This is a story about two retail businesses - both with an ecommerce platform and a range of physical stores. Their customers exist online and offline, but each business’ level of customer insight and understanding is vastly different. Here’s how the story unfolds.
Business A has a robust ecommerce platform. They invest heavily to understand the buyer behavior on their website. They have the technology in place to recognize who is using their website at any particular time. They understand buyer interests and intent, recognizing shopper types and personally catering to them based on geography, past sessions and customer profile attributes. They make contact simple and respond in real-time using chatbots and social media. They make it easier for customers to buy more - upselling by offering alternatives, related products or ‘what others have bought’ suggestions. And they identify when the purchase process isn’t working and rectify the issues by reducing complexity, decision fatigue and cart abandonment.
With all this data, Business A’s ultimate online goal is to recognize repeat customers and entice new customers by delivering a seamless and convenient experience. The investment in consumer research and technology works. The personalized experience they deliver at scale helps the business remain competitive, increases repeat business and drives customer loyalty.
Beyond the online-focused investment of Business A, Business B takes an omnichannel approach to their customer research and analytics. They recognize the benefit of understanding their online buyer behavior, but they also see great value in making the investment to understand their in-store customers. After all, they’re paying hefty fees in rent and upfront capital costs to maintain their stores, so they want to derive as much value as possible.
Similar to online buyer behavior, research into in-store customer behavior helps Business B identify who is actually in the store at any given time, what their preferences are and if they’re a return customer, what their previous purchases have been.
Like a small local cafe where the barista recognizes his customer and says, ‘strong latte with one sugar again, Jamie?’, Business B’s customers love that they remember them and know their preferences. In fact, these small gestures of recognition are the number one reason why they continue to go back to Business B, and not one of the many other options accessible to them including Business A.
How can this same type of small cafe personalization be delivered at scale in a large retail business? By investing in omnichannel customer research and using customer feedback software, Business B can deliver an exceptional (and seamless) customer experience both online and offline. They use in-store WiFi log-in to capture customer details and to prompt loyalty club sign up. They use this same portal to request real-time customer feedback and encourage customer engagement. With instant alerts, store assistants can respond immediately to this feedback, rectifying issues while the customer is still in-store. By integrating this customer data with their existing CRM, they can marry up the analytics from their online research to create rich customer profiles that trigger personalized marketing campaigns and targeted offers. The added bonus for Business B is that they’re combining technology and automation with a human touch - their frontline employees across all their stores are given direct access to customer feedback so that they can truly deliver a unique and memorable customer experience.
69% of US consumers shop more with brands that offer consistent experiences in store and online. (Forrester)
Looking back at Business A, the staff in their stores have no systematic way of recognizing and delivering a personalized experience for loyal customers. For Business A, and many others like it, all in-store customers look the same and so the customer experience ends up being the same. Herein lies the weakness. Or in more positive terms, herein lies the opportunity.
The proof is in the results. Just like Business B, Virgin Hotels is committed to their omnichannel customer experience. After joining forces with Local Measure to better understand their on-premise customers, they doubled the growth of their loyalty database. Similarly, other hospitality and retail clients are receiving 2x conversion rates by targeting on-premise customers.
Local Measure is a customer experience software that integrates with Cisco Meraki so that operations, marketing and management teams can leverage customer insights and deliver exceptional customer experiences to drive real results. Find out more here.