Rebecca likes a shoulder bag at an online store. They are giving a discount also. It fits her budget and her need. She adds it to her cart and decides to check it out at the same retailer’s physical store before buying. When Rebecca walks into the store, she discovers that the offer is only for online customers, they don’t have the same in-store. To her utter dismay, she discovers that the offer has expired as the product is out of stock online as well by the time she is able to buy it. She hadn’t been notified about the expiry or that the product would soon be out of stock. Instead of notifying her about a time when the bag would again be available the site keeps showing her other products on discounts that she does not need. The store also doesn’t call her up with a personalized offer, since they don’t know that she had added the product to her cart. At the end of the day Rebecca understands that there is no consistency between the channels of the retailer and most importantly, they don’t know her!

In an ideal phygital experience, the retailer would have booked the bag as soon as she had added it to her cart. They would have consistent discounts across all channels. Rebecca could have picked up the same bag at the same discounted price from her nearest store. In case the product went out of stock she would have been notified, with a better discount on a similar product or on the same product when available again. That would have given her not only convenience but also the feeling that she is special to the retailer.

Right Promotions at Right time

Digitization has been seeping into our lives for a long time now. From digital clocks to online grocery shopping customers have experienced it all. What they are looking for right now is a seamless merger. It’s not enough to put up ‘season sale’ or ‘50% off’ in the brick and mortar windows, the retailers’ intention of luring the customers with offers needs to be a visible cross-channel and in a personalized way. Rebecca needs a special discount on the type of shoes she prefers. John might want a coupon to buy his favorite cereal. That is the way to reach your customers at the right time with the right promotions.

Understand needs: One of the biggest failures of personalized marketing is not understanding the needs of your customers across different channels. Customers often complain of getting offers and product information which is of no use to them. For instance offering discounts on meat to a vegetarian. These kinds of mistakes happen when under the pressure of increasing up sale and cross sale, people don’t focus on the right data or apply the right analytics. With the help of the right analytics, from the data collected from all sources retailers will garner insights that are accurate. Sending a reminder about the milk and eggs are far more effective when it comes to personalized marketing. Customers would rely on you for their daily needs and count on your notifications to reach them at the right time.

Save time: Starbucks has enabled its customers to customize and order their coffee through their app whenever they are approaching an outlet. This allows them to just pick up their cuppa on the way and save time. Customers expect their retailers to live up to their pace of life. A consumer is happier when he/she does not have to spend time and energy looking for what they want in a store. Nor do they like waiting in long queues. Personalized marketing should aim at saving customers’ time by making it easier for them to get what they need.

Be convenient: The whole idea of personalization is to make shopping so convenient for your customers that they choose you above any other. From in-store navigation to digital aisles, all are designed to provide convenience to the consumers.  Fashion and lifestyle retailer Very.co.uk has introduced a customized website homepage. A customer will see their favorite brand at the top of the page. Thanks to connected devices like sensors and smartphones, as soon as a customer reaches an aisle the digital board can flash a message and send a personalized deal to them. Following history of purchase you know whether Rebecca buys groceries for a particular salad. While the digital board can direct her to fresh lettuces the push notification can offer her discounts on cucumber or a coupon for a sauce. With the help of big data analytics you may also know her monthly grocery list and offer her new products that suit her. If she buys health drinks, you may offer her green tea or digestive biscuits, keeping her preference for healthy products in mind. This would increase up sale and cross sale. Rebecca would be happy to conveniently find new products that suit her needs.

American supermarket chain Whole Foods Market used geo targeted promotions on weekends to lure customers from local grocers to their stores.

Don’t bombard: Sending the same push messages again and again can end up being only annoying to your customers. Customers who haven’t opted for the offer might continue to do so because it didn’t suit them. Instead of making them uncomfortable by bombarding with the same offers it would be better to look into their data carefully and devise a more effective personalized offer.

Be seamless: Rebecca would find it difficult to love your brand if she doesn’t find the flexibility of buying and paying as she expects. The comfort of buying online and paying in-store or paying in-store and picking up at door step is a comfort every customer is expecting in the age of Omni channel marketing. For this your services need to be streamlined, without glitches. People who use your mobile app expect you to know their preferences all the same when they walk into your store. At the same time their expectations would remain the same with your online experience where you have their preferences stored and can offer them items that they are likely to buy. They would like to redeem an offer that you presented to them in-store online as well, whichever suits their convenience. Take the example of amazon, once you shop from amazon, the website saves your preference in terms of brands, prices and category. If you have bought recently a mobile earphone, next time you visit Amazon it would suggest you other mobile gears of the same brand. This makes it hard to resist and also keeps up with the customer needs.

Recent Forrester Research’s The State of Retailing Online (SORO) 2016 report forecasts that less than 10% of retailers are focusing on geo location technologies and their role in personalized marketing in the coming year. In an age of wearable technology which can pay your bills and send your heart rates to your doctors, customers are not willing to settle for anything lesser than seamless and personalized. They are looking for a hyper connected interactive experience with personalization. Focusing on targeted marketing with the help of big data analytics and internet of things will not only profit the retailers but also will help them keep up with a rapidly evolving, fast paced, demand oriented customer base.

Watch our webcast : Phygital Retail – Merging online & In-store Customer Experience

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Shreyasee Ghosh

Shreyasee Ghosh

Research Analyst at Aspire Systems
Shreyasee Ghosh is responsible for handling various kinds of marketing content including whitepapers. She has a 1st class 1st Graduation degree in Mass Comm & Journalism. In a career spanning over four years she has worked at a renowned media organization and other IT companies.
Shreyasee Ghosh