“Experiential shopping” is a hot new trend in retail.

While the first thing that may come to mind is a quirky pop-up or interactive in-store tech, the reality is that these kinds of experiences are just one piece in the Customer Experience puzzle.

We know that improving lifetime value is a huge priority for forward-thinking brands and retailers because nurturing a relationship with a customer is more cost-effective than acquiring another. To build a base of loyal customers in an increasingly competitive environment, brands and retailers need to look beyond dazzling shoppers with a one-off experiential moment.

To secure long-term customer loyalty, brands and retailers must provide customers with meaningful, engaging Customer Experience throughout the buying journey – wherever it starts and ends – including after the sale itself. A “we’ve shipped your order” email just doesn’t go far enough.

Building loyalty in the moments that matter

We know from working with brands and retailers like PrettyLittleThing, BirchBox, Dollar Shave Club, and Urban Decay, that customers are at their most emotionally receptive after they’ve clicked buy. We call this the “honeymoon” moment.

Customers don’t want to be treated as ‘just another order number’. Our recent Hierarchy of Post-Purchase Needs survey highlighted that 86 percent of UK consumers agree that the experience they receive after the buy button is fundamental to their decision to buy again.

The brands and retailers that we work with have learned first-hand that it is important to engage with customers during the specific ‘moments’ where they can earn trust and make a tangible impact. Useful content and services turn one-off purchases into repeat custom; from timely and personalised delivery notifications, to clever data-driven communications about other relevant products and offering the choice of convenient delivery and pickup methods. 

Pinpointing the moments that matter

Retailers and brands need to consider the full range of moments to build brand loyalty. For example, PrettyLittleThing, the leading digitally native company in the fast-fashion space, recognised that it needed to improve Customer Experience and build customer lifetime value. The retailer is online-focused, but it does have three physical stores which bridge the online/offline shopping experience it offers customers.

Understanding that building on its physical presence would only go so far, PrettyLittleThing announced a partnership with Narvar to take ownership of the post-purchase experience for purchases made online.

Traditionally, PrettyLittleThing directed customers to third-party websites for delivery updates. These communications were unbranded and purely functional, meaning they did little to engage or delight online customers. In addition, by passing delivery communication responsibilities on to external carriers, the retailer had no oversight or control of the experience their customers received after leaving its website having made an order. This meant that PrettyLittleThing did not have control of the full Customer Experience.

Now, after adopting innovative technology, PrettyLittleThing customers receive proactive, convenient, engaging, and branded delivery and tracking messages in the moments that matter via the communications channel of their choice.

The results speak for themselves:

  • Next purchase accelerated by 57 percent
  • Overall post-purchase experience rated by customers is up by 30 percent
  • 44 percent marketing engagement rate on delivery updates

It’s not all about the money

Today, consumers are increasingly shopping with their emotions, purchasing from brands and retailers with aligned ethics – you just have to look at the rise of sustainable fashion and vegan products to understand this. No longer can brands and retailers believe that the main purchase driver is discounts and pop-up store sales – it’s great end-to-end experiences, online or offline.

We know this because over half (53 percent) of UK customers admitted that thoughtful and personal experiences are more important to them than discounts and coupons.

The brands and retailers struggling to pinpoint the moments that mean the most to consumers need to recognise the importance of the end-to-end customer care cycle – including post-purchase. Pop-ups and flashy in-store technology are important moments in the full customer journey, however the moments these experiences create won’t win customers’ hearts alone.

Today’s retail industry is fiercely competitive. The ultimate winners will understand that by creating meaningful and seamless experiences in-store and online – and every moment of interaction in between – will draw customers back, time and time again.

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