How Brands Can Personalize the Online-to-Offline Consumer Experience
Today’s consumers expect personalized shopping experiences, both online and offline. In fact, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use their information to personalize shopping experiences. Brands that provide personalized experiences can see sharp increases in the efficiency of their marketing.
Harvard Business Review Found Personalization Leads to:
- 50% reduction in customer acquisition costs
- 5-15% increase in revenue
- 10-30% increase in efficiency of marketing spend
Personalization is effective because it allows brands to cut through the white noise and speak directly to each consumer. Your brand gets to stay relevant in the eyes of the consumer, and your consumer gets a tailored experience – even across channels. This mutually beneficial approach to the consumer-brand relationship can facilitate deeper brand affinity and, ultimately, drive more sales and returning customers. It’s important to understand the value of seamless online-to-offline transitions and how to deliver at every touch point.
Mobile Shoppers Convert In-Store and on the Phone
One of the most highly-convertible channels is mobile. These shoppers sometimes convert online, but they have particularly high conversion rates in-store and on the phone.
According to Google, Mobile Shoppers Are:
- 57% more likely to visit a store
- 39% more likely to call a business
- 51% more likely to make a purchase
Studies also show that 78% of mobile shoppers make a purchase within a day of making a mobile search, and 50% visit a store. In 2019, mobile searches are expected to drive more than 60 billion calls to businesses.
For shoppers who are making the transition from a mobile search to an in-store visit or phone call, a consistent and positive consumer experience is vital to winning their business. Brands and marketers can take steps to ensure the online-to-offline transition is seamless, resulting in higher conversion rates and more sales.
Personalize the In-Store Experience
You can use customers’ in-store visits to build relationships and brand affinity. Knowing why your customers come to your stores could be the first step to unlocking the puzzle of how to better personalize their visit. Customers often visit because there’s a connection available in-store that is not available online. This could range from the friendliness of your associates to the touch-and-feel reward of seeing merchandise before they purchase. There are many ways to ensure customers have an in-store experience that makes them feel like a part of your brand.
Invest in In-Store Technology
Brands can more fully understand how shoppers are interacting with the brick-and-mortar environment with the help of in-store digital beacons. With beacons, brands can interact with consumers via their mobile device using a type of Bluetooth connection. This allows marketers to do things like serve shoppers location-personalized ads, gauge customer loyalty, and analyze the type of marketing content that lands shoppers in-store. 400 million beacons are expected to be in use globally by 2020.
A helpful, well-informed staff is another important component of a successful in-store shopping experience. More than 50% of shoppers say seeing store associates using mobile devices increases their confidence that store employees will provide knowledgeable assistance and prompt service. You should equip your staff with devices that make information quickly and easily accessible.
Self-service kiosks can also help make shopping seamless and free up associates to help customers who prefer a more traditional experience. These kiosks allow customers to look up inventory, perform check-out transactions, and even shop online while in-store.
Empower Store Associates
54% of millennial shoppers feel that store associates do not have the tools they need to deliver great customer service. Additionally, more than 50% of store associates surveyed admitted to lying to customers because they lacked product knowledge. Brands can help ensure a better consumer experience by designing and providing exceptional training for customer-facing store associates so that shoppers feel confident in the service being provided in-store. It’s also important that your brand’s recruiting team is armed with a firm knowledge of brand values and uses those as indicators of culture fit for new hires.
Make Shopping an Experience
Experiential retail is now its own form of marketing. By hosting events that provide immersive, meaningful, and true-to-brand experiences, marketers can connect more fully with customers.
Host in-store events tailored to your customers’ interests. Invite customers on a “VIP” list for special sales and events that reflect your brand but offer a fresh take on the traditional in-store visit. For example, IKEA hosted a sleepover in its Essex warehouse for fans who won a Facebook challenge.
Apple has branded its experiential retail program as “Today at Apple.” Apple store visitors can take classes, attend concerts, and participate in group discussions all within the retail space.
Personalize the Caller Experience
Consumers who call your business from ads or your website want a seamless transition that places them with the brand representative who can deliver the best service. Callers may become disgruntled if confronted with a negative call experience. By collecting caller data, marketers can provide those rewarding caller experiences and convert more leads into customers.
Route Callers Optimally to Close More Sales
When consumers call they expect immediate, relevant assistance. It’s important to connect them quickly to the right agent or location. To do it, marketers are using call analytics data – including the keyword and webpage the person called from, their location and history, and the day and time of the call – to automatically route each caller to the best location or agent for them.
Prioritize Your Most Valuable Callers
Callers hate to wait on hold. If you have certain ads, keywords, web pages, or other sources with a proven track record of generating high-converting leads, which you can determine from your call analytics reports, make sure those callers get answered right away. Have them “jump the line” by sending them to a priority queue for high-value callers where an agent can assist them immediately.
Pass Insights on Callers to Agents or Locations
When calls come in, many marketers are now passing information on the caller and marketing source that drove the call (channel, ad, keyword, etc) to their agents before they start the call. By knowing a caller’s online activity before a call, agents can better anticipate caller needs, deliver a seamless online-to-offline experience, and tailor the conversation to win the customer.
Today’s consumers don’t see fragmented channels, they see your brand as a whole. For that reason, they expect high-quality shopping experiences and seamless transitions from online to offline and back again. And today’s marketers must take responsibility for the entire consumer experience.
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