72% of executives admit that companies are more profitable if they focus on building loyalty from their old customers, rather than attracting new ones . This is indicated by the study Barometer of loyalty , carried out by IE University and InLoyalty. The difference between both approaches is in the shopping experience that each company provides.
Why are you not managing to retain your customers?
According to the same study cited above, most companies allocate 60% of their investment in marketing towards customer attraction efforts, not loyalty. However, attracting new customers is less commercially effective than building loyalty.
A loyal customer is a multiplier of the brand’s voice . In addition, although he does not usually make large purchases, he does make them constantly. On the other hand, a new customer who is not loyal will make very sporadic purchases, at the same time that he will also be a customer of the competition.
In this sense, although managers are aware of the importance of loyalty, there are two main reasons why retailers fail to successfully retain loyalty:
- They are not investing in loyalty strategies
- They are not offering an effective shopping experience
As long as retailers don’t invest in improving touch points or fixing friction points, they can never provide a loyal experience.
Challenges to achieve loyalty in the retail sector
In this era of Industry 4.0, consumers have radically changed their habits. In fact, 1 in 3 Spaniards order food at home online, according to the Nielsen Connected Commerce report .
Therefore, retailers must also change their loyalty processes in order to adapt to the new landscape. However, achieving loyalty today presents several challenges for brands. Such as:
- The rise and positioning of e-commerce.
- Customers who prefer diversity over brand attachment.
- Consumers increasingly demanding of products, services and content.
- Users better informed about other brands thanks to the internet.
- Large companies that allocate enough money to omnichannel campaigns through social networks, mobile applications, web pages, augmented reality, among others.
The good news is that all of these challenges can be overcome in one way: by improving the shopping experience. Although for this, retailers must dedicate great efforts to knowing their customers in depth, much better than before.
The latter would be, in itself, the greatest challenge of all.
Importance of the shopping experience to achieve loyalty
Today, customers can shop anywhere, anytime, and by any means. That is why 90% of brands are focusing their marketing campaigns on the needs of users. This is indicated by the 2019 B2B Content Marketing Research study by CMI.
So what can a brand do to differentiate itself from its competition? The answer is in the purchase process itself.
It’s not about spending more on advertising, bombarding with emails, or offering the same old discounts. This may serve to attract new customers, but not to retain them.
People will come back with the same brand over and over again not for the deals (which they can get elsewhere as well), but for a shopping experience that makes them feel special, speeds up their time, and provides solutions to their needs.
When a brand provides experiences with these characteristics, it will be generating an emotional connection from its customers. This connection is the basis of loyalty.
How to provide a high impact shopping experience?
To provide a high-impact shopping experience, retailers must connect emotionally with their users. This is only possible if they invest in the necessary mechanisms (such as big data) to get to know their customers in depth and thus discover what excites them. As explained by The Boston Consulting Group.
In this sense, there are two keys to providing an effective experience: 1) knowing customers and 2) connecting emotionally with them.
How to get to know your customers to give them a better shopping experience?
Knowing your customers in depth prevents common mistakes in loyalty programs , and helps develop a high-impact shopping experience.
In this sense, it is necessary to apply techniques to capture and process informative data about customers. Some of them are digitization and big data.
The digitization of a retail is key to obtain as much data as possible about its customers. It is not about knowing only your basic information, but about discovering your consumption habits, preferences, needs and other factors that influence your purchasing decisions.
Forms on web pages and APPs, surveys, email marketing campaigns or requests for data at Point of Sale by digital means are good ways to get to know customers.
However, users should be motivated to give information about themselves. Therefore, retailers must give them something in return, such as:
- Redeemable points
- Free samples
- Returns at no cost
- Custom promotions
- Invitations to events
The data obtained from customers has no value if they are not processed correctly. This is where big data takes center stage. Technique that transforms disorganized data into useful and valuable information for making strategic decisions.
Among the contributions of big data for loyalty strategies are:
- Centralize, organize and categorize the information of all customers.
- Lets find similarities and differences between them.
- Discover patterns in your consumption habits .
- Performs predictive analysis regarding leakage risks, demand forecasts, trends, among others.
Thanks to big data, deep customer segmentation can be carried out . This increases the possibility of offering them a high level of personalization in the shopping experiences, in the products and in the content. Thus fostering emotional connection on the part of customers.
How to connect emotionally through the shopping experience?
Customer-centric companies are the ones that dominate the market , as they provide a shopping experience capable of building emotional connections.
For this, it is necessary to understand what are the different types of clients that exist and what are the pain points that characterize them. Big data must provide that information.
Today, customers are no longer loyal to immediate benefits. These should be more durable and, above all, emotional.
A loyalty card that allows access to gift catalogs is better than a simple offer. Although invitations to VIP events of the brands are much more emotional and attractive benefits.
It is no longer about the customer wanting something tangible from the brand, but rather wanting to be part of it .
Retailers must then leverage all possible technologies and means to optimize their customer management and make their shopping experiences more emotional. This through personalization in both customer service and advertising, promotions, recommendations and valuable content.
A customer who buys a pot set can receive a food area discount that no other customer would receive. As well as an email with cooking tutorials or product care recommendations.
Shopping experience + technology = loyalty
Data management is the backbone of any successful loyalty strategy. Business intelligence, to optimize internal management, and big data, to better understand and approach customers , are two areas that, with the support of machine learning, allow the development of an unforgettable shopping experience.
However, implementing these technologies requires highly trained professionals to ensure success in the processes.