Many traditional retailers are finding it challenging to keep up with, much less compete, with the Amazons of the world because they’re still playing catch-up with their technology. It’s their customer data management, specifically, that’s preventing them from delivering the seamless and personalized experience today’s consumers have come to expect, thanks to retail’s digital giants. With the right customer-focused strategy fueled by the right omnichannel marketing technology, brick-and-mortar retailers can level the playing field. Let’s take a closer look.
Omnichannel Shopping Is Here To Stay
Your customers want their brand experiences to be easy, convenient, and rewarding—online and offline. Why wouldn’t they? Hopping online to browse solutions and make a purchase is effortless, and saves them the time (and potential aggravation) of hopping into a car and heading into a physical store that might not have what they’re looking for, anyway. There’s a certain allure to in-store shopping that many customers can’t resist and it represents your opportunity to make their experiences better than ever or at least as beneficial as their online experiences!
The problem is, you may be taking a siloed approach to customer data management that’s getting in the way of meeting each customer’s needs and preferences, and it’s leading them to your competitor’s stores and websites. Today’s consumers hold the bargaining power, so to speak, so the onus is on your brand to attract—and retain—them for the long haul. This means taking your customer data out of silos and bringing it together for use across every customer touch-point, whether that’s on the web or in a physical store.
When your brand engages customers online and offline, and makes each interaction personal, you’re on your way to building win-win relationships that go the distance. Learn more in this blog post: Want to Drive Same Store Sales and Increase Customer Loyalty? Try Omnichannel Marketing.
But what about those data silos?
The Technology Connection
Having technology systems that “talk to each other” results in effective omnichannel customer experiences. Let’s consider a real-world example that’s unfolding in the retail fashion industry:
Rent the Runway started as an online-only retail shop where customers can rent high-priced merchandise from high-end designers. Their thought is that if they can remove the pressure of owning something, customers can focus on the experience and/or the emotional aspect of wearing it. The company started taking data related to customer “purchase” behaviors and using it to send personalized recommendations for new inventory they may want to try. In other words, enhancing their experience with the Rent the Runway brand. By pairing customer preferences with targeted offers, they’re not only serving their subscribers with the styles they love, but also helping them discover new brands and building brand loyalty (and sales!) along the way.
As the company’s CEO, Jennifer Hyman explains in a Salesforce interview, “By marrying up tens of millions of data points on our users, and even more on our inventory, we can help members pick the next item they want quicker, with a higher likelihood that the item will both fit them and be something they love. That’s what helps us offer a better experience to our customer, and what makes us stand out from other fashion companies.”
Even with Rent the Runway’s explosive growth through ecommerce and the launch of two subscription-based membership products, the style brand has recently decided to open up brick and mortar stores to bring their unique shopping experience into the realm of the physical store. It’s here that the brand will take the concept of omnichannel to the next level—and they’ll depend on data to get them there.
Now That’s Targeted Marketing!
Thinking in terms of online behavior, offline behavior, and the data management required to blend the two together, it’s easy to see why it’s important to “rethink” your company’s approach to marketing technology. Today, it’s critical to implement the same technology systems not only across retail locations, but across channels so your team can get one single view of each customer and deliver increasingly delightful customer experiences.
Moving forward, this is a much more efficient way for brands to operate. And it’s better for the customer. Consider the time and money that can be saved by providing the right product to the right customer at the right time—and in the way that’s most likely to lead to a sale. What’s more, this type of predictive service can even cut down on returned goods and discarded food items because customers are more likely to love what you’re offering.
Investing in the right technology can result in providing seamless experiences for customers. A good online experience can build trust with your brand and can lead to bringing people into your brick and mortar store—and vice versa. When your omnichannel customer data is collected, stored, analyzed, and used to deliver relevant, personal offers, customers enjoy more relevant and personal experiences with your brands. And isn’t that what you need to build their loyalty?
If you want to learn more about how to pair digital and in-store experiences, contact us.