Increased personalisation and high levels of engagement are the keys to building long-lasting relationships between retailers and shoppers. With the advent of omnichannel shopping journeys, where customers expect efficiency and personalisation of service across in-store, mobile, and desktop shopping, this engagement is more complex than ever to navigate. What constitutes a great shopping experience today is vastly different than what it used to be.
With a recent survey showing that 90 per cent of shoppers globally are now regularly shopping across multiple channels, it is vital that personalised services are translated to every stage of the shopping journey.
Multiple channels, one view
The demand for a single view across all channels is increasing among shoppers, who have a growing understanding of the benefits of connected touchpoints. When shopping online they have come to expect recommendations based on previous purchases, and when in-store they often check their smartphones to compare prices online to those they see in front of them.
Businesses need to effectively interact with customers through tailored special offers, secret sales, and personalised loyalty rewards, across all channels. The number of shoppers who believe it is important for retailers to have a single view of them has increased exponentially year after year and this trend is set to continue in the years to come, as omnichannel shopping increases in popularity.
Through the analysis of an omni-shopper’s data, brands can understand their customers’ unique habits, even when the journey occurs across multiple devices, bridging the gaps between in-store and online.
Creating life-long relationships through loyalty programs
Shoppers don’t want personalisation to be strictly limited to individual transactions. Rather, they want retailers to use the knowledge they gain about them to nurture life-long relationships—ones that transcend sales and enter a realm of true engagement.
This strong appetite for engagement in the physical and digital retail spaces can be effectively achieved with loyalty programs. Often mistaken as an outdated mode of marketing, manifesting itself solely with physical cards and points schemes, sophisticated loyalty programs are now less concerned with driving sales and more concerned with providing a personalised brand experience.
A highly valuable capability of omnichannel store technologies is that they can integrate what’s happening in the moment to mimic previous behaviours, and also predict future ones. Some examples include viewing a customer’s purchases online to suggest in-store recommendations at POS, or providing the best possible service during the click-and-collect transaction process, which is particularly important, especially as many people test this service for the first time.
In these ways and more, loyalty programs are a great way to enable the seamless integration of digital and physical incentivisation and foster personalisation across channels.
Bringing the convenience of online to bricks-and-mortar stores
As lines between physical stores and online stores become increasingly blurred, shoppers are developing expectations that the in-store experience will also be able to deliver the conveniences and personalisation experienced in online shopping.
Through the prioritisation of data collection, businesses will be able to develop relevant, targeted offers for their customers. This data collection includes tracking customers’ purchase histories, viewing which items a shopper browses online, how much shoppers spend, and what shoppers look at in the store.
Training in-store staff to offer this level of personalisation is also a key factor to creating a successful personalisation experience for your brand—the kind that will always keep customers feeling valued, and encourage them to keep coming back for more.
Retailers still have a way to go before this need for personalisation is met. Omnichannel shopping isn’t going anywhere, and retailers need to adapt their offerings to ensure that regardless of platform, customers’ shopping journeys are seamless, convenient and personalised. Bringing digital practices and information to the physical store is the way of the future, and retailers that embrace omnichannel shopping are the ones who will create integrated, authentic experiences with their customers.
Paula Da Silva is the SVP of Sales, ANZ at CitiXsys.
Want the latest retail news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up to the retailbiz newsletter.