For millennials - the generation your most profitable customers belong to - omnichannel transitioned beyond just digital.
For millennials, omnichannel became a mentality they apply to everything in life; the way they think, what they expect, what they demand.
They don’t just insist on messages when, where and how they want them - they insist on everything served to them that way. Products, services, solutions, content, experiences, you name it.
Reaching out to your e-commerce customer Paul using his favorite channel and greeting with ‘Hi Paul’ is no longer a specialized personalization factor - nowadays, it’s just the norm. If Paul’s a millennial, he’d probably be annoyed, roll his eyes and forget all about your message in 54% cases. Oh, and in 57% cases...he’d block you.
Of course you don’t want that - what you probably want is to get Paul to choose your shop for purchases and, ideally, to have Paul become your brand’s advocate.
How Digital Customer Touchpoints Turn Users into Brand Advocates
If you send Paul a notification from your retail business via his favorite chat app, letting him know that the items he has sitting in his shopping cart are 50% off in your brick & mortar store (right around the corner from his current location), Paul probably wouldn’t find that annoying at all. He’d find it relevant, valuable and interesting - which means that in 62% of cases, he’d perceive your brand in a positive light and be ready to make a purchase.
This scenario is made possible by using geo-location. When Paul signed up for notifications he gave his consent for you to use this technology in order to improve his shopping experience. This is the beginning of retail touchpoints marketing that you can employ to get through to your customers and establish a connection that draws their attention and consequent interactions with your store.
Picture it as a giant wall of static surrounding your customer - each buzz a piece of content that used to be interesting & relevant until everyone started pushing it on them. Relevant e-commerce touchpoints would act as holes in that wall, places that your customers would already be looking at as different, with more attention. These could be:
- Sign-up & Registration
- Products they are browsing or have browsed
- Customer complaints
...and the list goes on. A lot of the times, a touchpoint is made of a mix of the ones listed above.
It’s up to you to identify specific touchpoints for your customers - based on reliable data and analysis, because it’s not just about adding more e-commerce touchpoints, it’s about adding relevant ones. Quality especially trumps quantity in this scenario, as 67% of consumers believe the main problem with content is that brands send too much of it.
And because you can’t manually keep an eye out for proverbial ‘holes in the wall’, targeting them with automated messaging solutions that will do that part of the job for you, helping you set up the kind of multi-channel customer journey you want and need.
Touchpoint #1 - Signing up
Paul has just registered as your web store’s newest user. Right after providing an easy and secure sign-up for him, this is your chance to ask for his consent to use certain technologies and messaging channels in order to enrich and elevate his shopping experience.
He will need to check the ‘Yes’ field for each of the options you wish to use - then you can feel free to message him when you see fit - to turn him into one of the 48% of consumers that claim engaging with content makes them more likely to make a purchase.
There’s also that consumers are more likely to refer a brand to their friends if they’re given some kind of shopping incentive, such as discounts. Since Paul is your newest customer, why not have an interactive discount offer automatically sent to his preferred channel - Viber, SMS, e-mail - as a welcome?
- ‘Welcome, Paul! As our newest customer, choose five of your favorite product categories and earn discounts of up to 40% on one item from each! Click on this link to get started.
With this, you made Paul happy by giving him the kind of content he can control and interact with - something millennials find very important - and you did yourself a giant favor because once he picks his top five product categories, you can use that valuable info to gauge what offers he might be interested in in the future...and turn anything related to those into a potential touchpoint for your e-commerce to reach out and get through to Paul. Not to mention that he might refer your brand to his friends, and referral leads convert 30% better than leads generated from other marketing channels.
Touchpoint #2 - Product Is Still King
Paul didn’t sign up because he likes the color of your logo, nor because he’s interested in exploring how awesome and friendly your staff is. Sure, all that’s mandatory and if any of it is lacking he might just leave...but what a customer really wants when signing up on a web store is to buy stuff.
Whoever makes the buying experience the most convenient, enjoyable and valuable - wins.
This makes it pretty self-explanatory why products are a key e-commerce touchpoint. The previous example mentioned Paul picking his five favorite product categories - here’s a sneak peek at what you can do with that.
- Raise awareness about new / incoming products: ‘Hey, Paul - still into video games? Far Cry 5 is hitting our web store in a month! Follow this link to pre-order and earn a special discount / free expansion pack / in-game items.’
- Back-in-stock alerts: ‘Remember the book you were searching for last week? It’s back in stock next Friday - follow this link to make sure you get it this time!’
- Rating & feedback: ‘Thank you for ordering Far Cry 5 last week! Let us know if it was as good as you expected by completing our short survey- earning a 5% discount to any item in the video games section!’
If your message is about a product they’re interested in, it’s relevant with actionable items and information, and offers concrete and clear benefits for them, your customers are 63% more likely not to ignore it.
Touchpoint #3 - Customer Complaints
Much as customer service employees don’t like them, customer complaints are, strategically, a good thing.
Your customer could leave without breathing a word of complaint, as only one out of every 26 unhappy customers complains instead of just leaving, which would surely be easier on your customer service - but far more damaging for you and your brand.
Customer complaints are a great opportunity - think of it as your customers telling you exactly what they don’t like, exactly what’s keeping them from buying and almost exactly what you can do to turn them into a happy, profitable shopper.
Okay, granted, it doesn’t always play out as smoothly as that. But it’s a chance, and it’s up to you to direct it and shape it into an advantage.
What if Paul files an e-mail complaint about your discounts being too low and about you never hitting the products he really wants with them? He is going to be waiting for an answer from you - and as you have his attention, that answer is your e-commerce's touchpoint, through which you can sway him with much more power than if he was just browsing and a random personalized ad popped up.
- ‘Hi, Paul! Thanks for letting us know of your problem. While we unfortunately can’t increase standard discounts on a company-wide level, we noticed that you have been a loyal customer for a while - for which you will be granted a discount of 20% to all items from a category you can choose on this link, for a period of three months. Thank you for your loyalty / for reaching out!
You might not always be able to give someone such a great offer, but depending on what kind of customer it is and the circumstances in your business, if you estimated it wouldn’t harm your finances too much, it’s definitely worth considering as a long-term investment move.
In another situation, Paul might be dissatisfied with the fact that he ran into a bug and a discount coupon didn’t work so he was charged the full price - in which case, you can give him a refund but also use the touchpoint opportunity to get another message across. For example:
This time, you didn’t offer a discount to placate him, but you shared actionable content with him, relevant to his interests and sent in a message he will definitely be reading because he wants to know if he’ll be getting a refund.
It might not all be rocket science - but it’s definitely not a piece of cake, either. Let’s face it, you’ll be the one ultimately handling the bulk of the work for your business, as these are your customers and you’re the one striving to get to know them and their buying habits.
Once you get to know them, you’ll be needing a messaging solution that can keep up with your strategy and allow you to customize the entire multi-channel customer journey, with the most efficient touchpoints & channels for your retail or e-commerce business.
You don’t want to gather information on your customers, determine their preferences - and then realize your messaging solution doesn’t provide it, right?
Our Portal 2.0, for example, is a solution that helps you connect various data sources to build rich customer profiles and segment your audience for relevant contextual targeting.