Online is where it’s at. eCommerce revenue grew four times faster than physical store revenue in 2014 (based on research by Internet Retailer), and in response, marketers are moving more of their budgets to digital. The same study predicts that US marketers alone will spend $67.3 billion on digital marketing this year. But digital marketing isn’t just growing – it’s changing.
The rise of social media has put a premium on engaging, relevant experiences, while the increase in mobile shopping has raised the stakes for seamless, fast-loading commerce technology. So how can marketers drive engagement and results without compromising the balance between content and commerce? They must provide experiences that integrate rich data, engaging creative solutions and robust technologies to forge more meaningful relationships with their customers.
Begin with Intelligence
A deep understanding of the customer is at the heart of any successful marketing program. The first questions to ask yourself are:
- What do I know about my customers?
- What do I know about their needs, attitudes and behaviors?
- How do I use this information to optimize my merchandising and content strategy?
This means going beyond simple demographic and behavioral segments to understand the underlying motivations. Customer insights can uncover market opportunities and help you predict how different segments will react to different messages and experiences.
For one large lifestyle brand Rosetta led a global Market Assessment based on unique consumer insights on each segment’s propensity to align with the brand and the market opportunity for each segment. We identified critical moments in customer journeys and untapped growth opportunities across three major brands and retail channel partners. We developed a Digital Roadmap to help prioritize marketing tactics and strategically shift brand perceptions around style and lifestyle. All of this information was key when it came to producing personalized experiences that would resonate with the most valuable customers.
Focus Your Efforts
No brand can be all things to all people, so once you know who your customers are, it’s time to focus on the few segments that will have the most bottom-line impact. For our lifestyle brand client, we identified five main segments: Engaged Fashion-Forwards, Independent Browsers, Savvy Super-Shoppers, Bargain Hunters and Shopping Avoiders. Based on nine measures, we determined that Engaged Fashion-Forwards and Savvy Super-Shoppers were the best segments for the brand to target.
While both groups are engaged with the brand and have high value, their needs, attitudes and behaviors are completely different and they must be targeted in completely different ways. Engaged Fashion-Forwards are impulsive, price insensitive and believe that their apparel reflects who they are. They are triggered by seasonal needs and trends. Savvy Super-Shoppers, on the other hand, do lots of research on fashion sites and social media to make sure they are getting a great deal.
The two images below show how the same brand can present two very different experiences based on what it knows about who the shopper is and what she wants. The Engaged Fashion-Forward experience focuses on trends, finding the perfect look and adding the right accessory to complete the outfit. The Savvy Super-Shopper page emphasizes discounts and the urgency of getting the best sales before they are gone.
This may seem trivial, but the uplift you get from doing this type of change in an informed way drives results. Now imagine applying this to your customer’s journey across mobile, in-store and aligning it with your eCommerce site. We heard recently from a large UK retailer that in 2014, 39 percent of customers that converted used multiple digital properties to do so! So, it’s important to get it right.
As tailored as these experiences are, they rely on fantastic technology to work. Without smart, automated mechanisms in place to provide real-time insights into customer behavior, you could miss out on a customer who is looking for a deal or turn off a shopper who thinks “clearance” is a dirty word.
The most creative, beautiful, relevant experience in the world can be foiled if the technology gets in the way. From long load times on mobile devices to transaction pages that don’t match the feel of the rest of the site to commerce platforms that don’t have visibility into current inventory, lackluster technology can leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth. Marketers need to work with a partner who pays close attention to the linkages between all the disparate systems involved in digital marketing and commerce.
The Engine that Drives It
Customer engagement isn’t possible without a robust engine to support it. The Rosetta Engagement Engine consolidates data from customer interactions and third parties, applies rule-based logic and predictive models to automatically generate personalized experiences, and provides a frictionless end-to-end commerce transaction. It measures results in real time and uses customer feedback to continually refine and optimize the process.
As digital becomes a larger part of the retail pie, marketers need to be thoughtful about how they meet shoppers’ content needs, while ensuring that the experience is as fast and painless as customers demand.
For more facts and figures on the value of Customer Engagement, download the Rosetta Consulting white papers: