The largest CRMC in the event’s history proved to be one packed with exciting innovations, thought provoking insights and a future where loyalty is at the center of all that brands do
If CRMC taught us anything it’s that our customers have lofty expectations of us. Gone are the days where brands can simply bring great products or services to market and depend on a loyal following to immediately buy. And that may not be such a bad thing, because at the heart of the new reality for retailers, grocers, restaurants and brands… is the customer. An unusually fickle creature, seeking to be rewarded for their loyalty and consumed by a desire to be recognized as incredibly unique. They require a seamlessly effortless engagement and expect a personalized approach to being interacted with.
“At the center of the new #RetailUniverse is the customer, and the focus over the next three days will be the new, channel-agnostic and digitized shopping journey; emotional engagement; and the importance of the customer experience—with loyalty at the center.”
Welcome to the new age of loyalty and here are the key learnings we have taken away from this year’s CRMC:
Uniting the Customer Journey
One major shift has been evident the past few years. Consumers love the experience of physical stores but prefer the speed and convenience of online shopping. All too often, brands find consumers searching and navigating across the web to competitor sites, opposed to their own. That’s because the consumer journey is fractured. It’s hard to stay loyal to a brand with so many competing distractions of products and with exposure to options, comes shifts in shopping behaviors.
It is challenging for retailers to keep up with customer habits and preferences and serve up content to fit. Retailers must get their arms around this ever-shifting landscape, and the best way to do this is by delivering seamless customer experiences across multiple channels and touch points. Creating a connected experience across all channels is critical. Loyalty can deliver this experience, with segmentation, personalized offers and targeted communications that keeps consumers loyal to the brand and aware of the benefits of their repeat purchases.
Connect in Non-Transactional Moments
Connecting with your customer is now more about transformational moments, instead of transactional moments. It’s about connecting with them throughout their lifecycle and providing meaning that may be deeper than the traditional product placement. In a transactional journey, a customer might do his/her exploration and inspiration on third channels, such as Instagram, Amazon, comparison sites, or simply by talking to friends. After this ‘premeditation’, they can then decide to buy the product (either from your channel or an affiliated one). Simply put, this transactional journey is very straightforward and one-sided: the customer comes to you to buy the product or service they have decided to purchase. They choose you based off cost, features or availability but not out of loyalty to your brand. The new landscape is in capturing these moments and becoming unique to your customer. You can do this by creating seamless memorable interactions, while connecting with your customer in an authentic way– an experiential way.
For the experiential journey, you need to put the focus on the actual experience and story behind the product, to personalize it to your customers emotional connection to it. Furthermore, that journey that you take them on has to highlight a hassle-free, convenient and fast way to purchase and receive. It’s the seamless engagement that truly creates an exceptional experience and customers expect that immediate gratification that comes with an experiential purchase. Use your loyalty program to not only entice with products that are personalized to your customer’s individual needs but also in the moments that they least expect it. Create craveability and harness the power of each and every non-transactional moment.
Segment, Test and Test Again
Last but not least, in order to personalize, you need to understand your customer and segment them in a way that allows you to take them on this individual journey, customizing your engagement on a deeper level. These segmentations offer you the ability to test communications, understand what is working and what is not, and establish best practices when it comes to connecting with them. There is no tried and true way to engage and just like each of your customers are unique, so will be the need to customize how you engage them.
Loyalty affords you the ability to create endless engagement cycles with countless journeys that take your customer through the buying process with your brand. It allows you to meet your consumer, wherever they are in the purchasing cycle, while providing you with the data points that help you close the gaps. By putting the customer at the center of your brand communications, you make it effortless, inspiring and value-driven to purchase from you. Because ultimately, loyal customers don’t come back because of simple marketing communications, they come back for the experiences you provide.
Loyalty is at the heart of the consumer journey and it can help you deliver the “right” experience for your customer. Ask us how by scheduling a 1:1 demo of our loyalty and engagement platform at www.punchh.com.
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