ASOS being named ‘best at communicating’ by UK university students highlights how retailers should be taking a personalised approach to customer engagement, says Andy Burton, CEO at digital commerce consultancy Tryzens. He suggests that with consumers now being bombarded by many channels, retailers must deliver personalised communications and seamless, intuitive e-commerce experiences to generate stronger brand loyalty and rapport.
Retailers effectively communicating relevant offers and discounts was rated the most important element of the customer experience, with 68 per cent of students surveyed by Campus Society opting for it, followed by sharing exciting and engaging content, using the right tools to engage with customers and the appropriate frequency of communications. The prominence of elements such as relevant offers and discounts and using the right tools shows the importance of personalising customer engagement, only communicating relevant information and in the channels that customers prefer.
However, many retailers are failing to implement the necessary technologies and processes to take full advantage of the benefits that personalisation and deeper, more meaningful customer engagement offer.
Burton comments: “It is no surprise to see that customers want this level of personalisation and options to purchase across channels from their favourite retailers. We are seeing a huge rise in social selling, supported by the kind of innovations that Instagram launched in March 2018, a social selling feature which allows brands to tag up to five products in a post, displaying product information like price and purchase links. Social media networks offer a unique platform for retailers to personalise their messages, ensuring that they can deliver specific offerings to potential and existing customers, based on the preferences, likes and dislikes of these demographics.
“This precise targeting helps consumers to feel a greater sense of connection to their favourite brands and ultimately grows sales and revenue. However, for retailers to generate deeper and more impactful conversations with their customers, it is essential that they analyse all of the data available to them with innovative technologies and use the insights gained to align their digital strategies.”
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are now enabling retailers to deliver personalised product recommendations based on their previous browsing habits, even shuffling product listings on websites to dynamically merchandise a page based on past customer behaviour. Dynamic optimisation can also personalise the customer experience, leveraging machine learning to distribute more bespoke advertising messages. Spotify, working with a company called AMillionAds, was recently able to adapt an ad to the location, temperature and gender of a person. For example, a woman listening to Spotify in the park when the temperature is over 25 degrees Celsius might be served an advertisement for sunscreen.
Burton concludes: “As technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning develop, they will play an increasingly important role in delivering a personalised experience to customers. Retailers that can harness these technologies to extract full value from the customer data that they possess will be able to understand their customers better and build deeper, more meaningful relationships with them. This could include using the right social media channels, targeting consumers on a more granular basis with the right content and optimise the frequency of those communications.”