While it's no secret that online shoppers value convenience above all else (even more than cheaper pricing or better selection), "convenience" isn't just implementing a once-click checkout process or ensuring your site is mobile friendly. If enterprise companies truly want to deliver convenience to their customers, they need to take a look at their customer experience.
"Customer experience will be more important than price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020" - 'Customers 2020' study by Walker
Personalization Is Everything
No, we don't mean just adding your customer's name into the subject line. True personalization happens when you are delivering the exact right content and offers to your customers, in the right medium, at exactly the time they want it. And studies are indicating that this isn't something marketing teams can write off as just an opportunity as opposed to an immediate need. In fact, a recent study published by Accenture found that a staggering 81% of consumers want brands to understand them better and know when and when not to market to them. That means 81% of your customers have the potential to leave your brand if you continue marketing to them in the wrong ways.
It All Starts with Data
In order to market to your customers in the ways that they want, you must first gain a deep understanding of your customer data. This goes well beyond buyer personas and involves bringing customer data from all touch points - across online and offline channels - into one unified place. Gone are the days of just being able to segment based solely on past purchases or demographic information. Now, marketers need to be able to build segments based on the whole customer -- incorporating things like in-store interactions, customer service calls, propensity models, and whatever else informs the complete picture of the customer. To better bring this point home, here is an example of how bringing all first party customer data into one place where customer data is cleansed, deduped, enriched, and accessible to all customer-facing teams, can make or break customer experience:
John Doe (creative name, I know) buys a pair of your company's pants online. After a month, the zipper breaks, so he calls the customer support team. While chatting with one of your reps, he mentions that the pants style had ended up being a little too snug, and even before the zipper broke, he had been on the fence about liking the pants. Since your customer service team is so awesome, they offered to replace the broken zipper pants with a different style pant that might be more to his preference -- and by having access to his profile, they knew what this preference was. John loved his new pants, and he loved his customer experience.
Three months down the road, you are sending a promotional email and want to target anyone who has purchased that original pair of pants in the last six months. If you are using a Customer Data Platform (CDP), you will be able to suppress John from this promotion knowing that these pants were replaced, because all of John's data -- including his experience with the support rep -- is included in the profiles used for the promotion. Without a CDP, you would include John in that promotion for the pants he disliked, resulting in a very negative experience for that customer. In that scenario, John would be reminded of the pants he disliked and might start to wonder if he should be looking for future pants elsewhere.
With the retail environment being as competitive as it is, companies can't afford to continue turning customers off with irrelevant, or irritating, marketing messages. Brands need to optimize every single customer touchpoint to ensure each customer interaction delights and, most importantly, is relevant. This is what customers truly want when they say they want "convenience," and it is the future of a differentiating customer experience.
For a more in depth look at the impact that a golden customer record can make on the way a brand personalizes, check out this case study from retailer JOANN Stores showing how JOANN brought together data from over 800 stores and over 80 million customer records to gain a deeper understanding of their customers. With a CDP, JOANN was able to:
- Increase online orders more than 150%
- Get a 3x response rate on reactivation campaigns
- Increase incremental revenue 18%