The Retailing Loyalty Dilemma: How to Stay Connected With Customers Post-Purchase
Oct 05, 2016 / By Vanessa Horwell
When the president of eBay is quoted as saying "the wall between retail and e-tail is crumbling fast," something is definitely going on in the e-commerce and retailing worlds.
Spurred by consumers’ reliance on mobile devices, the boom in social media, and shoppers' permanent fixation with deals, what used to be divisional issues between in-store shopping and online shopping are rapidly disappearing – and even converging in a new type of retail experience. But it's an experience that also challenges the foundation of traditional consumer-to-brand retailer loyalty.
Today, consumers shop online and offline, sometimes simultaneously. They rely on smartphones to research products and compare prices from inside the store. They search for nearby geo-located promotions and offers. They buy online and pick up in-store. Increasingly, they click the "buy" button right from their mobile device.
What does this mean for retailers? The convergence of online and offline experiences, and a new era in shopping, mean it’s absolutely critical for retailers to invest more heavily in their relationships with customers that last well beyond the shopping experience.
Why? Because consumers' ability to search for and find "better" prices online mentally separates the shopper's actual purchase experience from the brand. If a price is a price is a price and the best price wins, where does the brand fit in?
The Value of Multi-channel Messaging
A multi-channel messaging tool set is key to building loyalty-driven, brand-to-consumer relationships that last well beyond transactions.
Today's retailers in search of optimal outcomes need solutions that enable them to connect with individual customers on their preferred messaging channels – email, SMS, app, rich inbox, or otherwise – based on data from the customer's interactions with the brands.
Other high-value channels for bringing customers back to a retailer's site following the shopping experience are mobile and desktop browser push – a marketing approach that’s gaining a lot of traction. With browser push, retailers can deliver browser-based messages to opted-in users, even when those users are on websites other than the retailers'. They are perfect targets for shopping cart checkout reminders, timely "act now" promotions, personalized updates on product availability, and other marketing strategies.
Multi-channel messaging, when combined with personalized marketing efforts, can help retailers achieve the trifecta of ideal consumer satisfaction and deeper brand loyalty: Right message, right time, right channel.
Ultimately, the key to success in the converging digital-and-physical worlds of retail is long-term, conversational communication that makes brands a genuine component of their shoppers' lives.
How will retail marketing evolve so that customers feel more loyal to brands? What changes are on the horizon for 2017? Our next post will explore these questions… and more.
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