Personalisation is the next step in omni-channel

MoonsoonBusinesses, like shops, hotels and restaurants, are frequently advised by industry players to provide their customers with a seamless and consistent experience across all channels.

As a result, in this omni-channel and customer driven world, such demands are now becoming increasingly familiar from consumers too. For a ‘seamless experience’ is what today’s shoppers now expect and without out it, a business may not last until tomorrow.

By rising to this agenda retailers and the like are rewarded by a single view of their customers across all channels from e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, to mobile and social media. In turn, this single view actually makes things easier, because it brings with it knowledge and understanding about the customer, aka data. However, unfortunately right now more than half of all retailers (54%) fail to support a single view of the customer across channels, according to “omni-Channel 2013: the long road to adoption,” a report from rsr research. Which is a shame, as this data delivers personalisation, which is now also key to business-to-customer communications particularly surrounding promotions. A intuitive promotion is highly influential in attaining a new or repeat customer purchase, in fact 80% of consumers used retailer promotions when shopping during 2014, according to “the Black Friday Weekend Consumer shopping” infographic from NRF. Nabil Tabet, President Xccommerce, a cross channel promotion solutions provider, explains: “Retailers eager to reinforce and reward brand loyalty must make the implementation of cross channel complex promotions a key business priority. This will allow them to retain their existing customers, attract new customers, encourage repeat business, and incent customers to buy higher margin items.”

A combination of a sea of data that businesses don’t know how to or simple can’t handle, and old hat marketing techniques that rely on past promotions and gut instinct rather than fact, are failing to hit the mark in terms of consumer promotions. To overcome this, businesses need to invest in modern technology systems designed to manage multiple channels and provide analytical reports that can be turned into effective marketing campaigns. In the words of Steve Beir, director of retail strategy and product management at Crossview a global provider of commerce solutions, businesses “need to know and understand their customers. They need to create a seamless architecture to provide a single view of customers and orders.” In its road map – Next-Gen Promotions: Managing Big Data to Drive Personalisation, RIS describes that: “By moving toward more flexible platforms and applying next-generation promotional tools, retailers are in the prime position to create and execute more relevant communications designed to influence repeat visits, and ultimately, drive revenue to the bottom line”.

With the support of a modern promotions management system, a business can dive deep into customer preferences, to produce relevant and personalised campaigns. These campaigns can then go on to be delivered via targeted e-mails; banner ads that appear in e-mail inboxes and social media feeds activated by ‘follow me’ cookies; mobile apps; in-store kiosks; and Bluetooth-enabled beacons that recognise shoppers’ activated mobile devices.

Retailer, Monsoon Accessorize has put personalisation top of its agenda and is including personalised digital receipts within its multi-channel offering. The fashion store plans to send its customers, who opt for digital receipts, personalised emails containing their transaction data and additional personalised offers. As 90% of Monsoon Accessorize’s transactions take place in-store, the digital receipts aim to encourage customers to buy across channels.
Working with omnichannel platform RichRelevance and digital receipts provider eReceipts, Monsoon Accessorize will firstly analyse data from in-store and online transactions based on a variety of shopper metrics such as online behaviour and items in baskets as well as past purchases. This data will then be used in targeted emails containing complementary product offers. The technology will also benefit Monsoon’s own loyalty card scheme in a similar way. A Monsoon spokesman said: “While relevant and targeted offers have been common place for online customers, the development of our multichannel emailed receipts solution marks a significant industry first and ensures our customers will benefit from product recommendations.” RichRelevance CEO David Selinger said customers have come to expect a personalised experience in retail: “Digital content that thoughtfully combines online and offline data – rather than impersonally promoting generic offers – not only helps shoppers save time, but forges an emotional connection that ultimately respects the shopper, creating long-term loyalty while establishing profitability,” he said.
The retailer has previously launched mobile devices in more than 100 stores for selling products and taking payments both online and in store. The mobile point of sale solution consists of iPads and blue tooth enabled chip and pin devices, and saw a 5% to10% increase in sales.

Here are 5 top tips for creating personalised promotions, as advised by the RIS road map – Next-Gen Promotions: Managing Big Data to Drive Personalisation.

  1. Define promotional goals that give the customer a consistent, brand message. Across all channels.
  2. Understand customer preferences to create a relevant shopping experience that adds value to your service.
  3. Collect and store customer-specific big data, in a central place accessible by all channels.
  4. Use analytics engines that can reach customer preferences and acknowledge trends to produce relevant and personalised campaigns.
  5. Appoint a dedicated team to follow customer behavior analytics and create customer-centric promotions – turning data into highly-targeted engagement and marketing strategies.

RIS concludes: “As digital technology adoption increases, consumers are becoming extremely comfortable in an omnichannel retailing world, and expect their favorite brands to engage them there — regardless of the channel they use. With more customer data flowing through these digital channels, retailers have all of the information they need to create truly customer-centric promotions that can drive sales and customer loyalty”.