Supply chain disruption has plagued retailers and freight logistics firms since the start of the pandemic. It has impacted the availability of items online, a build-up in click-and-collect services, and delayed purchase arrival times.

What seemed to be the final straw for Australian consumers was Christmas 2021. Emarsys research found 1 in 3 consumers were concerned about their purchases not arriving in time for the holiday. Further, the detriment of these gifts not arriving on time only exasperated consumers more, leading to consumer uncertainty that’s followed into 2022.

Rectifying consumer uncertainty requires retailers to be transparent with price inflations, item sourcing, and realistic delivery timeframes. This will create a full and visible picture for consumers which will empower them to understand the difficulties of supply chain disruption.

Yet, transparency isn’t the only fixture in alleviating uncertainty – it comes down to meeting consumer expectations, and then surpassing them. Retailers are increasingly required to deliver more sophisticated work, across a broader spectrum, in the same or less time. It’s never been harder to meet customer expectations.

Emarsys’ Power to the Marketer research revealed 46 per cent of retailers have turned to more personalised technologies to play a pivotal role in customer experience, customer relationship management, branding, customer acquisition and customer retention. Additionally, nearly all retailers want more time to get to know their customers as people. To do so, it comes down to utilising the right technology and digital tools within campaigns that focuses on customer data being collected in one central location.

Siloed data – a thing of the past

To have a true customer-centric marketing strategy in place, retailers must break down internal silos. Siloed data reflects outdated technology that prevents an omnichannel approach and hinders the ability to form retailer-customer relationships.

With updated and practical technology, retailers can combine their data from various platforms into a single unified solution. Collective data allows for more segmentation to deliver sophisticated, personalised, real-time experiences across all channels.

For instance, bedding retailer, Forty Winks made the plunge to eliminate siloed data and integrate information and data points into one platform. Despite their journey is only at the beginning, the retailer is able to utilise their data to communicate with specific customers based on where the customer’s lifecycle stands.

Yet, segmentation can be time-consuming considering the amount of consumer data collected and stored. To solve this issue, 94 per cent of retailers recognise automation to be an important opportunity in saving their teams time when analysing sales data, customer behaviour and sentiment data. In addition, nearly 40 per cent of retailers are implementing automated marketing programs and campaigns to engage and predict their customer wants, needs and behaviours.

Personalisation with context

While the benefits of unified data and automation can result in better segmentation, it’s important for retailers to view their customers as individuals. By investing in customer journeys, retailers should be offering personalised services based on how the consumer interacts with their brand across its channels. And a great way to start is through email communication.

Email is a great way to build personalised experiences and foster customer relationships. While email isn’t a new tool used by retailers, to better amplify personalised communication retailers can utilise collective data gathered from email comms and other channel interactions to draw on customer behaviour insights.

Retailers can predict customers’ future behaviours based on their past purchases and interactions across channels. This allows for retailers to encourage similar actions or helps prevent undesirable behaviours through email relations. As such, with an overview of the data coupled with automation, it allows for personalisation to be embedded into the customer experience journey in real-time, as well as gaining concurrent insights to better support customer re-engagement.

By delivering the right content at the right time to the right customer, it helps uncover actionable behaviour insights and removes a level of uncertainty. Collective data can help tailor individual shopper’s experience to suit their preferences by identifying shopping habits. Further, it ensures all customers receive consistent, relevant 1:1 experience that encourage them to return time and time again.

Personalisation involves presenting relevant content to customers based on their specific data, analysing their reactions, and then following up over their lifecycle. It comes down to how retailers engage their customers whether it be post-purchase cross-sell, new in stock notifications, SMS store updates, or post-purchase feedback.

Continuing to build relationships beyond the purchase is the goal, and in a time of consumer uncertainty, data should be used to connect, unify, and roll out personalised campaigns appealing to consumers expectations at the forefront.

Daniel Hagos is managing director for Asia Pacific & Japan at Emarsys.