It's a tragedy when people lose touch. This is as true for stores and its customers. People come and go, entering a shared narrative for a moment and then disappearing, sometimes forever.
In retail, a vast number of potential and current customers easily drift away, not because prices are too high or inventory is too low, but because the connection evaporates. The personal connection is either too much or not enough. In either case, it's not right, and it fails to keep a grasp on this most valuable of commodities, the engaged customer.
In the Mobile Retail Report, which assessed and analyzed current levels of mobile technology adoption among leading brands - one significant discovery was how little of the right kind of personalized follow-up is offered. Most people dislike receiving bulk email messages because they are impersonal and convey no understanding of the individual. However, consumers also dislike answering questionnaires, filling out forms, and giving up personal data.
This leaves retailers with a conundrum. How do you connect on a one-to-one basis with customers, without driving them away in the process? Maybe the solution lies in breaking the task up into smaller components.
Getting to Know You
Much has been written about in-store technologies, especially apps for consumers and sales associates. But it is premature to assume that using an app means stopping customers in their tracks and asking twenty questions.
Getting to know a customer is something that can be done in a way that is simultaneously piecemeal and efficient. Pulling in a fact about personal tastes from a conversation, observing a preference for a particular brand that a customer mentioned within the body of a "contact us" email, taking note of the specific form of payment used at the checkout – these are all individual pieces of information that, over time, converge to form an entire profile.
The data that is vital to creating personalized follow-up communication can be absorbed by retailers carefully and systematically. This will serve them well, as long as it is nurtured, maintained, and used properly.
Innovating New Ways to Create Interest
Cosmetics powerhouse Sephora encourages engagement and participation through a collection of downloadable emojis – visual graphics that are inserted into text messaging and conversational commerce apps. These emojis are both compelling and effective, weaving the Sephora culture into a habit that is near and dear to most people – texting.
The emojis are not data collection tools, but nor are they mere toys. Studies show that 40 percent of shoppers under 30 prefer to use emojis rather than words in their communications. Emojis are becoming an essential part of our language.
By making these available to users of their native mobile app, Sephora allows customers and potential customers to go deeper into the relationship. This keeps customers mindful of the brand, which makes them more likely to return to the app and add more information to their profiles through browsing, listing of favorites, or chatting with an associate.
This unconventional approach helps populate the database to generate more personalized communications and lead to increased, consistent conversion. Innovations like these will make the job of collecting data easier and more relevant for outbound communications.
The future of retail is mobile.
Download your copy of the Mobile Retail Report and learn best-in-class examples of mobile strategies done right; along with actionable next steps on how to better compete in a mobile-first world.