As Generation Z’s buying power makes its presence felt, the importance of “brand differentiation” is fast becoming recognised as a key influencer in consumer choice and spend.
So, how do you move from an “out-of-the-box” offering to something that drives positive and long-term customer engagement?
Leverage your product information
This might sound simple but, your products must be presented with enough information and supporting visual details to provide impact and to address the key customer need.
85% of today’s potential digital customers view quality product information as the number 1 consideration when looking to make a purchase*
An integrated Product Information Management (PIM) system with a well-executed product detail enrichment strategy, will yield many measurable benefits:
- Drive your conversion rates up by 15% – 35%
- Reduce your return rates by 10% – 25%
- Increase your margins on targeted product lines by 10% – 40%
- Improve your customer satisfaction by 20% – 39%
75 - 80% of businesses operating solid PIM strategies can look beyond pure conversation rates and expect to sell at higher margins. Does this sound like something you should ignore? No!
Managing product information should be marketing or merchandising activity, it is business and not IT driven… If you have this understanding in place, your business will have the digital underpinnings to both enhance and maximise your trading capabilities across all touchpoints.
Invest in quality lead magnetism
This area of customer engagement provides a rich seam of potential ROI to the savvy marketer. This is the use of promotional content to encourage unknown digital visitors to provide their details (ie. an email address) to your Commerce platform.
Please note that in this case, “unknown” doesn’t mean new customer, it simply means that the user interacting with you just isn’t recognised.
The effective use of lead magnets takes practice and patience but provides an excellent means of A/B testing and allows your marketers to experiment with powerful promotional messages to both new and existing customers with realtime analytics and insight for measurability.
Aim to personalise gracefully
The mechanics have not changed hugely over the past two decades: if a reference piece of data exists (eg. web storage or a cookie), a digital touchpoint can respond: think “Welcome back James”.
If the user is truly anonymous, you can deliver richer messages to encourage that potential customer to take an action: “subscribe to our email updates and receive 15% off your next order”.
Quality execution here is critical! To be effective, you cannot leave a customer feeling they have suffered assault by pop-up.
I also can’t emphasise enough the importance of differentiating this messaging between your new and existing customers. Building advocacy and conversion are equally important to your business, so remember, those “new customer” offers can be an irritant to those who have previously purchased with you.
Leverage your CRM
Accelerating the conversion of an anonymous customer into a known entity is a key goal, but this goal does not limit you in terms of a real-time and intelligent response.
Integrated CRM solutions are fully capable of tracking and building interaction histories on both sides of the “known” fence. This offers you both personalisation and relevancy based on customer behaviour AND enriched historical data which you can use to enhance campaign planning when the anonymous customer finally converts to a known.
Returning to lead magnets, you can leverage this personalisation capability to test and measure targeted and relevant promotions across your digital touchpoints and apply ROI based on the customer response.
As an example, consider abandoned cart emails; if you make them personal and relevant, your business can expect an increase in average order volume, an industry average of over 14% is not to be sniffed at!
Naturally, if the customer reveals him or herself to be an existing customer, none of the above data and enrichment benefits are lost. Your marketeers can apply more appropriate content and interaction elements together with purchase history and demographic data, further increasing engagement strength and potential advocacy.
Integrate your “brand dynamic” with recommendations AI
Product recommendation engines can perform the heavy lifting for your merchandising teams and deliver very positive ROI, their task is simple:
- Expose more of your product catalogue for cross-sell/upsell
- Use attributes, behavioural and transactional analysis to enhance product listings with relevancy based on the current user’s activity
It has been estimated that with just a 5% click generation, automated recommendations generated 30% of revenues during Cyber Week, they really are a vital part of your Commerce activity.
It is common for businesses to use strategies such as “trending”, “customers also bought”, or “you may also like”, leaving AI and automation to handle the customer relevancy part, so how do you stand out?
Your marketers should be looking at ways to introduce your “brand experience” as part of the recommendation view. This benefits the customer with a more curated and relevant view of assortments and ranges and “humanises” the touchpoint.
Again, this is fully A/B testable and strategies can be applied for all potential customer scenarios, unknown, new and existing, powerful ideas could include:
- Products available now for pickup at the customer’s local store
- Integrate lead magnets or promotions clearly in the pricing message
- Links to relevant and influential/aspirational content to guide the customer
- Use external influences such as the weather, sporting results or Game of Thrones…
Looking back to CRM, you can harness these experiments for measurable upturn in all post-sale or even missed sale campaigns. It goes without saying that the granularity of existing customer detail can sharpen this activity for continuous and very powerful engagements.
The above steps are integrated and will make a significant contribution to your Connected Commerce journey by delivering a stand out brand experience for your customers across all touchpoints.
The order in which you approach individual customer goals however will be influenced by the underpinnings of your current technology. Leveraging what you have and delivering on it, is a question of your capabilities in business agility and digital product, a subject is I shall be discussing in the next article.