We live in an omnichannel world where consumers use multiple channels to access information or interact with a brand. So it’s no surprise that consumers today expect seamless experiences across every touchpoint, whether it’s online, through an app, social media, over the phone or in a brick-and-mortar store. However, regardless of where consumers are, consistent messaging and brand identity is key to keeping a seamless experience across all channels.
With the cost of living continuing to rise, Australian retailers are under more pressure than ever to retain customers who are feeling the financial squeeze. As a result, retailers must embrace omnichannel personalisation to not only meet, but exceed, the expectations of customers. In fact, customers that engage with three or more channels are more likely to buy 250% more frequently than those that engage with a single channel only. So how can retailers unlock the full potential of omnichannel personalisation to stay competitive?
Deliver personalisation at scale
Gone are the days when brands can offer a one-size-fits-all approach to connecting and engaging with a consumer. Today, the retailers who stand out and are able to connect with customers on a deeper, more personal level are the ones who offer personalised experiences across every touchpoint. So, how can retailers personalise at scale?
Personalising the customer experience effectively across multiple channels is challenging but not impossible. To make it easier, retailers must leverage artificial intelligence (AI). Leveraging AI capabilities helps retailers to power personalisation at scale by using data-driven insights that help to outperform competitors. With consumers today expecting personalised experiences across every channel, retailers must tailor the customer experience by collecting and analysing customer data effectively.
To scale personalisation effectively with AI, it’s important for retailers to identify the key touchpoints of the customer journey that would benefit from AI capabilities. For example, as part of this process, retailers must conduct data inventory to identify the key areas of opportunity for the business; this could include creating a comprehensive list of data assets to get insight into the types of data being used by the business, who has access to it and where it is stored. By identifying the key areas to leverage AI, retailers will be able to effectively offload automation for scale, saving valuable time and resources. By doing so, retailers can tailor the customer experience to the needs of a specific individual, allowing more personalisation, a better experience, while increasing customer loyalty.
Harmonise data across all channels
Used correctly, customer data is a retailers best friend. To effectively personalise the customer experience across all channels, retailers must unify consumer data using customer data platforms (CDP). CDP’s are tools that capture, store and create customer profiles, allowing retailers to see what customers are doing on their platforms. With retailers inundated with data, CDPs are the most efficient and robust way to keep track of the large amounts of data that is constantly accumulating, while also eliminating ambiguity when it comes to leveraging data to make confident decisions.
Notably, CDP segments customer data into groups for easy access and evaluation, allowing retailers to create and update consumer profiles based on real-time data. Since the omnichannel experience is all about consistent messaging, branding and interaction across multiple channels, retailers that leverage CDP capabilities can gather enough information about the individual to adopt a unified view of the customer. This means retailers can better understand the customers and will be able to personalise the experience strategically across multiple channels.
To unlock the full potential of omnichannel personalisation, retailers must prioritise experimentation to see what performs best and leads to better conversations and sales. Success in the digital world relies heavily on providing teams with the freedoms to test theories and learn and grow. This means retailers that build a culture of continuous learning, with a constant feedback loop, can ensure employees aren’t afraid to embrace experimentation and remain agile.
The Country Road Group, one of Australia’s largest retail groups, continues to transform the digital experience for customers by experimenting and finding better ways to test ideas. For example, the retail group experimented on its websites by moving the “add to bag” button above the product copy. By doing so, it noticed a 19 per cent rise in clicks to “add to wishlist,” ultimately leading to an increase in complete purchase conversions. Due to these results, the company continues to add value to the business by experimenting and using a data-led approach to improve the digital experience of customers across multiple channels.
With more consumers shopping online than ever, retailers must build agility into their business and leverage the right technologies to remain competitive. By using technologies to help understand customer behaviour and tailor digital experiences, retailers can unlock the power of omnichannel personalisation to create better customer experiences and stay ahead of the competition during uncertain times.
Nicola Ayan is director of technology and growth at Optimizely.