How to Establish Long-Lasting Consumer Relationships in a Digital Environment
By Pascal Lannoo, CMO & Chief Experience Officer, SKEEPERS
Due to the pandemic, shopping has experienced significant changes over the last year and a half. As retailers continue to limit in-store capacity and consumers continue to practice social distancing, online shopping has become more popular than ever before. This noticeable trend has caused brands to shift from their overall marketing-centric strategy to a relationship-building approach in order to stay engaged with their target audiences IRL and online. More than ever, it is important for brands to establish and strengthen consumer relationships in today’s digitally-driven world.
Digital marketing trends have evolved a lot since the early days of the internet. What was once limited to curating an email list and ad retargeting, has become much more personalized and precise. This increased level of personalization allows brands to establish long-lasting relationships with consumers. Let’s take a closer look at how this can be achieved.
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Designing a bespoke digital experience
Maintaining solid consumer and brand relationships comes in the form of repeat customers, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth marketing. From the buyer’s perspective, they expect to receive a quality product or service, to be recognized or rewarded for brand loyalty, and feel heard when communicating with the brand – all areas that can be improved upon with an online strategy.
As technology evolves, consumers are offered unlimited paths to purchase. This is one area where brands can implement a consumer-driven online experience. For instance, a consumer could be prompted to shop a brand’s website through an email promotion. Once they arrive to the website, they’re greeted by a chatbot to assist in their search. After the point of sale, the buyer will be updated with confirmation and delivery tracking emails. This is just one example of a standard path to purchase. However, we know this can be taken a step further by automatically prompting the customer for a review approximately one week after the product has been delivered. From here, we can also offer personalized product recommendations based on recent purchase history. This type of personalization allows brands to maintain consistent, targeted communications with their audiences, ultimately humanizing a consumer’s digital shopping experience.
Delivering value through feedback loops
It is becoming increasingly important to be able to anticipate and deliver on consumers’ wants and needs. In order to do so, brands need to listen to consumers’ feedback. Brands that actively listen to their consumers can determine what’s most important to them at a much faster rate than brands that have yet to adapt.
Brands that are utilizing various feedback tools such as reviews, social media, surveys, testimonials, and even in-person staff not only stand out from the crowded retail landscape but are gaining valuable insights from the users of their product or service. By employing chatbot services or direct customer service line access retail technology can provide consumers with the level of service they are looking for. Another way that AI can fit into the equation is by utilizing automatic feedback loops to deploy customer surveys at precise points along the customer journey or when the customer isn’t actively engaging in a purchasing decision.
After receiving feedback through surveys, AI can funnel the feedback based on satisfaction level to the appropriate internal team. For example, if a customer shared they weren’t satisfied with their most recent purchase on a survey, it can be automatically sent to the customer service team to handle. This is just one of the many valuable ways in which AI can close the feedback loop and turn an unpleasant customer experience into a positive one, helping to keep the buyer customer relationship afloat.
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Investing in the consumer, not just the product
Brands rely heavily on the engagement from their consumers to provide insight into what they like and dislike about a product or service, but the brand-consumer relationship can go beyond this offering now, diving deeper into larger social responsibility conversations. In fact, younger consumers are becoming more and more interested in choosing brands that share similar core values or are committed to a mission or cause.
This is a trend we’re seeing as consumers tap into a deeper level of thinking when making purchases. They want to know where their products are coming from if the products are sustainable or were ethically made. These are just a few examples of factors that go into a consumer’s purchasing thought process and affect the overall level of trust they have in a brand, ultimately trickling down to if they will make a purchase. Simply put, consumers won’t purchase from a brand they don’t trust.
Consumers’ voices matter as they can speak through their purchasing power. Brands should strive to create the in-person experience in a virtual space to give consumers options of how they would best like to shop or be provided a service. It is important to listen to consumers through all feedback avenues and make changes to better serve the customer as well as provide inspiration for future company innovation and product development. AI and other emerging technologies can help brands to achieve the long-lasting brand-to-consumer relationship that consumers are looking for.
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