From Disconnected to Connected: Taking In-Store Shoppers Online
From their phone app to the store aisle, today’s connected consumers expect seamless experiences that unify their buying journeys across every channel they choose. In this blog series, we’re exploring how an omni-channel customer engagement strategy can successfully drive revenue and satisfaction in practice—this week, by discovering how retailers can take in-store customers online.
In the first installment of this series, we focused on an omni-channel customer engagement strategy to bring online customers in-store, simultaneously driving sales and satisfaction. This week, we’re flipping our focus, exploring why and how retailers should also aim to drive their in-store customers online.
Encouraging in-store shoppers to explore online options presents retailers with critical opportunities to gain more actionable insight into their shopping habits, while also creating more chances to drive them back in-store in increasingly targeted ways. In fact, online shopper data can help retailers solve their top customer engagement issues — 67% of surveyed U.S. retailers say they lack customer analytics across channels, 45% report poor data quality, and 45% are also unable to identify customers from shopping trip to shopping trip. Let’s walk through an example of how retailers can drive customers online, and use their data to deliver superior customer engagement once they get there.
Jessica is shopping in a local boutique to find some new clothes for an upcoming vacation. At checkout, she provides her email address to the clerk to sign up for store rewards points.
Collecting email addresses or phone numbers is common tactic retailers use to push in-store customers online, as is asking them to complete a digital survey for additional offers, or to set up an account for a shopping rewards program. If the retailer has an intelligent Customer Engagement Hub (CEH ) then it can be equipped with proper omni-channel customer engagement and personalization capabilities. In this case, the boutique’s CEH will register Jessica’s in-store activities as the start of a new potential buying journey.
Within a few days, Jessica receives an email from the boutique with more clothing and accessories she may be interested in, based on her most recent in-store purchase. When a certain top catches her eye, she clicks on the image.
Having gained a way to contact the customer digitally, the boutique engages with Jessica on a new channel—in this case, email—in an attempt to prolong her buying journey. Filled with products selected by the CEH’s ML model to relate to Jessica’s most recent in-store purchases, the aim of this personalized, targeted email is to inspire further online engagement.
Now on the boutique’s website, Jessica views the top. While she’s examining it, she receives a message on her screen: “Welcome, Jessica! Receive double the rewards points when you make your very first online purchase.” Intrigued by the prospect of earning points, Jessica decides to browse a bit more before making her final selection.
Now that Jessica has landed on the site and is browsing through products, the boutique’s CEH is strategically trying to drive purchase by offering loyalty points; this is a strong tactic to drive customer engagement and sales in first-time visitors, especially those who—like Jessica—have just started their reward program. In the meantime, Jessica’s online browsing patterns are collected and stored as insight for future engagement.
After browsing the online selection, Jessica settles on a pair of sandals and checks out for the extra reward points. She chooses in-store pick-up to ensure she can get the shoes before she leaves on her trip. The next day, when she arrives to receive her order, Jessica’s phone buzzes with a new notification: “Jessica: Your order is waiting for you at the counter! Don’t forget your new rewards points.”
The delivery of this message was made possible by two insights—the CEH’s knowledge of Jessica’s recent online activity, and input from the store’s Wi-Fi beaconing technology that registers the in-store connection from Jessica’s smartphone to determine her location. By reminding her of the newly-earned points she has yet to redeem, the CEH is further extending Jessica’s journey, which has migrated from the store, to the website, and now back into the store.
Reminded of her new rewards balance, Jessica looks around the boutique before grabbing her order. She finds the top she viewed online yesterday, and—rewards points in mind—she heads to the checkout counter to get her order and complete another transaction.
This level of sophisticated, intelligent, omni-channel customer engagement satisfies shoppers with seamless experiences that deliver exactly what they want, exactly when they want it—and they allow retailers to leverage additional online data to supplement and optimize in-store experiences.