As the e-commerce landscape is changing, so is the consumer’s expectation of how you interact with them. In fact, changing consumer wants & needs is the thing that is catalyzing another round of modern commerce disruption.
In the most recent disruptive round, we saw a rise and dominance of digitally-native brands—those brands like StitchFix, Casper, and Birchbox that came on the scene in the past 5-10 years and disrupted their respective industries with a new way of doing business. These brands were fresh and clever and changed the shopping & buying process, luring more and more consumers away from brick & mortar and towards the digital space. Consumers were fulfilled by these brands’ ability to serve them with purchase & delivery convenience and with new and exciting approaches to the customer experience.
The underlying marketing approach of some of these brands, however, was to blast messages to as many people as possible, no matter who they were or what their makeup, on as many channels as possible. Marketers did this because that is what the newest marketing technologies at the time enabled. These new technologies set this approach as the industry best standard of getting in front of consumers.
Reach vs engagement: Which leads to higher retention?
Here, reach was everything. But times have changed. Focusing primarily on reach is no longer as effective as it used to be at retaining customers. Consider this: almost 70% of a consumer’s first-year spend comes within the first 30 days as a customer, and only 32% of consumers place a second order with a company within 1 year of the first (RJMetrics). Clearly, reach does not equal engagement, and so it’s engagement and as a result, retention, where brands are suffering today. But the newest of new marketing technologies today can help. More on that soon.
How marketers can increase retention in 2017 and beyond
Now we are yet again on the brink of another new modern commerce disruption. Again, consumer wants & needs are continuing to evolve, and it’s up to commerce brands to accommodate by evolving, too. The products, brands, and services that emerged in the previous round got consumers used to immediacy, on-demand services, and hints of personalization. With online brand interactions at an all-time high, consumers are leaving digital breadcrumbs behind with every page view, click, and “add to cart.” Consumers are knowingly leaving these valuable pieces of information about themselves behind, and in exchange, they’re expecting that you meaningfully engage with them. “Meaningfully” means that you trade in your batch & blast-style marketing messages on every channel for super accurate, super relevant messages that speak to an individual consumer’s messaging preferences, as gleaned from their breadcrumbs—things like the exact products or services they’re interested in, the type of content they want to read, which time they’d like to read messages, and which channel they’d prefer to read the messages on. Therefore, the newest round of commerce disruption will be driven by those brands that focus on delivering what’s called extreme personalization. This is what consumers are expecting and demanding and will respond to with their attention and pocketbooks. The good news is that the newest of new marketing technologies, specifically those driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning, are making extreme personalization super accessible for marketers, like you, today. The even better news is that these technologies are available without having to completely tear out your existing systems; you can seamlessly add them in.
Now, you’re probably wondering if your company is ready and capable of being a part of this next round of modern commerce disruption. Yes, it is. This round is up for grabs. Literally any brand—whether the old school brick & mortar retailer, or the Dollar Shave Clubs of the world, or even any brand new digital brands that are trying to make a name for themselves—has a chance to embrace extreme personalization as the way it does business. These are the brands that will be able to efficiently reach, engage, and retain customers, instead of just reaching them.
Find out more about how to shift to the next round of modern commerce disruption and increase retention as a result by listening to this webinar from Brian Solis, Digital Analyst at Altimeter Group, and Sameer Patel, CEO at Kahuna. Simply click the button below!