Guest Contribution by Sean Keith
Do you want your marketing dollars to work harder for your business? Then you need to know which customers engage with your brand the most and why. What do they buy and when? Are they likely to buy online and/or instore? That’s because customers who engage the most tend to be the most loyal; and, loyal customers are the most valuable ones.
A new book from Tim Mason, Eagle Eye’s CEO, Omnichannel Retail: How to build winning stores in a digital world, discusses the importance of customer engagement and its impact on loyalty.
But identifying exactly who your most valuable customers are can be challenging. Customer data is a hot topic. In the US, several privacy bills were introduced in 2019 aiming to regulate companies’ collection and use of personal information.
To know your customers, you need the right digital marketing technology and “in the now” strategy. Together they will help you identify your most valuable customers, by establishing digital connections with them and engaging on their terms and via the channels they prefer. Let’s explore how to implement a timely, relevant marketing strategy.
Identify Your Most Valuable Customers
Accurately identifying who your most valuable customers are in today’s digital world requires that your business understands whether customers interact online and/or in the store.
To do this effectively, you first need to establish a digital connection with your customers online, via email, text, social media, web or app. These digital connections can then enable you to connect with these same customers wherever they shop with you. Moreover, they enable physical stores to become digitally augmented stores
- A digitally augmented store is any physical store, restaurant or venue with a point of sale — but with the advantage of having a “digital layer” that allows the business to engage customers via various channels at various stages of their shopping journey.
- Creating digital connections in-store via mobile and the point of sale also gives you the opportunity to identify your customers at checkout and link their offline interactions with their online ones.
- Connecting up your customers’ data from across channels to understand their purchase habits and preferences in this way provides a more complete view of their journeys and enables you to then tailor engagement designed to encourage another visit or sale.
Leverage Customer Data to Get More from Your Marketing Spend
Once you have a better understanding of who your most valuable customers are, it’s time to put that knowledge to use. You can leverage marketing engagement to drive more sales from your highest-value customers both online and instore, for the lowest cost.
Here are several ways to get better outcomes from your marketing spend:
Any customer-facing business can use personalized promotional offers to boost sales or traffic. A recent Eagle Eye Purple Paper, The Digital Imperative surveyed 4,000 UK, US, Australian, and Canadian consumers and found that 69% would likely make a spontaneous purchase if they received a personalized promotion.
Imagine you were a grocer selling specialty items, say gluten-free or lactose-free ranges. Once you know a customer is buying soya milk and gluten-free bread regularly, you can tailor the messages and offers you send to that customer to be focused on these items. Analyzing your individual customers’ purchase habits over time and in aggregate generates the insights your business needs to deliver the most relevant offers or rewards your customers want. This increases the chances they’ll redeem them against a sale.
Loyalty programs are another great way to drive sales because they’re widely used and effective. Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed in The Digital Imperative collected or used loyalty program points, discount coupons and/or vouchers within two weeks of taking the survey. A further 83 percent said a loyalty scheme or some other type of reward that recognizes their continued custom has an important influence on their choice of retailer or brand. To increase the effectiveness of loyalty programs, consider how to make them convenient for customers.
Greggs, a leading bakery chain in the UK, is a great example of how increased convenience can boost a loyalty program. The retailer implemented a mobile app with payment functionality integrated to its loyalty program that enables customers to redeem rewards and pay with a single scan. The convenience of customers’ being able to easily manage their rewards, redemption, and payments led to increased checkout throughput, basket size, and visit frequency.
Mobile apps are very effective for driving loyalty program engagement, but also represent a prime digital channel for your business to drive traffic through location-based offers. The Digital Imperative found that 44 percent of consumers consider timeliness an important factor in whether or not they use a promotion. A robust marketing solution offers the advantage of identifying when a consumer is geographically close to a store or venue and generating a timely offer.
Pizza Express, a UK-based restaurant chain has had great success with its mobile app that delivers personalized, location-based offers. Once customers opt into location services within the app, Pizza Express tracks when customers are within a certain radius of their restaurant and delivers a relevant offer at that moment. Offers delivered “in the now” – at the right time and place – are far more effective at driving immediate outcomes and boosting store visits than untargeted offers.
At a time when collecting and using customer data is under the spotlight, investing in the right digital marketing platform to help identify, connect and engage with your most valuable customers throughout their complex purchase journeys has never been more important.
Sean Keith is the Director of New Business Development at Eagle Eye, a leading SaaS technology company that enables businesses to create real-time connections with their customers through digital and mobile promotion solutions. Recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper, Sean helps brands in the retail, food & beverage and hospitality industries implement digital transformation initiatives to better understand customer behaviors and drive revenue growth among Canadian businesses.