How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back in 2017

Saima Alibhai
Managing Principal Consultant, EMEA
Bronto Software

While Black Friday sales were up 2.3% year-on-year, interest in the promotion – at least in the UK – appears to be waning. It’s a sharp reminder for retail brands that consumer trends and preferences are always changing. How to fight it? Use multi-channel data insights to remain close to customers and personalise the shopping experience. Brands must be committed to the customer and prepared to evolve with their changing needs.

With that in mind, let’s look at what commerce marketers should be putting at the top of their 2017 to-do lists to ensure a happy, healthy customer base.

Turning Browsers Into Buyers

There are so many reasons why a consumer might browse a site, and even more for why they’d leave before adding items to the basket and making a purchase. Add in the element of multi-device shopping, and the puzzle marketers must try to solve becomes even more complex. Basket recovery has been dominating the commerce landscape, but 2017 is set to see browse recovery messaging take the spotlight. Triggering a message when a consumer abandons their search, to remind or even incentivize them, could be the nudge they need to go back and buy. Don’t wait until an item ends up in a basket. Taking action sooner shows consumers they are valued and creates another opportunity to engage with them.

Browse data holds the key to relevant and effective browse recovery messages, but there are a wealth of options to consider when it comes to the content. From a simple message that reminds the consumer of the products they were browsing to implementing product, you should consider what’s going to be most effective. Customers are increasingly seeking the advice of their peers before making a purchase, so product recommendations could meet this need and help secure the sale.

It’s All About Convenience

Customers have come to expect convenience, whether online or at the store, so creating a seamless customer experience is no longer optional. In fact, new technology has made convenience a consumer trend in and of itself. From dating and banking to travel, technology enables us to do things at the push of a button or the swipe of a screen. Retail brands must respond to this trend if they want to keep customers engaged in 2017. Offering convenient delivery options, such as click and collect, and ensuring that customers shopping via multiple devices are recognised however they interact with brands are just a few of the strategies retailers are already using to help ensure a simple, seamless customer journey.

Anything that prompts hesitation could quickly lead to basket abandonment, so it’s important to make the purchase process, particularly checkout, as streamlined and convenient as possible. The Apple Pay option that allows users to complete online purchases with a fingerprint is one way to do so and something we’re likely to see more of in the year ahead. In such a competitive sector, finding ways to differentiate yourself and enhance the shopping experience are critical to keeping customers engaged. Look for ways to make the online experience more like in-store and give consumers as much information as possible, whilst keeping everything clear and simple. Integrating 360-degree image rotation or videos give online shoppers a better feel for the product, which helps overcome concerns about buying something online. Chatbots will also play a role here and are expected to become increasingly prevalent as retailers seek to efficiently serve customers’ online needs.

Personalisation Is Key

From creating a seamless omni-device shopping experience to delivering connected multi-channel promotions, successful commerce marketing in 2017 will be hyper-focused on personalisation, which has evolved well beyond simply addressing customers by name to a true knowledge of their needs and preferences. Personalised experience with every interaction will lie at the heart of any successful commerce marketing strategy. It must be seamless, ubiquitous and consistent throughout the purchase journey, not just to secure sales, but also build customer loyalty.

Personalisation is the main tactic for meeting both the mobile and convenience needs of 2017 ecommerce consumers. It’s a key element of basket and browse recovery, omnichannel campaigns and loyalty programs. If you remember one thing as you enter 2017, remember this: Personalise everything.

Every January offers an opportunity to introduce new initiatives and routines to build a successful year ahead. As 2017 kicks off, take a moment to consider what will make a difference in your business and ultimately keep your customers interested and engaged. There are so many options available to drive revenue growth, but successful brands will create a plan around their target consumers. Browse recovery and convenience are certainly two trends that will dominate, but successful execution will come down to putting personalisation at the core and staying close to the customer.

This content was originally published by Oracle + Bronto.

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