The sudden shift in e-commerce strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way retailers think. Strategies for implementing buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup now dominate the conversation. In order to survive in today’s highly volatile environment, retailers and marketers must leverage technologies that reduce time-to-market and create engaging content that lead customers to shop online. Here are three strategies that focus on delivering great customer experiences that strengthen customer loyalty in retail e-commerce.
Improve customer experiences with personalization
Personalization is all about creating high quality and contextual online shopping experiences for your customers. There are many examples of traditional brick-and-mortar companies that have failed to establish a strong online presence, such as Kmart, Mervyn’s and Sears. Their failure to adapt to new ways of interacting with customers and incorporating technology that helps personalize the customer’s interaction has led to their demise, among other reasons.
To those who say that customers aren’t willing to provide information that is tailored to their interests, I suggest you take a look at the following data. In a survey conducted by Salesforce.com, 57 percent of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts. Similarly, 52 percent of consumers would share personal data in exchange for product recommendations, and 53 percent would do the same for personalized shopping experiences. And today’s personalization technologies make it easier than ever for business users to personalize digital experiences.
Engage customers with AI-driven content for Retail E-Commerce
AI-driven content that is optimized for mobile devices helps differentiate your offerings from your competitors. In addition, delivering AI-driven product recommendations and promotions in real-time, on customers’ preferred channels, goes a long way to improving the odds of having a customer make purchases. Here are five ways that AI-driven content can help increase customer purchases:
- Chatbots enhanced with AI technology improve communication with customers and help facilitate purchasing products.
- AI-powered personalization helps organizations unify data from multiple sources to provide a single view of the customer which helps lead customers to take action.
- Analyzing customer data using AI helps uncover micro-segments and trends such as user behavior, device type, and geo-location.
- AI-driven recommendations based on each customer’s unique interests helps improve the odds of making a sale.
- Driving clicks by using automated mobile app A/B testing coupled with AI helps you continuously optimize the performance of app content.
Similarly, in Gartner’s The CIO’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence, analyst Kasey Panetta outlines three strategies that companies should examine when considering adding AI to their digital transformation:
- “Outline your AI strategy and secure input from the executive team about what you hope to accomplish.
- Make sure that your IT leaders have a deep understanding of AI and related technologies.
- Analyze current technologies to understand where talent gaps lie.”
Empower customers to tell their personal story online
Converse is one of the most recognizable shoe designs and the classic Chuck Taylor model, even though it was created decades ago, is still a very popular brand. But as with the majority of brands, it’s important to stay relevant and timely, especially with youth culture. In 2015, Converse launched a new marketing campaign that sought input from customers about how they personalized their Chuck Taylor models. The campaign, called “Made by You,” celebrates the personal creativity of their customers.
Speaking at Microsoft’s Advertising Week Europe in 2015, Converse’s social media manager, Chris Marsh, explained the vision of the campaign. “We’re arguably the most iconic footwear of all time. One of the great things about our product is that it’s one of the only few in the world that when you take it out of the box it actually gets better.” Fans of Converse’s shoes are able to express themselves by altering and personalizing their shoes sharing their stories via social media.
Retailers can learn a lot from Converse. By giving customers a platform to showcase their own unique style via social media, Converse is showing that it is a retailer in touch with its customers and is focused on building community.
Pure Hockey, with 50+ stores across the U.S. and a thriving e-commerce presence, encourages customers to share their stories about Pure Hockey’s “Learn to Play” program. This program is a partnership with the NHL, exposing over 20,000 kids to the sport of hockey at a low entry cost. As Matt Rosenthal of Pure Hockey states, “for most families, this is their kids’ first time involved with the sport. Whether a fitting event in our store or from families’ homes, we give parents an opportunity to post pictures of kids getting the chance to buy (discounted) hockey equipment for the first time. We’ve had customers sending us video or photos of their kids opening the box. They share these images with family and friends. It’s exciting for the kids, and exposes the program to other deserving families.”
Connecting with Customers
Creating a superior customer experience is more critical now than ever before based on the global pandemic and an increasingly crowded competitive landscape. For marketers to easily connect with their customers, they should tap into the power of hybrid headless CMS technology that is agile enough to provide content for any touchpoint, easy enough to create enticing online experiences with limited IT support, and powerful enough to deliver personalized content to customers on any touchpoint based on their own unique interests.