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Take risks to stay ahead

Grant Coleman, VP & Market Director – UK, SC, MEA at Emarsys, considers how retailers can better serve mobile-first customers

To what extent is changing consumer behaviour driving change within customer service?

“If there is one item or piece of technology that has become an extension of ourselves, it is the smartphone. Our attachment to these personal devices continues to grow on both a social and working level, with eMarketer recently reporting that smartphone use now eclipses time spent on desktops. Their ability to help brands reach us one-on-one, and provide a personalised experience, is transforming customer service. There has been huge innovation in the retail space to capitalise on this, from timely notifications that seamlessly integrate with omnichannel data and native product recommendations to in-app messaging and in-store augmented reality. Retailers that prioritise their mobile marketing strategy will be the ones to win over consumers on a more personal level, taking loyalty to a new level.”

What can retailers do to get on the front foot here?

“We’re living in a fast-paced world where consumers’ attention spans are shortening, retailers need to keep up with changes in the way people engage on their mobiles. For example, while there’s been much excitement around buying potential across different channels such as Instagram, we’re also beginning to see SMS marketing re-emerge a big way. Despite it being more expensive, brands are seeing results. Consumers’ ever-changing behaviour means retailers need to be prepared to step outside their comfort zone, and take risks with new channels and approaches.”

How do retailers best balance different behaviour amongst different demographics within their overall customer base?

“In the age of individualism, each customer interaction must be truly personal. This means thinking beyond broad demographics and understanding actual customer segments based on their behaviours and preferences. Advanced machine learning capabilities can help brands to achieve this, by leveraging existing customer data more effectively and adding personal insights to their campaigns. The focus should be less on sending the same ads to everyone, and more on adopting a smart, targeted approach, delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.”

How important will the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) here be in the years ahead?

“In the years (and months) ahead, AI will be a key tool for retailers seeking to make the most of budgets, improving both the efficiency and creativity of campaigns. One example of a brand doing this well is discount designer e-tailer BrandAlley, which achieved more than 40% year-on-year order growth after choosing the Emarsys Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled platform to support its marketing strategy. Using the Emarsys platform to leverage existing data more effectively from its CRM systems, BrandAlley has improved personalisation through more effective omnichannel campaigns and reshaped its entire acquisition and retention advertising strategy over social media. We will see more and more brands embracing AI to differentiate themselves, wow audiences and drive engagement.”

Emarsys in brief

Date launched: 2000.

Global reach: 17 global office locations, serving more than 2,000 clients in 140 countries.

Customers: eBay, Toys ‘R’ Us, Nike, Canon, Volvo, American Express and L’Oréal.
Employees: more than 700.

Contact: for further information contact Emarsys via,, or

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