What other industries can learn from the retail market
The retail sector has been subject to a huge change in recent years. It has long been insufficient to only address customers online or in retail stores. Consumers today are out and about on many channels and the customer journey is no longer linear or predictable by brands. In addition, they have almost unlimited access to products, product information, and reviews. Customers must therefore be addressed on the right channel, at the right time, with the right message or the right offer. Mobile channels such as smartphones, are of vital importance nowadays.
A study by Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands has also shown that digital campaigns have various impacts. The do not only generate direct revenue in e‑commerce, but also drive foot traffic. In addition, the impact of a campaign does not end at the front door of the business. 71 percent of the customers who use smartphones to research in the shops believe that the smartphone has become an important part of their experience, the customer experience. Mobile devices are therefore increasingly personal shopping companions. The retail market is rapidly adjusting to this development and the digital transformation is already well advanced in this sector.
It has been found that cross-channel marketing in the retail business is a strategic competitive advantage nowadays. A study by International Data Corporation (IDC) brought to light, that customers who shop in stores as well as online are especially valuable for a company. They stay loyal to a brand 30 percent longer than the customers who exclusively shop on one channel.
Digital Transformation — Retail first, who’s next?
The Digital Transformation has fundamentally changed the retail sector throughout the last couple of years. New business models, payment methods as well as new ways to interact and stay in touch with customers, whether on- or offline, have occurred. What does this mean for other industries? In the recent study “Survival through Digital Leadership” Deloitte Digital and Heads! assume that within the next three years the majority of verticals will be captured by the digital transformation. From consumer oriented sectors like media, telecommunications and finance to verticals such as manufacturing, healthcare and logistics. And the transformation is not a cakewalk. It requires substantial investment, skilled staff and especially time. Between two and five years are estimated for a digital transformation process.
Retail Best Practice — Success factors for Cross-Channel Marketing
So what can other industries learn from the digital transformation in retail business? First of all it is important to take the changing consumer behavior into account. Companies must reinvent themselves and develop marketing strategies to better engage their customers in meaningful conversations on any device, touchpoint or channel. Focusing on the customer lifecycle and maintaining consistency will result in better experiences throughout the whole customer journey. Secondly to be able to deliver on these new strategies, Marketers require a full 360-degree view of the customer. Forrester believes that, these days, only 12 percent of business data is used for analysis. Customers want personalised messages and offers, they root for companies to use data in a more innovative and personal way. Leading retail brand Sephora for example is consolidating data from all touch points and assesses the results in real-time. Therefore the brand is able to drill down into its marketing data mart to compile sophisticated segmentations using each customer’s unique transactional history gathered from various interaction points. And last but not least, to deliver meaningful and contextual experiences, brands need to ensure that initially the right content is created and that it is executed at the right time, on the right channel. An interesting and inspiring content as well as the optimisation of each message for each device are essential ingredients for a meaningful “customer experience”. Let’s take a look at a real-life example.
Example L’Occitane — The digital transformation has already paid off.
A brand that has set up early in cross-channel marketing is the cosmetics producer L’Occitane. The company identified customer data as a main field for marketing development. With Adobe Campaign the brand created a 360-degree view of its customers. This puts the company in the position to better coordinate its online and offline marketing and create more effective and personalised campaigns. Result is a one-to-one relationship with each customer, optimising every buying experience and maximising lifetime purchases.
This comprehensive view of each customer also includes correct addresses, birthdays, preferred communication methods, and much more. L’Occitane is now able to deliver best-in class cross-channel messaging, that coordinates email, SMS, point of sale and direct mail within a single solution. The company also relies on the solution to manage transactional messages, such as delivering order confirmations after customers purchase products. Across every touchpoint of the customer lifecycle, L’Occitane creates value and intimacy. Every message, offer and interaction occurs in the right context and through the ideal channel. If customers prefer the direct mail channel for example, the brand would use this method of communication. If not, Adobe Campaign would automatically send out an email.
So what are the benefits for L’Occitane in cross-channel Marketing? Enabling the brand to orchestrate campaigns on all relevant channels and to make offers to customers on a local or regional basis, resulted in positive returns. In Germany for example, multi-buyer purchase frequency has increased by 18.5%. On a global basis revenues from email campaigns increased by 40% in some countries, while returns on direct-mail campaigns grow by as much as 4%. In general, email outreach is paying off better than ever, with a double-digit increase in e‑commerce revenues through email personalisation. So for L’Occitane, the digital transformation has already paid off.
Connected Experiences — Where the journey is heading
In todays world, customers are always “on” and have higher expectations on personalised, one-to-one dialogues with brands than ever before. Marketers need to ensure relevant, consistent and effective communications. In a connected world this leads to the need to create connected experiences — contextual, highly relevant and in real-time.
A recent example of connected experiences is the Amazon “Dash” button, which is initially available for premium customers in the US. The device will be attached to a household device, like a washing machine and is connected to the Wi-Fi network and Amazon App. If an Amazon customer would run out of detergent for example, he or she would just push the dash button to order. This really leads to smart replenishment – when you need it, just push the button.
In near future customers also expect entirely new shopping experiences. With augmented or virtual reality, there are many opportunities for retailers. Through cloud applications, in-store displays or data glasses, the customer will instantaneously be brought into the universe of a brand: one might access a wider range of offerings or develop their own design, tailored to their needs.
As highlighted before the world of retail and e‑commerce has been revolutionised. And digital transformation is changing the game for many other verticals right now. With cross-channel marketing brands have the right approach to orchestrate bidirectional communications through each available channel – whether this is email, website, SMS, direct mail, social media, mobile app, point of sale, call center, or emerging channels out of the Internet of Things. Marketers need to create experiences throughout the whole customer lifecycle and each message and offer needs to be relevant, contextual and often in real-time. This ensures consistency and engagement in a connected world. Are you prepared for the digital transformation? And how does your campaign management stack up?