Marketers: How to connect in an increasingly busy digital space
Kristina: For several years the ecommerce space has been considered by many to be ‘fun purchases.’ Has the pandemic changed how consumers are looking at ecommerce?
John Nash, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, Redpoint Global: Absolutely. People look to e-commerce still for fun purchases, but have increasing turned to it for the essentials needed for their day to day lives. Consumers have changed to be digital-first. As they once looked to online to purchase the “fun” items they could not before, they are turning to online today for where they buy their household essentials, clothes, work supplies and groceries. All of the basic goods in our life are now available online. Brands have made it more convenient over the years to shop online in the comfort of our homes and consumers have gone through the process of changing their purchasing habits along with this transformation.
They know how to navigate websites, look for the best deals and read reviews.
Kristina: What trends are you watching now in ecommerce that will have an impact on the 2020 holiday season?
John: COVID-19 will have a large impact on the 2020 holiday season, whether brands are ready for that or not. Consumer behaviors have changed during this time and brands are now going to microsegment customers further to provide even more personalized offers and content.
E-commerce will also allow brands to reach new people. During the course of the pandemic, we saw a number of our customers receive an influx of orders from new shoppers, providing an opportunity to learn about this new set of customers, their preferences and backgrounds.
Additionally, e-commerce has exposed silos in the supply chain and in the marketplace. Consumers are not so forgiving, as they expect to have a consistent and frictionless experience regardless of internal silos. For example, they do not want to see different ship dates dependent on whether they are looking at it via a mobile app, a website, or a confirmation email. Consumers will be hyper sensitive to these silos and so this will be crucial to have resolved for the 2020 holiday season.
Kristina: As consumers turn more to online outlets for connection, what can brands and marketers do to connect with them?
John: Consumers want to be understood by brands and treated as individuals, regardless of the channel they engage with them on. With this in mind, it’s crucial for brands and marketers to see the consumer as more than a transaction. There’s a person behind that device and there are multiple ways to connect and communicate with them, and it’s a brand’s job to figure out how. This can only be accomplished by having a comprehensive view of each customer’s profile (which we call a “Golden Record”), as well as the ability to interpret and act on this data in real-time. This single point of control and holistic view enables more targeted and personalized engagements that consumers expect from brands.
It’s also important to recognize that more consumers are turning to digital channels as part of the journey, not necessarily the full journey, which likely heightens their expectations. They want the immediacy of digital coupled with connectedness of in-person engagement. Brands can accomplish this by creating a frictionless experience, for example, across buy online pick-up in-store (BOPIS) initiatives, ensuring products are in stock, consumers are not frustrated by the process, and their item is ready to go when they arrive. A solid execution of these omni-channel initiatives helps deepen relationships with customers, while also driving near-term revenue.
Kristina: What should brands and marketers be doing right now to prep for the 2020 holiday season?
John: If you aren’t already prepared with a robust 360-degree view of each customer in advance of the 2020 holiday season, you’re behind. Brands should be preparing for this season with the right technology in place to deeply understand the shifting consumer behaviors and demands. This understanding is foundation to provide the types of experiences consumers are demanding.
The customer is in control, thanks to digital transformation. This is not the time to fail customers. Be consistent. Do not overvalue the quantity of touch points you have with customers. Communicate the expectations of the situation. Is their order going to arrive late? Early? Have these answers ready. Partially abandoned cart? Why was it abandoned and how can we better help you meet that need? Provide these answers dynamically, in real-time.
But of course, there will be challenges that arise. The outsized gains always go to those that understand their customers the best. Microsegment them so that you can most closely meet their needs. With this foundation in place, you’ll be able to adapt, adjust targeting and respond to customers in the best way to ensure they continue to shop with you into the new year.