Let’s be honest. “A rapidly evolving digital landscape” is a gross understatement, especially for retail in 2023. Intense competition and the ever expanding search for innovative ways to engage customers continues to challenge even the most tech-savvy retailers. At BlueConic, we find that retailers are most successful in driving transformative experiences when they keep the fundamental pillars of the customer journey in mind.
Effectively engaging customers from the first point of contact to becoming loyal customers requires thoughtful planning and orchestration across each stage of the customer lifecycle: Awareness, Acquisition, Conversion, and Retention. I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before! However, a first-party data strategy and digital transformation efforts hinge on delivering value across the customer lifecycle. But what retail businesses have lacked is the ability to use the right first-party data in real time to give the customer what they want, when they want it.
As the first pillar in the journey, awareness introduces potential customers to your brand, products, or services and is sometimes simply about letting them know that your business exists. By unifying and analyzing their first-party data, retailers can better understand demographics, preferences, purchase behavior, and a host of other attributes that define their existing customers, and use that information to drive awareness among prospective customers. To accomplish this however, retailers are often dependent on manual processes and expensive third-party vendors to analyze and segment customer data.
With BlueConic customer data platform (CDP), retailers can easily identify high-value customers and execute brand awareness campaigns targeted to look-alike audiences or exclude suppression audiences to optimize their media spend. The objective should be to ensure that a consistent and memorable brand message is delivered specifically to those unfamiliar with the brand.
Once potential customers are aware of a brand, the next step is to acquire them as known or engaged visitors, whether online or in person. Acquisition involves encouraging potential customers to take the next step, such as visiting the website, downloading the app, providing consent for marketing, and/or signing up for newsletters. Often, retailers struggle in executing this due to limited capabilities within their martech stack or a lack of high specialized staff.
A CDP and first-party data enables retailers to deepen their knowledge of both known and anonymous visitors while respecting their consent preferences. By utilizing engagement patterns across multiple channels, browsing behavior, and product preferences, retailers can encourage unknown visitors to identify themselves and then better engage with these potential customers in the way they prefer and allow. BlueConic enables all of this with capabilities native to the platform and without involvement from highly specialized teams.
Conversion is the critical moment when a potential customer becomes an actual paying customer. This requires a clear understanding of the customer's needs, preferences, and any potential barriers that might deter them from a purchase. Retailers often find themselves without the right capabilities to learn from customer behavior and personalize experiences at the right time within the customer journey. This can quickly lead to lost conversion opportunities.
BlueConic empowers retailers to personalize the conversion experience for every individual customer at the right time in their journey. By utilizing first-party data from prior engagement and transactional history, retailers can offer personalized product recommendations, customized pricing, and targeted incentives, thereby increasing the chances of successful conversions and potentially higher average order values.
Retention involves nurturing and maintaining relationships with your existing customers, encouraging them to become repeat buyers and ultimately, brand advocates. This phase of the journey has its own challenges when it comes to maintaining or growing market share and mitigating competitive pressures. Retailers that are unable to harness the power of their first-party data end up forfeiting the ability to establish a trusted, long-term relationship with their customers.
With a CDP, retailers can use first-party data to predict when a customer might be ready to make another purchase. By employing targeted email marketing, loyalty programs, and personalized offers, retailers can continue to engage customers and foster long-term loyalty. Additionally, a proactive approach can be taken with first-party data to understand how customer behavior and preferences evolve over time, further informing product development and offerings.
When engaging with customers at any pillar of the journey, first-party data proves to be a valuable asset for retailers to build trust, deliver personalized experiences, and strengthen brand-customer relationships. Ultimately, this can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, while allowing retailers to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive and rapidly evolving landscape.
In the coming months I will be diving into real world examples of how BlueConic is helping retailers liberate their first party data to transform customer experiences at every pillar of the journey. Feel free to reach out to me directly for any questions and hope to see you back here soon!