Perhaps you’ve heard of the experience economy. It doesn’t just refer to experiences like bungee jumping or white water rafting, but rather, encompasses the consumer desire for a valuable end-to-end brand experience. Research finds that customer experience is the number one factor driving ecommerce brand loyalty, even more so than price and product selection.
There are lots of ways brands can create experiences for their customers, and one of the best ways is to mold that experience to a shopper’s busy, on-the-go life. Instead of waiting for the consumer to come across your advertisement on TV or a desktop computer, the key is to meet them where they are — wherever that may be. Enter: mobile marketing.
Comprehensive mobile marketing for today’s world involves a digital, omnichannel marketing strategy that reaches consumers on their smartphones, smart watches, tablets and other mobile devices. That said, communication with customers via mobile apps, emails, texts, push notifications and other strategies is really just the beginning of a successful mobile marketing program. Companies need to view their apps as a vehicle that not only generates sales but builds their brand.
When ecommerce brands incorporate mobile marketing techniques such as customer journey mapping and omnichannel communication, they not only sell to shoppers, but more importantly they create positive, value-driven experiences that foster brand loyalty.
Map Customer Journeys for Data-Driven Mobile Marketing
It’s not news that we live in a data-driven world, and brands that aren’t proactively leveraging data to craft actionable insights about their customers will quickly fall behind those that do.
In this day and age, it is imperative that retailers with a digital strategy implement customer journey mapping. Doing so will help them understand precisely how customers discover, interact with and purchase from their brand. It also helps brands identify customer behavior, use data analysis to make sense of it, and then create a customized experience to engage and retain the customer.
Mapping and analyzing customer journeys enables companies to find gaps in their experiences. If you are only engaging the user at the point of sale, you’re not actually addressing all of their needs.
For example, take expectant parents looking to purchase a car seat. They’re extremely excited and most likely doing lots of research on the safest car seat out there. A brand that is able to reach those parents early in the decision-making process and then offer their car seat’s unique points of differentiation will be in a better position to win sales, trust and ongoing loyalty. It’s vital that brands identify appropriate moments in the customer journey to offer helpful communication.
By analyzing your customer base, ecommerce players can also create and track user cohorts based on acquisition date and channel. With a little data analysis, you may be able to discern why some cohorts have lower retention rates. For example, was a large cohort of shoppers acquired with a steep Cyber Monday discount you’re unable to offer right now? Alternatively, did you acquire customers when you launched a collaborative collection with their favorite celebrity, but it has been radio silence since? Finding the answers to these questions will deeply inform your engagement strategy and serve to separate high-value users from others that may need more TLC.
Once you’ve identified your high-value customers, you’ll want to show them love. Further boost their retention and repeat purchase rates by giving them the VIP treatment with early or exclusive access to products, personalized discounts, social media shoutouts and invites to special events.
In creating a true customer experience beyond the point of purchase, brands can also create loyalty programs that aren’t solely transactional. For example, in addition to doling out reward points with purchases and referrals, companies can offer their customers rewards for posting a product review with a photo, following or tagging them in a post on Instagram or interacting with emails.
Find the Right Path to Reach Shoppers
One-size-fits-all only works when we’re talking about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In the same way that all consumers have vastly different shopping preferences, they also have different communication preferences.
Ecommerce brands need to take a tailored approach in reaching their customers. By utilizing behavioral data, brands can understand what channels a specific customer likes to be contacted on and what kind of messaging they respond to. Perhaps that customer engages with emails more during the work week but SMS messages on weekends. Another user may respond best to in-app notifications when your brand already has their attention.
Always keep the experience in mind. When it comes to SMS notifications, nearly half (48%) of customers want updates on shipping tracking, and 44% want order status confirmations. By contrast, only 28% want to receive offers and promotions via text. While that’s still a substantial chunk of consumers who want promotional content, the numbers speak to the importance of communication that isn’t solely centered around customer transactions, but that contributes to an end-to-end, value-driven customer experience from the first touch to the delivery of a product and beyond.
And lastly, be fair with your strategies and have common courtesy. Don’t send emails, texts or push notifications to customers who didn’t opt in, and be sure to give them the choice to opt out if they’d like. Four out of five consumers say the biggest mistake a brand can make is sending an unsolicited text message. By taking an ethical approach in omnichannel communications, brands show customers that they respect their time.
Mobile marketing is a key tool that retailers in the ecommerce industry can use to be a force within the experience economy. To reach your customers on a new level, humanize your brand by offering a memorable experience that provides genuine value to customers. If you tailor your guidance, omnichannel communication and brand perks to individuals’ needs, you’ll be seeing them far beyond just virtual check out.
Dave Dabbah, CMO at CleverTap, has more than 20 years of experience building global marketing programs that accelerate growth and catalyze business success within B2B technology and beyond. Prior to his current role at CleverTap, Dabbah held the position of VP of Marketing at both Agora, a software company specializing in real-time communications, and Ephox, an in-application editing software platform. He’s also held tenure with the likes of EmailLabs and Lyris, making him an early adopter of martech and a firsthand witness of how the industry has grown and evolved.