customer experience into new realms of personalization.
More unmissable insights
For a deep-dive into all of the stats, as well as regional breakdowns across the UK & Europe, North America, and APAC, download the full version here.
You’ll discover the true importance of customer engagement, considerations and tactics for B2C and B2B, as well as how the right technology can drive long-term success.
Businesses with a retail presence know very well that a strong omnichannel strategy lives and dies on having a single customer view. Storing offline and online shopping history in one place sounds awesome on paper but collecting personal information in-store is quite a challenge.
When buying online, customers have all the time in the world, so they’re more inclined to type-in their contact data or register to a loyalty program, especially since their phone or computer can auto-fill certain fields.
But in a brick-and-mortar environment, the same customers are less patient, unwilling to waste time on surveys in the middle of a shopping spree. Not to mention that manually writing down their information is just not a good user experience.
But to successfully seal the deal, you need to ensure that the in-store user experience is up to snuff. We at Antavo offer three solutions to engage guest shoppers the 21st-century way:
Incentivised Product Interaction
Associate each product with a unique tag that customers can find in a little sachet attached to the product. By scanning the tag, people will be redirected to the loyalty program’s landing page where they can register or sign in.
Link each product tag to an instant reward that customers can unlock by accessing the Loyalty program. Such rewards can include coupons or little gifts (like a free lipstick or custom laces) that can be enjoyed together with the purchase.
This strategy works because customers need to have an account in order to redeem the reward. And if they don’t, the fear of missing out will motivate them to quickly enroll in the loyalty program. Pro tip: when scanning the code, redirect shoppers to a page displaying an image of the reward to further emphasize the value of the incentive.
Mobile Wallets are native applications that are present in both iPhone and Android phones. Your Wallet can hold multiple Mobile Passes, which can be a one-time coupon, an event ticket or a loyalty program membership card.
Customers can have their Passes scanned by the shop assistant (using a POS device) to redeem a coupon or have their point balance updated. Doing so ensures that they’ leave a footprint after the purchase, giving you valuable insight.
Another benefit of having a Mobile Wallet system is that you can target customers with personalized push notifications, using location-based technology. In other words, when they’re walking past the store, they receive a message telling them that their favorite product is now in stock.
If there’s something customers love even more than being rewarded, it’s being part of a great experience. The Loyalty Experience Kiosk — Antavo’s very own hardware-software solution — aims to turn the process of enrollment into something memorable; an act people genuinely desire to do.
The Kiosk uses NFC technology to make the registration smooth and exciting. Imagine a large tablet that loops a flashy animation, inviting customers to touch their phone to screen. Once they do it, the animation changes, congratulating them, while the phone opens up the enrollment page.
But the experience is only beginning. If they follow through and register, they can sync the phone to access various features on the tablet. For instance, after engaging with gamified functions such as the Prize Wheel or Sweepstake, the rewards aren’t shown on the tablet screen but on the phone, and it’s instantly redeemable during the checkout.
In short, NFC tech delivers value on two fronts: it makes the enrollment swift and painless, and at the same time increases footfall due to being a novelty.
6 Reasons To Give In-Store Enrollment a Chance
With the solutions now at hand, it’s time to see what benefits you could reap from spicing up the store experience.
First and foremost, you can significantly expand your marketing database with the contact information of the freshly enrolled buyers
Even better, you have the means to retarget and nurture guest shoppers with follow-up messages or newsletters.
In-store shoppers often have different preferences than their online-buying counterparts. Finally learning about their habits, needs, and wants is invaluable to engage them with personalized emails.
Having a larger and more diverse pool of contacts also unlocks new possibilities for A/B testing, as you can send out news and coupons with store-related incentives.
Being able to bridge the gap between offline and online purchases highlights customers who buy on both channels, showing you their true purchase frequency.
And let’s not forget that interacting with an NFC-enabled kiosk or redeeming a Mobile Pass are great experiences, convincing people to visit your shop more often.
Naturally, collecting contact and personal information through loyalty solutions is just the first step towards faster, data-driven customer engagement. dotdigital and Antavo are hosting a marketing seminar, titled “How to boost your marketing with a loyalty program”, so if you’re interested in making your marketing communication more powerful, then book your seat here.
What is customer lifecycle marketing and why is it important?
Data-driven, customer lifecycle email campaigns are designed to deliver messages to customers at a time that suits them. It’s an email marketing strategy based on the idea of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, throughout the whole business cycle.
Marketers can adopt highly specific and targeted email marketing techniques, due to the sophisticated nature of data collection and ever-advancing developments within dotdigital’s Engagement Cloud. It’s time to make maximum impact.
Sending the same emails to
everyone on your list is wrong and hinders your growth
At any given time, each customer is at a different point in their relationship with your product or brand. Think of the customer’s lifecycle as a journey – everyone has their own journey in their own time. Rather than sending bulk generic emails to all your recipients, customer lifecycle emails are targeted to specific customers at crucial points in their own individual journey.
With the level
of advanced email tools available to date, batch-and-blast emails should be a very
small proportion of the emails you are sending. This mentality of quantity over
quality is no longer effective in today’s email marketing world.
Leaving behind the spray-and-pray mindset and focusing on lifecycle marketing is the key to increasing email ROI.
Customer lifecycle marketing is the key to increasing email ROI
email campaigns on the customer lifecycle will produce better conversions,
because the email content targets the individual recipient. Even if your recipients
don’t convert right away, they’ll still find your emails valuable.
How you define your customer lifecycle is specific to you and your brand. The typical customer lifecycle includes these five stages:
Prospects are people or companies who aren’t customers… yet. They fit in with your buyer persona and they’ve had a minimal level of interaction and engagement with your brand.
Make sure to encourage them to make their first purchase; incentivizing them with a discount always helps. Ensure you set up a welcome program to make that important great first impression.
Here are some nice welcome email ideas:
Nasty Gal prompts new contacts to check out the blog and connect on social.
Kate Spade’s compelling welcome message gives you four reasons to visit the online store.
FUNFIT welcomes new subscribers with a 15% off their first order along with useful CTAs.
2. Active customers
These are people who have already made at least one purchase. It can also apply to those who have made multiple purchases. I would recommend segmenting these customers into several groups based on their purchasing habits.
For example, you might split those who purchase seasonally separately to those who purchase weekly. You need to ensure you keep these customers engaged so they continue buying from you. Additionally, you should be sending these customers transactional emails and replenishment emails.
3. At-risk customers
I class at-risk customers as those who were previously active but whose behavior has since dwindled – i.e. they haven’t made a purchase in a while.
How you determine when a customer moves from ‘active’ to ‘at risk’ is entirely dependent on your products and customers.
If you’re an automotive online brand, you may only expect the customer to purchase once during their car’s lifespan. However, if you’re a women’s fashion brand you might place someone ‘at risk’ if they don’t make a purchase after 30-60 days.
Deliver tailored content to each segment
You need to turn these at-risk customers in to active customers before they lapse. I won’t sugar-coat this; it can be difficult to re-engage someone unless you know specifically why they lost interest.
In addition, one of the most effective ways to contact them is through email, which doesn’t help if they’ve learned to ignore your emails. Try and understand what caused the customers to disengage initially.
You can’t send every email subscriber the same content, you must segment based on their past interactions with your brand and deliver tailored content to each segment. Optimizing the frequency of your emails will also help so you don’t overwhelm your customers.
4. Lapsed customers
These are the customers who have long gone past the point they were supposed to make a purchase and don’t respond to your emails. You need to reactivate these customers. Like at-risk customers, I’d suggest running some win-back style email campaigns to turn lapsed customers in to active customers. It can be tough, but not impossible. Lapsed customers don’t work in our favor as they are further away from your brand. Trying to win back old customers will make you understand why it’s so important to keep your current ones!
Look after your advocates, for these are the people that not only purchase your products regularly, but also promote your brand – on social media or simply by word of mouth. They are at the height of the customer lifecycle.
You want to nurture and reward these customers, so they stay engaged and continue to promote for you. You may decide to send your advocates special content – make sure to include something exclusive in your emails to drive home the point that your recipients aren’t like your regular customers.
Here are a couple of ideas of loyalty-style emails:
Starbucks rewards customers with bonus stars when they buy coffee and extended happy hours.
Madewell thanks its customers for joining the Insider gang and outlines all the ‘just-for-you’ perks.
You need to map out your customer lifecycle and create emails for customers at each stage. This will improve your conversion rates and build a stronger brand following.
Although it may
require some time and resource for strategy and implementation, once set up, it
will deliver business results continuously. Your dotdigital account manager can
help with this – make sure you get in touch.
Change is an important part of any successful business, so we thought it would be a good idea to give you some insight into our key roadmap items and how customer feedback influences what we build.
Behind the scenes
In our company’s infancy we were simply an Email Service Provider – or ‘ESP’ as it is now commonly abbreviated to. Although, once you start learning about ramp-ups and deliverability, email doesn’t seem so simple anymore – luckily, we have a dedicated team to help with that!
20 years on, whilst the market has crowded, and its players have converged – we’re still standing strong. Of course, this doesn’t happen unless you have a taskforce and customer base that are receptive to change.
I’m sure you’ve clocked our rebrand to dotdigital and I hope
you’ve also noticed our change in direction (in terms of what our tech can do).
Today, marketers can use Engagement Cloud to send omnichannel marketing
messages to the right audience, at the right time, and on the right channel.
We wouldn’t have come this far had it not been for you. Whether you’re fresh to dotdigital or a long-standing customer that we’ve served for 10+ years, we work extremely hard to understand how you use our platform and what we can do better to help you improve.
If you’ve visited our roadmap before, you might have spotted a green tab at the side for feedback and ideas.
We invite anyone, including our thousands of users, to tell us how we can make Engagement Cloud better. Some great developments have been put in motion thanks to some of the feedback we’ve received – one of which is RFM segmentation (coming soon!).
Besides our public roadmap, we use dotlives, webinars,
customer interviews, and other opportunities to gather valuable feedback. You
may have even received a beta program invite from one of our product managers;
betas are a way for us to get feedback prior to launch whilst giving our
customers the opportunity to shape the products they’ll be using in the future.
So, join us on the 27th of June when I’ll be running through the items on our roadmap in a little more detail. I’ll focus on the projects that are particularly relevant to the agenda on the day and fill you in on the beta programs we’re running. Most importantly though, please stick around and give me your two cents’ worth over a tea or coffee after the sessions!
In 2018 brands should be basing their communications on customers’ preferences. This ensures that every message resonates with them, regardless of whichever channel they chose.
It’s a lot to take on board to ensure that customers are engaging with the content brands are putting out. One of the brands that has recognized the importance of this complex strategy is intu, the UK’s largest online shopping center.
intu created a bespoke preference center to ensure that their customers can update or change their preferences on their mobile phones – all with a few swipes and taps of a finger.
intu has bricks-and-clicks shops, managing several shopping centers throughout the UK (and Europe) and hosting an online shopping portal that showcases the UK’s best brands. intu also allows in-center stores and online retail behemoths to showcase their full collections, aggregating in-center and exclusive online offers and promotions.
What did they want to achieve?
intu hadn’t used dotdigital Engagement Cloud previously. Working with various members across the account management, custom technical solutions (CTS), and onboarding teams, intu was given a thorough grounding in our core product and bespoke solution capabilities. This meant that they could hit the ground running.
Making the most of our bespoke technical services team, Intu wanted to build a preference center that allowed subscribers to change their personal details and update their preferences directly from email. As many customers now check their emails on their mobiles, intu knew that making their preference center look sleek on handheld devices was important; the brand needed a mobile-first preference center.
In addition to a responsive design across mobile and desktop, the preference center needed to be easy to use, not compromising on functionality or data capture. Ensuring the preference center was mobile-ready meant that their customers could take advantage of intu’s free Wi-Fi hotspots and directly update their preferences in-center.
How did the customer work with CTS?
intu’s preference center is built to extract updated contact information and pass it back to CRM so that intu always has current and relevant unsubscribe data. Off the back of the data collected, intu can trigger birthday programs, personalize emails with first names, and tailor email content based on gender and location.
intu and dotdigital approached the preference center as a collaborative process. dotdigital provided expert technology and intu provided high quality designs that minimize scrolling and produce a seamless user journey. The result is stunning.
The whole process worked really well. Our PM [Project Manager] not only kept us up to date with the progress at each stage, but also adapted to our ever-changing needs quickly and professionally. The preference center will allow us to power our segments fully and automatically. These preferences are key to ensuring we deliver the right message to the right person at the right time and have already started to see our enriched profile numbers increase, as well as engagement. So far, the preference center hasn’t had its own awareness campaign, but we are seeing around 1% of clicks on this organically which is an increase of 50%. Our enriched profiles have gone up an average of 2% extra this month, with this being a strong contributor to this growth. We will be utilizing this on the back of our Wi-Fi welcome journey. As 90% of our new sign-ups come from our center Wi-Fi users, we need to enrich these profiles quickly as we only get their email address. This will allow them to opt in and out of different communications and submit their preferences easily.
Shane Bond, Email Marketing Manager at intu
We are really looking forward to working more with Shane and the rest of the team at intu to harness the power of their data and enable them to make data-driven marketing decisions.
We’ve all heard the saying before – content is king.
So, what does that make data? If we’re sticking with the analogy
of chess in regards to marketing efforts, where on the board does big data
fall? You might be surprised to know that big data
isn’t a chess piece at all, it’s the clock off to the side of the game that
you’re playing against.
In the game of chess, you can lose if you focus too much on the moves your opponent makes and not enough on how much time you have left – the same is true for marketing.
Technology is changing the way we do business. We have more data at our disposal than ever before, and we’ve reached the point that not utilizing that data could eventually render your business obsolete. Passively tracking the latest data tools and tips isn’t enough anymore, you need a proactive approach to integrating big data into your customer experience plan.
How does ignoring big data affect your business?
Software is eating the world and it’s fueling itself with user
In just the span of a year, the number of marketing automation software
products listed on G2’s website jumped from 129 to 260. That’s an increase of
201.55% and that number is expected to keep increasing. The biggest names in
marketing are investing more time and resources into gathering customer data to
drive customer engagement
and improve the consumer experience.
That’s not all – they’re also seeing a huge return on their investment. The total revenue generated from hardware, software, and professional services associated with big data will reach $92.2 billion by 2026. And that’s a conservative estimate, some experts predict that number to spike even higher.
If you’re not already making data a priority for your marketing strategy, you may be falling behind the competition without even knowing it. While you’re watching the pieces on their chess board, the clock is ticking and you’re running out of time to switch your strategy in time.
How can you harness big data to engage your customers?
Knowing why you need data for your customer experience is just one piece on the board. The real question is do you know how to move the pieces to win the game? In order to beat your opponent, you’ll need to understand the different ways you can use data to improve your customer experience and drive conversions.
Think of these strategies as your chess openings. There are three
main uses of big data in relation to the customer experience:
1. Using big data to increase customer acquisition
2. Using big data to increase customer retention
3. Using big data to drive customer expansion.
Let’s break these down one by one.
Using big data to increase customer acquisition is pretty straightforward. You can use big data to learn more about potential leads, what motivates them, what they like and dislike. Big data can provide you with information about their purchasing behavior, which of your competitors they’ve checked out, and more. All of this information can be given to your sales team to help them close deals and acquire new customers.
Once you acquire customers, you can use big data to keep them
engaged. Netflix is at the
forefront of the conversation when it comes to harnessing big data for a unique
customer experience. They use AI and predictive analytics to pinpoint what
their customers like and offer them new features and products before customers
even know they want them. With the right data, your company can do the same
Attracting and keeping customers isn’t all big data can do – it can help you save time and resources by knowing which leads aren’t worth pursuing. You can use CRM software to track your customer data and build consumer profiles that will help you decide the likelihood a lead will convert to a sale.
You can save your employees time, money, and frustration by using
data to equip them with the tools they need to be more effective. And in the
same breath, you can create a more personalized user experience to your
customers. Unlike chess, this is a game where everyone can be a winner.
Every marketer wants more customers to engage more frequently with more of their content. After all, engagements are generally considered positive key performance indicators. If customers are opening your messages, clicking through to your site, and ultimately buying from you – your job as a marketer is done, right? Wrong!
All too often, customers have negative experiences after they click ‘buy’. It might be that their order is delayed because the product’s out of stock. Perhaps they receive the wrong item. Or maybe they simply change their mind and don’t want to engage in your returns process.
These types of experiences are part of the engagement iceberg, where less-visible interactions can cost a lot of money and undo your hard-spent marketing dollars. To illustrate, it takes 12 positive customer reviews to make up for one negative customer review.
Brightpearl automates retail: all the tasks in the back-end associated with placing and receiving an order. Their mission is to reduce errors, eliminate bottlenecks, and make the customer experience painless.
dotdigital and Brightpearl are pleased to announce a new integration
The new connector helps brands sync their back-end retail operations with dotdigital Engagement Cloud. Marketers can achieve a more robust single customer view and take control over how and when they market to someone.
The integration lets retailers sync:
Doing your data due diligence saves you time to re-market to a new or automatically created address book(s). You could even create a new marketing segment combining contacts with related Brightpearl contact tags. Cool, huh?
Relevant and valuable communication with clients is one of the cornerstones of customer-centric retail. We’re excited to partner with dotdigital to provide our mutual customers the capacity to enhance their customer engagement with accurate operations data. This will give Brightpearl and dotdigital Engagement Cloud users the ability to avoid disjointed or irrelevant communication to clients, and instead will lead to the kind of seamless customer experience both platforms are already known to provide on their own.
Rob Beattie, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Brightpearl, UK
The partnership with retail operations experts Brightpearl makes a lot of sense. We have a number of mutual clients who have all expressed the need to be able to link up their business systems, front- and back-end. As an increasing amount of businesses feel fierce competitive pressure, having the ability to respond to end-to-end experiences, both good and bad, becomes increasingly important when trying to gain an edge over the rest.
Brightpearl is an omnichannel retail operations platform
that helps retailers streamline the back office. Brightpearl’s complete
solution includes financial management, inventory and sales order management,
purchasing and supplier management, CRM, fulfilment, warehouse, and logistics.
Integrated with major ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces, Brightpearl
is designed to scale as retailers grow.
Customer engagement is earned through trust and over time. It’s no easy feat for brands; our noisy digital age means that connecting with customers is rather challenging.
What’s more, customer engagement is intrinsically hard to measure. Sure, you can track email opens, clicks, and conversions. But what about word of mouth and brand awareness? The important stuff.
What is customer engagement?
Put simply, customer engagement is attracting and influencing customers in order to capture and retain their attention. Brands seek participation from consumers at length: a collection of individual moments that make up a customer’s experience or journey.
Customer engagement is a persuasion game and has more than one facet. To nurture prospects into customers effectively, you’ll need to tap into the following three layers of the consumer psyche:
In the very first instance, you should look to engage your customers at an emotional level. They need to ‘feel’ something for your brand and trust your proposition.
Secondly, you need to lock in commitment and ensure that what you’re offering makes logical sense to the customer.
Lastly, and most importantly, you’ll have to communicate your brand virtues. Ethical marketing helps nurture promoters – people who will actively advance your brand’s influence.
Let’s look at the best tactics for smashing all three:
Inspire emotions to engage customers.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou, American poet
As human beings, our decisions are influenced by our emotions. We love authenticity and hate deceit, so brands need to come across as trustworthy. Only then will customers respond positively.
An authentic brand narrative is important for creating brand relevance. Millennials in particular will respond better to emotive marketing than promotional ads. Enchanting subscribers with storytelling means activating memories, feelings, and desires. Relevancy is key: Use the customer data you hold to create meaningful campaigns. EasyJet’s anniversary story is a lovely example.
Put your social proof to use
Customer-first businesses earn social proof. The important thing is to let the customer do the talking. Ratings, reviews and testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC) are all great examples of social proof that can influence broader engagement. Shout about your endorsements and broadcast what other customers are buying. You’ll soon spark interest from similar consumers who are in the market for your product or service.
Now that you’ve struck up an emotional connection with your customer, it’s time to appeal to reason. They’ve built up enough trust to hear you out.
And while impulse can sometimes mislead, logic isn’t as easily fooled. Rational engagement will consolidate emotive desires with reasoning: Do I actually need this Klimt print? Can I afford it? Where would I hang it? I’d need to buy a frame, too.
Convincing customers of your products or services requires some fine-tuning. You need to align your proposition as a solution to an existing want, need, or problem. After all, no one likes buyer’s remorse.
While stories can be broad in their message, communications such as email need to be tailored to specific individuals. Base campaigns on personas or use preferences and behaviors to customize your content. Remember that, to satisfy the customer’s rationale, there should be a reason behind every message.
Relevancy improves the likelihood of engagement. The knock-on effects include: increased customer satisfaction, retention, and cross-/upselling. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize and provide relevant recommendations. Plus, 83% are willing to share their data to make this possible! Do you have a preference center?
Segmenting based on explicit preferences, like product tastes, enables you to power dynamic content in email.
Tracking implicit data, such as online activity, allows you to recommend highly relevant products.
Leverage different channels
Armed with a mobile device, consumers can shop wherever and whenever they please. And while email is the undisputed king of ROI (£42 for every £1), other channels such as SMS and push notification warrant equal attention.
Consumers, who perceive SMS as a direct and service-based communication channel, are super-responsive on mobile. They engage with messages instinctively. It’s no surprise that SMS has an unbeatable open rate of 98% and a response rate of 45%.
Marketers have a real opportunity to capitalize on this near-perfect engagement score. Sending highly contextual and timely SMS messages, such as dispatch notes or appointment reminders, can instill consumer confidence in your brand.
Drive context with lifecycle automation
Lifecycle marketing is about taking your customers on a journey. Automation empowers brands to logically structure their campaigns and content around the customer. The premise is context; every message should be relevant to the customer at their point in the journey. Think: welcome series, birthday trigger campaigns, post-purchase content, and loyalty programs.
Lead the charge on ethics! Happy customers aren’t always active promoters; brand promotion is at its strongest when they experience a sentimental connection with your brand.
Remember, customers love companies who show they care for something other than the bottom line. Putting ethics before profit not only builds trust, it inspires customers to become actively involved in your brand. And that means more sales.
66% of consumers are willing to spend more money with an ethical businesses. What’s more, 92% of millennials are more likely to buy products from companies that value their ethics.
Engage customers in ethical conversation:
Fair trade practices
Good working conditions
Respect for the environment
Ask yourself, what does your business care about?
Make a commitment – and stick to it
Commit to something that both your brand and your customers care about. You might want to donate a percentage of your profits to charity, or plant a tree for every 10 products you sell. Showing that you’re making a difference can earn you more trust and cement your brand reputation.
Use holidays to inspire giving
Anniversaries are a great cause for celebration. They’re a time for reflection and inspiration, so brands need to get stuck in. Making a campaign all about compassion – rather than promotion – can go a long way in customer engagement. Perhaps organize some business-wide charity work on your company’s birthday, or use Black Friday sales as a reason to donate to an important cause. Maybe your customers will follow suit?
Let customers know what their purchases go towards. A compelling aftersales moment can stay with customers forever. That feeling is something brands can’t buy. Go up in customers’ estimations by highlighting the contributions you’re making to a specific cause.
Make it about more than the transaction
Promoters will advocate brands that provide special customer experiences. You’ve got to make the transaction extraordinary so that it sticks out from the others.
Customers will, for instance, be delighted that their purchase is helping others in need. Having felt something meaningful, they’ll continue to purchase with the brand and recommend it to their peers.
So, whether it’s on your homepage or product pages, in email or on social, communicate your ethical activities. They’ll draw the eye, because your actions speak louder than your words.
Customers buy brands, not products
Remember that an authentic narrative will always inspire customer action. People will always pay attention to your business if you’ve got something worthwhile to say. Engagement is the result of a good brand story. It’s just a case of getting the balance of emotive and rational marketing right.
Your brand proposition needs to feel right, make sense, and convey compassion.
co-founder and CMO at Antavo, the leading customer loyalty technology partner of dotdigital, specialized in helping
fashion and retail brands in Europe. They provide technology and strategy to
create customer retention programs so brands can form real connections with
their customers through engagement, exclusivity and advocacy. Their clients
include LuisaViaRoma, Represent, and Jimmy Jazz.
This year Amazon
gave a very unique Valentine’s Day gift to CRM teams all around world: Amazon
Moments. The concept in itself was enough to turn everyone’s head:
imagine a cross-platform marketing tool where you can quickly and easily set up
campaigns that reward various customer interactions – most of which aren’t tied
directly to transactions – with tangible benefits. So, does this mean Amazon
has entered the ring of loyalty programs with its own product?
No, not really. As
you’ll soon see, Moments does not include several key features, which
top-of-the-line reward programs provide. Nevertheless, Amazon’s initiative
pushes customer retention in the right direction by proving that brands need to
move beyond transactional rewards.
Amazon Moments work?
Before diving into the details, let’s examine what Amazon Moments offers marketers. The system is a framework that allows companies to set up industry-specific campaigns to reward customers when they meet the requirements of a custom trigger (called a ‘moment’).
For example, mobile game developers can give a free mobile skin to users who defeat the dragon on level 15. Any reward can be chosen from the company’s catalog, and Amazon will take care of the delivery.
every interaction, not just transactions
After a closer inspection, it’s clear that Amazon Moments is not a loyalty program, but a reward fulfilment platform that works on a global scale. Unlike a full-fledged loyalty program, Moments doesn’t offer any points or rewards tiers – which are very important elements in maintaining customer interest – and it also lacks a critical feature for marketers and CRM teams: insight.
Offering people rewards without understanding their needs and motivation is a huge gamble. So, if you don’t do your homework, you might end up losing money with this system.
But to give credit where credit is due, Amazon Moments has taken a very important step in customer retention by offering a reward model that uses physical and digital incentives instead of discounts.
Giving users a small token of appreciation for enjoying your product or service fosters true brand love and helps increase customer lifetime value. We’ve been on this soap box for years, telling brands and retailers that the future lies in engaging customers outside of the buying cycle.
This chart illustrates the tendency perfectly, and it’s gratifying to see that Amazon shares the sentiment.
win big with Amazon Moments?
After laying down
the pros and cons, let’s see who will benefit the most from using this new
Businesses that lack the
fulfilment capabilities to reach a global audience
Small companies that always wanted
a loyalty program, but never reached the point of designing one
Brands with a large audience that
wish to deliver rewards quickly and easily
Ecommerce players who don’t want
to compromise their profit margin with discounts, but still seek a potent
customer retention campaign
who should pass on the offer?
Companies in direct competition
Businesses that have already
established their own fulfilment channels
Luxury brands, because gifts from
Amazon may feel off-brand – or even insulting – for affluent buyers
Retailers that seek a more
fleshed-out loyalty program, which offers features like tiers, gamification, a
single customer view and insights, as well as personalization
Whether or not you use Amazon Moments, you’ll be affected by its presence on the market. It will no doubt open up people’s eye to loyalty programs.
More and more companies will start offering their own campaigns, prompting brands and retailers to focus more on personalization, email marketing, gamification, and advanced loyalty solutions, such as Recognition Loyalty.
According to eMarketer, only around 46% of customers claim that the overall price is the number one reason why they buy gifts from a particular retailer. This leaves plenty of room for other forms of customer retention that don’t involve ridiculous price drops, which compromise your company’s profit margin.
On top of that, more and more companies are realizing that brand loyalty cannot be gained through discounts. Private White, a British outerwear brand for men decided to launch a Black Friday campaign that offers 0% off. See James Eden’s LinkedIn post for more details on why they left the price wars for the competition.
Here are the three most powerful practices that ensure shoppers stay with you – even after the holiday craze has quieted down.
1. Personalized emails
If there is something customers like, it’s being treated like a VIP by their favorite company. Sending your customers a message or newsletter that is tailored to their shopping persona will no doubt make them feel appreciated.
Make sure to craft an email template that reflects relevant information. Don’t stop at simple data such as the name, spice up the message with product recommendations that match their purchase history. Pay attention to subtle additions as well, such as changing the backdrop to match the recipients favorite color or showcasing a tier-specific logo. The possibilities are endless, so be creative!
It goes without saying that your emails should reflect the atmosphere of the current season. To add more spice to your campaign, consider assigning different pictures and content to male and female customers, or creating higher quality designs for top-tier members.
2. Loyalty program
Launching a loyalty program is a valuable way to increase customer engagement, especially during the retail rush.
A loyalty program elevates your existing customer retention strategies
Reward additional actions that aren’t related to the buying cycle, such working out or referring friends
Use points, or scrap points altogether; both systems work
Add alluring bonuses, like discounts or free shipping, or take the concept to the next level and use experiential rewards to give customers personal treatment
On the other hand, loyalty programs can help you better understand your customers because you can reward customers for taking part in surveys or completing their profile. Doing so provides valuable information that could be later used for personalization. Think about the rich data you could acquire, such as birthday, gender, sizing, favorite color or brand preference.
It’s also worth mentioning that the concept of Recognition Loyalty further expands the possibilities by introducing the concept of membership tiers.
To give you an example, Represent, a shared client of dotmailer and Antavo, has six tiers. Each tier offers incremental benefits. Participants are ranked according to their overall spending value, which motivates them to increase their purchase frequency throughout the year, so they can climb the ladder and unlock more rewards.
3. Memorable experiences
My final piece of advice for improving customer retention during peak retail seasons is to focus on surprise and delight elements. People love to receive gifts, and the gesture is even more impactful when the recipients aren’t expecting it.
So, what should be in your gift box? Sweepstakes are a good start because they have a game-like feeling. During Christmas, a calendar that offers limited-time bonuses each day would amaze your customers, no doubt about it.
Of course, no one can resist a great deal, especially if there is a time limit attached to it. Granting double or triple points for products during the holidays has the power to mobilize shoppers.
To illustrate the power of surprise and delight, look at the email campaign of one of Antavo’s clients, LuisaViaRoma. Their birthday emails not only increased the active members of the Privilege Program by 50%, but these emails ended up among the company’s Top 3 highest netting campaigns.
Maintaining Engagement Requires Constant Effort
If you really wish to stand out from the competition and keep the customers you gather during the peak season, then you need a constantly-evolving strategy that implements the latest innovations.
The time of ‘set it and forget it’ or ‘one size fits all’ solutions are over; customers want a more personalized experience that constantly gives them new opportunities to interact with your brand –not just when they open their wallets, but also when they’re living their lives, outside the buying cycle.