Shopify Ecosystem

How Retail Companies Can Guide The Entire Customer Journey

how-retail-companies-can-guide-the-entire-customer-journey

This article is part of our unPredictions series — no guesswork, no lofty trends, just real commerce marketing priorities to help you drive customer engagement and increase growth and revenue in 2022.


It’s incumbent upon marketers to dictate the customer’s experience with their company. The sweet spot for all marketers  to aim for is at the intersection of personalization, CX, and VoC. 

According to influential economist and Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt, the purpose of all businesses is to “find and keep customers,” and marketing is critical in assisting businesses in accomplishing this goal. Marketing is more than just advertising, selling products, and collecting money. Marketing adds value by connecting people with things, customers with businesses.

Marketers must adopt a customer-centric approach and strive to make quick, early contact with customers and move them through all stages of the lifecycle – acquisition, growth, retention and win back – through various marketing activities to boost lifetime customer value.

Pro Tip: Using AI Segments in the Emarsys Customer Engagement Platform, it is now possible to tailor the timing of your lifecycle marketing programs to meet the customer where they are in the buying cycle, instead of treating every customer the same. AI segments can help identify the behaviors leading up to conversion or churn and effectively time your outbound messaging to match each customer’s unique cadence of spending. 

What is the Function of a Marketing Organization?

On a broader scope, the objective of marketing is to identify, satisfy, and retain customers. Marketing is content is brand is CX is voice-of-the-customer is customer service. These activities create the foundation for client relationship management, a strategic need in modern marketing.

The concept of developing relationships between customers and businesses may seem routine and straightforward to a student of marketing in the digital age. It is, without a doubt, a natural extension of the marketing philosophy, which focuses entire businesses on understanding and meeting customer expectations. However, in the last few decades, technology has enabled businesses to acquire and use information about their customers on a large scale and in significant ways.

According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, 80% of customers believe that the experience they get from a company is just as necessary as its products and services, with 57% saying they’ve discontinued buying from a firm because other competitors provided a better experience. One thing is certain: you must know your clients better than ever before to provide a great experience.

According to Forrester, “Improving CX can be massively worthwhile. For example, for mass-market auto manufacturers, improving CX by one point can lead to more than $1B in additional revenue.”

Creating a positive brand experience for your customers requires more than just good customer service.

Knowing your consumers, engaging in long-term relationships, and providing tailored experiences along the customer journey are all essential considerations to make. However, no one-size-fits-all approach will ensure a positive client experience. Customers, like businesses, are all different. 

Today’s organizations must discover the right digital tools to generate satisfying customer experiences, drive sales, and inspire brand loyalty.

Customer Experience Is The Responsibility Of The Marketing Team

To retain long-term customers, exceeding expectations is at the top of every business’s priority list. As you may know, a happy client will be the first in line to spread good news about your business through word of mouth and online reviews. 

That is why you must make significant investments in improving your customer experience, particularly with today’s knowledgeable client who expects nothing less than a quick, convenient, and “cool” shopping experience.

It’s crucial to remember that no two customer experience teams are alike. The company’s size, CEO’s commitment, and other factors will determine whether there is a one-person team, a 50-person team, or no team at all. There is still a lot of work to be done, regardless of the size or composition of the crew.

The CX team comprises people who do the hard work behind the scenes to guarantee that the customer experience solves problems and satisfies their needs. In a nutshell, the team keeps the CX engine humming.

Customer experience strategy includes designing new customer experiences, analyzing client feedback and data, and managing procedures to understand customer pain points and wishes. This function is usually carried out by the CX Marketing Team. This team may also generate CX messaging for other divisions inside the company (presentations on customer success techniques, for example). Automation tools, CRM systems, social networking, and business intelligence apps are widely applied here.

Pro Tip: Using your website as a guide, build out unique triggered automations based on the content or categories the visitor viewed on the website. Instead of having a single Abandoned Browse program, consider having multiple for all of your top selling categories and products!

When evaluating customer data, or processing consumer feedback, team members frequently have questions about customer experiences. Managers may give their employees access to a centralized dashboard that addresses typical CX questions, saving up time and resources for the CX team. As a result, employees may concentrate on their work rather than wait for their bosses’ updates.

How To Use First-Party Data To Serve Customers What They Want

Marketers are well aware that first-party data yields the highest ROI of any data kind.

Many marketers, however, lack the necessary technologies and data methods to fully realize its potential, relying on third-party resources to fill in the gaps. While third-party data can help improve acquisition methods, it cannot explain a customer’s relationship with a brand or their buying path. Furthermore, there is nothing special about third-party data that can’t be sold to a competitor. Then there are the challenges of working with third-party data, such as quality, accuracy, and timeliness, not to mention the cost.

In this age of consumer empowerment, understanding and responding to customer wants, requirements, and purpose with 1:1 contextual relevance means creating tailored and highly targeted experiences that increase brand loyalty and retention. What better way to do this than to use the actual data documenting every consumer interaction with your company?

Consumers today interact with companies through various devices and channels, both online and offline. It’s a complicated and rapidly changing landscape, with new touchpoints appearing all the time. But it’s not about the number of channels you employ; it’s about providing superior brand experiences that satisfy customers and keep them coming back for more.

These touchpoints have one thing in common: they allow marketers to obtain a lot of first-party data on their customers. This private data can be linked to individual profiles to identify and gain a better understanding of how customers act, what they desire, and where they are in the buying process. Marketers must think strategically about their digital engagements, as well as the data they collect, to make the most of them.

How To Use First-Party Data

Customer insights are currently limited to one channel at a time for many marketers. Marketers may increase overall marketing success by integrating consumer data from all touchpoints and understanding the entire buyer journey, not just one element. Here are a few ideas:

Improve targeting precision.

Marketers must move away from cookie-based methods and toward strategies that use a brand’s first-party data to identify real people across devices and channels to achieve true addressability and targeting efficiency. Marketers can use first-party data to improve accuracy and relevancy, decrease ad waste, and ultimately increase ROI.

Map the customer journey.

Integrating and accessing first-party data from a single customer identification asset helps marketers map the buyer journey, uncovering the many steps that customers take on their path to conversion, as well as the sequence in which they take them. This makes it easier to provide the correct message at the right time and place, informing the tactics used to re-engage customers on the conversion path.

Increase relevance.

First-party data provides the most accurate intelligence and inspires innovative messaging and consumer experience design approaches. Marketers may create personalized brand experiences tailored to individual interests, preferences, geography, purchase history, and more, based on what they know about their customers and their actions across touchpoints.

First-party data provides the cornerstone for knowing your customers because it is based on actual experiences they have with your brand across an extensive array of touchpoints, both historical and in real-time, rather than the behavior of lookalikes that occurred weeks or months ago. It’s the information that a person gives you in exchange for a better product or service. It’s also the only data that provides the insights and control you’ll need to recognize, relate to, and answer your customers in more meaningful and valuable ways.

How Marketers Are Guiding The Customer Journey

Do you know how well you’re optimizing your customer’s journey? Whether you offer pet supplies, construction equipment, car insurance, or something else, all of your customers’ interactions with your company begin with a trip. There are stages to this trip, each of which can enhance or impair your relationship with the customer. The importance of focusing on customers’ journeys cannot be overstated. It can make your marketing feel more like matchmaking and help you build a long-term relationship with your clientele if done correctly.

Better Journeys Require Better Breadth of Channels

When consumers interact with brands today, they demand seamless and hyper-personalized user experiences, as well as high-value communication across numerous channels and devices. Delivering it at every stage of the consumer lifecycle can help a company deepen its relationship with its customers. Still, it takes a lot of data and a thorough understanding of the customer journey.

Working out a means to provide high-quality experiences is nothing a savvy marketer can’t manage – except that clients are more demanding than ever, and their purchase journeys are becoming more complex.

Customers expect to utilize their preferred methods at each stage and at any time, so having multiple channels and devices means you have more ways to reach them. In the United States, half of all internet purchases are now completed on mobile devices. At the same time, 75% of in-store shoppers use their mobile devices while shopping — the process is becoming increasingly complicated.

What Do Customers Want From Brands? 

Customers are also increasingly demanding a truly personalized trip tailored to their specific preferences. This provides a broader range of purchase alternatives and more accessible customer assistance. 

They also want genuinity. Customers want human-level contact with a business rather than pre-recorded and automated messages. This doesn’t mean your products have to be all-natural or handcrafted (but your brand experience should feel that way).

And, with so many different advocacy channels influencing customer behavior, from Twitter and Amazon to dedicated review sites, it’s tough for firms to manage the message they send to consumers and respond to criticism.

Here are some practical elements to consider while designing each segment of the journey to solve these issues:

► Awareness: Customer awareness can be increased in various ways, but the key is to reach out to them at the right time and on the right platform. You may ask your clients where they spend their time by conducting a survey. Technologies exist to assist you in tailoring your social media outreach by locating customers. You can also use the tried-and-true strategy of placing your advertisement in the exact location as a more well-known competitor.

► Consideration: When so many Millennials refuse to buy anything until they’ve heard from others, it’s critical to include testimonials prominently in your marketing materials. This doesn’t have to end at publishing other people’s thoughts; adding your remark on how your company helped them can provide other consumers insight into your company, making them feel more connected to a genuine company operated by real people.

► Purchase: The number of payment options has increased. However, you may not need to offer every way available, from cash to card to mobile payment; instead, think about your consumers and figure out which methods they prefer so you can provide a targeted variety of valuable options. A focus group, or email/offline/social media polls, could help, if you have the budget.

► Retention: Offering clients a variety of ways to engage with your company post-purchase can pay off – which means you shouldn’t hide the corporate phone number on the internet simply because it’s easier for you. Offering and publicizing cross-platform digital, social media, phone, and in-person engagement will cover all bases. It’s also beneficial if your front-line employees can make quick decisions. Customers will quickly grow frustrated if your support team does not access the information they require or the flexibility to assist them. Customer Experience Insights suggests flipping the script: instead of automatically saying “yes,” your support employees should seek approval from a supervisor to say no to a customer request when appropriate.

► Advocacy: Proactive approaches to criticism and highlighting praise should be part of advocacy initiatives. For example, if a negative review starts trending on social media, are you quick enough to call a consumer, analyze the situation accurately, and fix their issue in a good way? Can you actively seek out good words from important influencers and reward individuals who have shown a solid commitment to your brand? Finding brand mentions is the first stage, which may be done for free using Google Alerts, or for a fee using a more advanced paid service.

Conclusion

The customer experience is crucial to both customers and marketers.

Attracting and maintaining consumers is no easy task in an ultra-competitive corporate environment. Even a single encounter that falls short of customer expectations can significantly impact brand reputability.  The ease of switching brands in today’s market exaggerates the reduced margin for error companies have to work with. Finding an alternative to a product, or finding a firm that communicates in a way you prefer, is as simple as a Google search.

A positive client experience is a key to gaining a competitive advantage. Customers can always go somewhere else if they want to. Businesses that give positive experiences set the bar for what a customer should anticipate from similar businesses.

As a result of increasing market saturation, many firms recognize that providing a positive customer experience is the greatest way to set themselves apart from their competitors. If a strong product and competitive pricing aren’t enough to keep customers loyal, a tailored experience will be required.

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Special thanks to our friends at Emarsys for their insights on this topic.
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