Building cross-channel communication experience for customer retention
Recently, technology– and especially the evolution of Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) solutions and predictive techniques – has offered marketers the opportunity to communicate with customers across channels, delivering messages that are relevant and immediate. Additionally, retailers are more successful in winning shoppers’ attention when they deliver personalised messages that reflects shoppers’ interests, through the communication channel that best suits them, and at the most opportune moment. Retailers will do still better when they offer near-immediate responses, and stand out through distinctiveness, interactivity and agility. Indeed, adapting real-time communication to context and situational factors, such as location or device, will drive interest and engagement.
The result of this cross-channel communication should be a continuous, seamless experience where design, branding and tone of voice stay consistent. Messages and content spread through different channels should reinforce and complement each other, to build confidence and brand trust.
There are technical, marketing and legal challenges to creating an experience in which shoppers engage with the retailer as they move freely between the store, the website, email and SMS communications. Among the technical challenges, the choice of the right technologies and their integration are prerequisites. Having a single view of the customer is vital, while implementing automation is compulsory to deliver messages at the most relevant moment in the shopping journey. The challenge for marketers is to understand how the customer approaches the shopping journey. Through ethnographic research, retailers can learn how and when their customers use different devices and channels. This, in turn, can help retailers identify ‘micro-moments’ to leverage in communications. These micro-moments can then be mapped to shape cross-channel consumer journeys, and moments of truth can be leveraged to automate communication in real-time. Marketers can then track and analyse performance – by campaign, channel, segment, individual – to understand where improvements can best be made. One last challenge is legal. With the evolving European legislation around data protection and privacy, the right balance must be found between customer profile enrichment and reasonable data exploitation.
In a context of ad saturation, retailers must work harder to keep the customer engaged with the brand. The ambition of cross-channel communication is to boost customer satisfaction, increase retention and raise profitability. By increasing the relevance of their communications, marketers increase the probability that shoppers will not only re-buy, but will then go on to enhance a retailer’s reputation through positive word of mouth and user-generated content. Make no mistake, the seamless customer experience is a real challenge, and cross-channel communication should be accompanied by organisational changes to break internal silos. All of this is taking us towards a future in which cross-channel communication is managed holistically, and integrates ecommerce, marketing, sales and service, connecting the online and the offline.
A leading global commerce service provider, PFS enables brand and specialty retailers to achieve their commerce goals. As an ecommerce solutions provider, we combine consulting, agency, technology and operations to deliver unique and branded customer experiences, creating Commerce Without Compromise. Learn more about our solutions at www.pfsweb.com
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