How Digital Disruption Has Transformed the Holidays

Customer Experience

As the hol­i­day sea­son approach­es, and thoughts turn to par­ties and hol­i­days and spend­ing time with fam­i­ly and loved ones, I like to find time to reflect on the year that has just passed, and all the things that have caught my atten­tion at work and in con­ver­sa­tion with col­leagues and cus­tomers.

It’s also impor­tant to remem­ber that although we’re mar­keters, we’re also consumers—and this is par­tic­u­lar­ly clear when it comes to online shop­ping and the dis­rup­tion it has caused to tra­di­tion­al retail­ers.

Gone are the days of pan­ic buy­ing from the High Street on Christ­mas Eve—I can remem­ber a par­tic­u­lar­ly fraught day spent chas­ing down a Christ­mas pud­ding in Lon­don many years ago. Now even from Fort­num & Mason, one of the most icon­ic and tra­di­tion­al British retail­ers, will send a ham­per or a Christ­mas pud­ding on your behalf to any­where in the world—and you can order it from the com­fort of your home.

This got me think­ing about how com­pa­nies are hav­ing to evolve to keep up with the pace of change.

Everyone’s beg­ging for an adap­tive app.
When I was young, it seems like there was one big gift for Christ­mas every year—a toy every child want­ed, because it promised an excit­ing expe­ri­ence we’d nev­er had before. It wasn’t so long ago that brand­ed mobile apps were lit­tle more than fun toys, but this year, they’ve leapt into the spot­light to become dri­vers of all sorts of per­son­alised expe­ri­ences.

The lat­est apps are less like toys and more like smart ser­vices, pro­vid­ing users with rel­e­vant con­tent and per­son­alised alerts that recog­nise and adapt to their needs on the fly. Retail­ers are using apps to serve dynam­ic indi­vid­u­alised expe­ri­ences to cus­tomers, to gath­er rich behav­iour­al data, and even to work with oth­er data sources to help opti­mise the over­all cus­tomer jour­ney.

Per­son­al recog­ni­tion isn’t just one-on-one any­more.

Back in the days of shop­ping on the High Street—or in your own vil­lage —many local shop­keep­ers would know you by sight, and would rec­om­mend prod­ucts you’d find use­ful: “Shop­ping for a day at the beach? Here’s some sun­screen!” “Like those red shoes? I’ve got a dress to match!”

But in today’s world of large-scope mar­ket­ing, we’ve have had to scale up our efforts, build­ing cus­tomer pro­files that use loca­tion data, past pur­chas­es, and even com­mu­ni­ca­tions with oth­er depart­ments to help us recog­nise thou­sands or even mil­lions of vis­i­tors as if they were old friends. Still, one impor­tant thing hasn’t changed: the more com­pa­nies inter­act with each cus­tomer, the bet­ter they can learn what that cus­tomer will be look­ing to buy next week.

Chan­nels have begun to work togeth­er in har­mo­ny.

You can’t cel­e­brate the hol­i­days with­out get­ting the fam­i­ly togeth­er. And you can’t run a cut­ting-edge mar­ket­ing cam­paign with­out using each chan­nel to sup­port the oth­ers. Retail­ers that’ve begun to use chan­nels togeth­er, instead of as sep­a­rate tools, have found that they’ve been able to cross-sell and up-sell like nev­er before, no mat­ter when, where, or how they inter­act with a cus­tomer.

From apps to web, from gam­ing con­soles to the Inter­net of Things (IoT), every chan­nel grows in pow­er when it works with the oth­ers in har­mo­ny, cre­at­ing a seam­less mes­sage that spans every touch­point. By bring­ing data and con­tent togeth­er across all chan­nels, mar­keters are dis­cov­er­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that would scarce­ly have been imag­in­able just a few short years ago.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the jour­neys we’ve tak­en on the Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Blog over the past year. We’re already plan­ning a lot of excit­ing con­tent for 2017, so stay tuned. This hol­i­day sea­son is just a short break before the start of a fast-paced new year—and I, for one, can hard­ly wait to get start­ed.

Customer Experience
Jamie Brighton

Posted on 12-21-2016

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