With days to go to the annual seasonal sales extravaganza, including Black Friday, the holiday season is well and truly upon us.
Like many other consumers, I often start readying my gift shopping lists in the autumn. From my many conversations with Monetate clients, I understand that the challenge for retailers to stand out amongst competitors is tougher than ever.
It’s a crowded market, and brands must build strong foundations to nurture that purchase relationship, looking beyond deep discounts and a one-size-fits-all approach, to create a personalised shopping experience.
For 63 percent of consumers, personalisation from brands and retailers is now an expectation, however two-thirds of marketers are failing to invest in the appropriate technology to deliver this.
Smart personalisation strategies can be the key change factor as brands push to stand out and drive conversions. As Brexit looms, so too does the financial uncertainty facing consumers. Brands and retailers must rise above this and focus their efforts on cementing sustainable and long-lasting relationships that will in turn withstand what is expected to be a nervy and unsteady holiday season.
Our latest Ecommerce Benchmark report noted that ecommerce conversion rates dropped by seven percent in Q1 – a trend likely to have been driven by Brexit.
So how can marketers overcome the barriers that can often stand in the way when creating an optimised Customer Experience? As retailers strive to be best-placed to meet demand ahead of the busy ecommerce period, the following factors should be key considerations.
When it comes to personalisation, there is no blanket approach; recognising that every customer behaves differently with unique expectations is crucial.
Distilling audiences into groups by location, device, or demographic is an effective way to begin. These insights can work in tandem with machine learning and will enable brands to use real-time models to identify what works best for each individual. The use of data should continue to improve a shoppers’ personal experience as insights inform the how, the where, and the when to inform the best tactic for interaction with each potential customer.
Get to the heart of the customer
It’s easy to become buried in customer data, which is where segmentation and analytics tools are incredibly handy; providing instant insights into your customer behaviour, using everything from simple attributes such as device type and geography to more complex attributes such as product categories viewed and brands purchased.
Actionable customer data is the key to success when implementing a one-to-one personalisation programme, which drives higher conversion rates, increases average order value (AOV), and increases the quality of CX.
The more data available, the more effective and tailored the personalisation will be, but you can start small to reap value from the offset. From there, brands and retailers will be able to easily scale any personalisation efforts as they grow in data maturity and continue to get to know their customers.
Follow the data signals
When marketers think of multi-screening, they often see it as a new challenge or obstacle, but the truth is that we live in a multi-device world. When it comes to Customer Experience, implementing an omnichannel edge into your marketing can set you apart from your competitors and build lasting relationships with your customers.
Survey data collected by our team at Monetate and WBR Insights for our 2nd Annual Personalisation Development Study indicates that only 15 percent of marketers are observing and tracking customer sessions across two or more devices. When compared with industry data, they are failing to detect at least 25 percent of the sessions that are part of a multi-device journey to purchase.
Moreover, the move from specialised departments to cross-functional teams may postpone the personalisation process. For example, one team might be focused on website optimisation, while another team is solely looking at advertising display. Ensuring full alignment and buy-in across the organisation will enable a more seamless process where all teams can work towards a unified data and technology goal.
Master the visual
Whilst consumers expect a personalised experience, content does not have to be unique to each user to be considered effective. A collection of creative assets and copy relevant to a broad scope of interests is key to finding the right balance to appeal to individual users. It’s not just about the brand imagery, product recommendation, or message, but a combination of all of these elements, on the right platform, at the right time.
Achieving effective personalisation is challenging. As the Chief Marketing Officer of a technology company, I’m familiar with the challenge of finding the strategy that not only works, but also sticks. It’s easier said than done. The moment you implement personalisation marketing is the moment you change the way your customers view you – for good.
If brands can strive towards a future with machine learning and marketer creativity working hand-in-hand, they’ll see the benefits of increased loyalty and greater ROI more quickly.