the ultimate marketing boost for retailers
Personalized Experiences: This is the future of the retail industry, especially given the COVID-19 emergency period we live in. The path to personalization is through digital transformation. We will see how in this post.
After the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a year ago, the world is not the same. The way we live has drastically changed, the way we socialize has changed, the how we work has changed, even school (with distance learning) and how we manage our free time changed. But that’s not all.
The impact on the global economic system and on all productive sectors has been profound, even if it is not homogeneously. In short: everything has changed.
Unfortunately, we are still in the emergency phase, even if the first lights at the end of the tunnel are starting to emerge, thanks to the efforts of the scientific community and the individuals who take responsibility for it. There is still a long way to go, however.
Yes, we are still in an emergency situation. But businesses, especially those on the marketing side, are called upon to look to the future. Always.
Things have changed, it’s true. But not all of the changes have been negative. This unprecedented crisis has also shown new opportunities and new opportunities; he did trends that were already moving, perhaps more quietly, emerge with even more force, finally blowing them up.
We are talking about possibilities which are all, in one way or another, related to the larger trend of Digital transformation.
Particularly rich and fruitful possibilities, in particular on the marketing side. Opportunities which also and above all concern the world of retail trade, which more than other industries has suffered a strong impact in this complicated period.
The new must-haves in retail marketing
The future of retail, from so-called “neighborhood stores” to large chains, hinges on an imperative: personalized experiences. In turn, this translates to a marketing and customer service mix that combines the “physical” and “digital” sides.
We wanted to sum it all up in a formula: proximity, reservations and, precisely, personalization.
The new proximity is that of the so-called “Proximity marketing.” It involves the ecosystem of smartphones and concerns the possibility of hybridize the experience in the physical store with the creation of digital touchpoints in or near stores, targeting increasingly specific targets, obtained from geolocation data, crossed with various data linked to individual preferences, habits and behaviors.
We are talking about tools that are becoming more efficient, more efficient and more appropriate every day.
The ultimate goal is to build a new model of both physical and digital customer journeys. And one side strengthens the other.
In our previous article we focused on the different types of proximity marketing, the enabling technologies, the huge benefits and opportunities, and we analyzed some successful examples.
The second element is Reservations.
This is something that, in these emergency phases, has become essential: it’s not just a matter of convenience anymore, In reality, but also health protection and compliance with anti-congestion regulations. Even so, however, we are talking about a trend that will not stop with the end of the emergency, but will continue to bear fruit.
For retailers, building a good reservation process, based on intelligent and judicious management of CRM systems, is useful for several reasons. Of course, this is improve customer experience… which in turn stimulates retention and loyalty. But that’s not all.
In digital reservation processes, there is opportunities for personalized dialogue with the client take advantage of presales opportunities, but also to implement upselling or cross-selling actions in an increasingly targeted and attractive way.
Now is the time to close the circle and focus on the last element, possibly the most important: customization.
The importance of ppersonalized experiences: what is personalization?
These new marketing elements for the retail world are closely related and have a very clear common root. Something very simple, but at the heart of the digital revolution: The data.
But let’s take a step back.
Since retail has been around, there is one thing that is more important than all the others: address customers by treating them like people, like individuals, taking care of them in a targeted way, because you know their characteristics… and you can therefore anticipate their desires.
It’s an experience we all know well: the best merchant is the one who knows who you are, who knows your tastes, who is not intrusive but is able to offer you new products that meet your expectations. The best trader treats you well, also because he knows you will come back and talk about his business with your friends. The benefits are therefore mutual: they affect both the retailer and the customer; and they are mutually reinforcing.
But how do you personalize the experiences in this great world of ours?
The solution again comes from digital. It’s called customization, and that’s what specialty companies like Doxee are.
As we have already underlined above, the starting point is that of what we call Big data (for the retail world, we prefer to talk “Smart data” or “Deep Data”, because it is not only a question of quantity, but above all of the quality of the information collected).
And where can we find this data? Almost everywhere.
We all leave a huge amount of “digital footprints” online all the time. When we use search engines, when we use navigation systems, when we post or express preferences on social networks (and in many, many other situations). Otherwise, with proximity marketing and geo-targeting systems, this information is multiplying. Also, and this is even more interesting, it becomes more and more precise, specific, dynamic and in real time.
So what should retailers do?
They need to collect this information. You need both quantity and quality. Marketers shouldanalyze and interpret this information in a way that is functional for their business (and here the most advanced analytics tools, and those of artificial intelligence and machine learning, come to the rescue).
At this point, they will have a very valuable asset in their hands: an overview of their clientele, real and potential.
Be careful though: it is a dynamic snapshot which tracks changes in behavior and habits over time. Also, and above all, it is a very high resolution snapshot, where you can point the magnifying glass and “zoom in”. This way you can segment your own audience into cohesive clusters, and you can go one step further: target the individual.
It is here, finally, that the individual dialogue begins, the truly personalized marketing, the intimate and interactive communication between the retailer and his customer.
In short: here is the oldest trade secret, transported into the digital world.
But what are the most effective means to carry out this new dialogue? What are the concrete tools? In the next section, which will close this article, we will see the most advanced approaches that can be exploited with significant results.
Custom microsites and custom videos
Personalized experiences are the future. Leveraging data to personalize the customer experience and communicate with them more fluidly and efficiently, build loyalty: this is the path that merchants must take to win the challenges of the future. But we have promised you something concrete. Now we want to talk about two precise tools with enormous potential that Doxee makes available to companies in the distribution sector.
The first is Doxee Pweb®: personalized micro-sites, designed according to the characteristics of the recipients, of their “data”, in fact. We are talking about a real revolution in the digital customer journey, which is no longer based on a universal platform, but on highly personalized processes, built from the CRM systems of the brands, according to a omnichannel perspective.
It is almost superfluous to stress the effectiveness of Pweb solutions in terms of commitment and conversion rate.
The second tool is Doxee Pvideo®: here we go to the front of personalized videos.
Again, the perspective is that of a perfectly one-on-one, interactive and intimate dialogue. A dialogue made powerful and effective by exploiting the video medium which is today the “king” of digital content in terms of dissemination and communicative effectiveness.
Retailers can build videos according to the characteristics of the recipients, insertion – for example – tailored calls to action, pop-ups for an in-depth analysis of the products or services, and targeted purchase or payment options. They can do all of this interactively, thanks to the UDS (User-driven storytelling), which transform the viewer into the real protagonist of the video.
Here is, in conclusion, where we are making the digital revolution: using the most advanced tools we are doing something very old: put our customers at the center, in new ways.
It is the future that we must start to build today, by innovating despite the difficulties and challenges we are currently facing.
Learn more about personalization! The webinar with a guest speaker from Forrester is now available on demand, so you can watch it for free, anytime!