The Future of Personalized Customer Engagement
As retailers attempt to earn a larger share of shoppers’ loyalty, trust, and revenue, they are discovering that a non-traditional approach to personalized customer engagement is required — an approach that tailors every experience to a customer’s real-time need.
Instead of relying solely on persona-based marketing and curated product recommendations, this incarnation of personalization harnesses the power of short-term user behavior for relevant real-time insights and unifies data into a single view across physical and digital channels.
The Traditional Approach to Customer Engagement
Most of today’s retailers rely on static personas and segments to target customers with “personalized” offers. This categorization is based solely on the historical analysis of long-term customer data. It does not account for fluctuating insights such as the customer’s recent channels, browsing patterns, or real-time shopping behavior.
As such, a traditional approach lacks the short-term data needed to ascertain a shopper’s current needs, which change from session to session in today’s fast-paced retail environment. It also lacks the unified framework required to act on these data insights and personalize the customer experience across channels.
The Next Generation of Personalized Customer Engagement
While still grounded in long-term customer insights, the next-gen personalization tools leverage customers’ short-term data, empowering retailers to react to individual buying intent in real-time.
Such personalized experiences are triggered by a shopper’s activity, such as store visits, products viewed, items added to cart, loyalty points, and more. Augmented with historical insights and environmental considerations (like time of day, current location, and local weather), this approach allows retailers to speak to customers’ real-time interests—from product pricing to availability, popularity, and shipping options—not just provide a product recommendation.
From Casual to Converted
Below are some personalized customer engagement strategies that are helping companies to successfully influence conversion by incentivizing shoppers based on:
If a customer has browsed a specific product for weeks without making a purchase, giving them a glimpse into the dwindling inventory of the item can be a very effective tactic to inspire a purchase. Messages like “Hurry, John! Only 2 left in stock,” add a sense of urgency to their current shopping experience while also demonstrating to would-be customers that this is a popular, fast-selling item worthy of their investment.
If a shopper’s browsing history reveals that they have been considering a product for some time without making a move to purchase, it may be time for a confidence boost. The potential customer is likely unsure of whether or not the item is right for their specific needs, or they may be stuck on the price. By delivering in-session customer engagement designed to enhance product confidence (“Jane, 12 people have purchased this item today!”) or price confidence (“Tim: You save 15% during our limited time offer on men’s shoes”), retailers can take slow-shopping customers over the finish line faster.
No one wants to miss out on a great deal—especially if they know exactly how long they have before it’s gone. When a visitor has added items to their cart but has not yet successfully transacted, gamifying the shopping experience with a countdown is a highly-effective tactic. Customer engagement like “Kyle, order in the next 10 minutes for $10 off” makes shoppers feel empowered to quickly take advantage of an unexpected discount—and empowers retailers to drive online conversion.
In addition to motivating shoppers based on factors like convenience, confidence, and urgency, next-gen personalization is also able to power omnichannel engagement. That’s because it unifies long- and short-term data from all sources and channels, then directs this collective insight to optimize any channel, creating differentiated experiences online, in-store, and across the physical and digital realms.