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Comment: Put the focus on customer loyalty

Customers may know who you are, but do you know them?

As we enter a particularly difficult time for the industry, it is more important than ever for retailers to get to know their customers. It all starts with the basics. Think about it from their perspective: as news around retail often crops up in mainstream media, consumers know that the high street is struggling, yet online shopping is thriving.

Increasingly, they expect a more personalised experience that goes beyond simply making suggestions based on previous behaviour. 

Customers may know who you are, but do you know them?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are hot topics, and we are seeing technology impact on our everyday lives in many new and exciting ways. Retailers need to keep up with emerging tech trends if they want to turn a profit. Thsi is already happening in store with self-service checkouts, and it is no different for online platforms. Tech-savvy customers want quick checkout pages, immediate payments and faster delivery.

Retailers must implement a more personalised approach. Creating a more tailored offering will help build better relationships with customers. Whether it’s a simple banner offering free next-day delivery for new website visitors, or a location-based suggestion for mobile users, it shows the customer you understand them as a shopper, and want to make the experience the best it can be.

Often, the act of being relevant is itself enough to encourage greater loyalty, but to further build loyalty, retailers can use special offers, reward schemes or unique discount codes so that you become their go-to retailer when making a purchase.

Swipe for more

Boden is an example of a brand doing this effectively, the retailer has personalised its customer experience based on a customer’s language as well as their browsing and purchase history. Additionally, Boden added product page recommendations, that suggest relevant products after a visitor has added an item to their online bag. In the UK, Boden increased average order values by 7% when recommending girls’ accessories if a visitor added a girls’ product to their basket.

Boden swipe for more

Boden swipe for more

Boden also prioritised improving its mobile experience, testing a “swipe for more” prompt. This test resulted in a significant uplift in add-to-basket rates.

Devising an integrated cross-channel approach to ensure a more seamless shopping experience should be a priority this year. Customers are shopping on the smartphone more than ever before, thanks to their bigger screens and improved connectivity. Many customers browse on the go but make a purchase later on a desktop, as it is considered more reliable.

One in five shoppers completes purchases more than seven hours after first visiting a site. The shopper expects to pick up where they left off. Retailers therefore need to take advantage of new technology that makes the process quicker, easier, more accurate and seamless. 

There is huge pressure to perform and more attention on where budget should be invested. Every penny counts more than ever before. Really drilling down to provide each customer with a one-to-one experience will be worth the initial spend. To truly maximise return on investment there must be a heavy focus on turning each customer from shopper to advocate, who will continue to make purchases over and over again.

Simon Farthing is director of strategy and insights at Monetate

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