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My colleague, Paul Culmer recently examined "The Future of Loyalty Cards" and whether they are fading out or becoming multi-channel. However, the customer journey is not just about loyalty cards, but also about creating an integrated offline and online experience. We have seen more organisations than ever implementing a digital approach that coordinates their online and offline strategy to provide a better customer experience.
Amazon were the pioneers of personalised marketing. This was accomplished through their “recommended purchase suggestions”, which is said to generate an additional 10% to 30% of revenue for the business. Other organisations have followed suit with the likes of Netflix and iTunes also relying on recommendation algorithms to provide a tailored experience. This attention to detail is what drives profits and provides a better customer experience. In contrast, bricks and mortar businesses have struggled to compete with this personalised shopping experience, though many are starting to recognise that the use of technology is the way to create a great in-store experience.
The retail sector is leading this shift by pushing our offline experience into a digital format. From contactless payments to a touch screen experience, traditional bricks and mortar stores are slowly moving into the digital age. In the banking sector, Lloyds are rolling out a digital high-street experience for their customers with self-service tills and video conferencing that will allow customers to contact a call centre for advice, facetiming with a bank manager if you like.
Overall the banking sector has been slow to react. In one sense they are using technology to ensure their contact with you the customer is integrated and personalised, however it has taken some time for the industry to implement digital stores. Although, moving the customer experience to a mobile platform was a more natural progression for the industry. As a result, stores are slowly dying out and whilst there is still demand for them, the future certainly looks to be centred on a digital in-store experience, with a move away from traditional cashiers.
Samsung have invested into their in-store experience through digital technology.
Although, we are still far from fully interactive retail experiences. In Amsterdam, Marks & Spencer have used touchscreen technology to produce an endless virtual rail that can hold its full catalogue for customers to explore in-store. Samsung have also invested into their in-store experience through digital technology. They introduced CenterStage last summer in the US and have gradually expanded it to the UK, France and UAE. Samsung describes CentreStage as a “new concept that showcases Samsung’s portfolio of appliances in an ultra-realistic and life-size display”. The feature provides in-depth product details and an explanation of features so that consumers can actually envision what Samsung products will look like in their homes. In addition, an intuitive and user-friendly touch-screen interface has been integrated to leverage people’s familiarity with smartphone gestures and interactions.
Many organisations prefer customers to shop in-store as they gain a better return on investment. As a result we have seen the likes of Marks & Spencer, Samsung and Tesco investing more into a digital in-store experience that can be integrated with their online strategy. For example, Tesco’s future digital experience lies in the integration with their customer loyalty. Tesco is a good example of this, as they will be using their club card to push offers and promotions to you as you walk through their aisles. Personalisation of loyalty cards is one thing but a tailored shopping experience as you walk around a store is another.
A personalised marketing strategy cannot be deployed on its own but as part of a comprehensive digital marketing platform. Customer segmentation, social analytics, e-mail and mobile marketing are all key components to a successful digital strategy. True ‘personalisation’ needs to take into account when and where to extend offers to customers, for both our online and offline experiences.