As the usage of mobile explodes and the digital revolution moves to take center stage, retailers are investing to shore up their consumer engagement and commerce capabilities.
But once you attract the consumer and invite them in – likely with an awesome but deeply discounted promotion – the next biggest challenge is in persuading them to stay. Unless they really find something they identify with that creates stickiness, why will they stay on? Habits are tough to form.
Here are 2 ways retailers can improve consumer engagement and emerge past the discounts frontier.
1. Being a Partner
Shouting from the rooftop about your offers and products is trumped by helping the customers find a solution to what they are looking for. Marketing and positioning is transforming as these niche practices become more mainstream. Effective management of content and use of analytics for personalization & targeting are critical to not only touch consumers but also to invite them in. Consumers feel more confident and connected with the channel that guides them towards a decision that’s right for them. The direct outcome of this kind of engagement is higher profitability because you share the ownership of helping the consumer decide what is right for them. In addition, this approach amplifies the effect of the methods already employed to generate stickiness (mobile apps, loyalty cards etc.)
Branding and promotions are also about associating yourself with an attribute your segments care about. As you tackle this, use of effective data driven segmentation to clearly outline the levers you wish to influence are critical. At the base level, grocery store loyalty can be about habit & proximity, while for a department store, loyalty can be function of fit & price. But the act of connecting leverages, several other emotional factors that make up the consumers identity. Factors such as being ecofriendly, being more contemporary or just being oneself, are critical to identify and apply. And applying them systematically and granularly is the key to consumer engagement.
The above strategies apply broadly to all businesses but are especially critical for retail, i.e. stores, banks, restaurants or any consumer facing business. Consumer engagement is being tackled on many fronts – great stores, good looking website, more capable mobile app, better inventory control, more commerce options, excellent service, multi-channel interaction, several payment options and the list goes on. Partnership and connect will bring all those efforts to fruition.
Consumers today are being presented with several options for every need. To succeed, retail must move beyond promotions around consumer brands. They must enter the realm of direct consumer trust and partnership.