This is a guest post from MoEngage, a full-stack solution consisting of powerful customer analytics, automated cross-channel engagement and AI-driven personalization.
Shopping behavior has changed extensively in the last few months. Now, consumers have access to more channels and more flexibility when they want to shop.
So what do shoppers want?
Keep reading to find out what shoppers expect from brands — and what you can do to align your strategies with their shopping behavior.
1. Shoppers want to hear from brands more frequently
MoEngage’s 2021 Personalization Pulse Check Report reveals that 39% of North American and European shoppers prefer to receive weekly communication from brands. Moreover, 30% of female board members and 39% of male board members of businesses look forward to receiving daily emails from shopping brands.
The report also reveals that 14% of shoppers don't mind the frequency as long as the communication from brands is relevant to them.
It is important to offer a seamless experience and send consistent messages to your customers. However, if the customer data is available in disparate systems, you will not get a complete or accurate view of the customer’s preferences.
The disjointed data could prevent you from making accurate predictions of how the customer would move to the next stage. You may not be able to send real-time, accurate content to your customers. You can solve this problem by using AI-powered tools and interfaces. These tools and interfaces would help you analyze customer behavior and identify ways to personalize the experience and drive conversions.
2. Irrelevant and non-personalized product recommendations frustrate shoppers
When it comes to delighting your customers, you need to start by understanding them.
Customers want consistent, personalized recommendations. Irrelevant or inconsistent messages create a poor experience. So that means all of your channels — web, social media, mobile, or email — need to be aligned.
Women between the age of 25 to 34 and above 44 and men above 45 are particularly bothered due to inconsistent messaging. The same goes for executives within an organization. And 27% of female and 29% of male board members expressed their dislike for inconsistent communication.
3. Shoppers expect brands to deliver real-time updates
Over 32% of customers in North America and Europe said they expect brands to offer them value-added services. Value-add services would include real-time updates on order status, shipping notice, and delivery confirmation. Ease of returning and exchanging products came second, with 24% of customers expecting that service from brands.
Despite a high preference for sales and promotional messages, only 12% of customers treated them as value-add services.
4. Email is still the preferred communication channel for shoppers
If you thought emails are dead, think again. According to the report, 33% of North American and European shoppers listed email as their preferred channel for communication. Websites came a distant second, followed by emerging channels such as mobile and social media.
5. Shoppers want more personalized experiences and don’t mind sharing their information with brands in return
Personalization has to move beyond addressing the customer with their first name. 26% of shoppers across North America and Europe said that they wanted brands to personalize their experience based on purchasing history, interests, and preferences.
Take a 1:1 personalization approach to interact with customers and to create unique experiences for them. Extend the personalized experience to customers at all stages of their lifecycle. AI-powered tools can help you understand the customer's behavior, segment them based on their behavior and attributes, and send them personalized messages at the right moment and time to drive engagement.
Customers get frustrated when brands fail to remember their preferences based on previous purchases and send them spray-and-pray messages. Hence, send your customers dynamically personalized content such as product recommendations, personalized offers, and price drop alerts that are tailored based on their previous interactions with your brand.
6. Shoppers are adopting a hybrid approach to meet their needs
As more people in North America and Europe are getting fully vaccinated, brick-and-mortar retail shops are starting their business again. However, 40% of customers in North America and Europe said they would take a hybrid approach to shop, i.e., they would prefer to shop online and in-person. 36% say that they would continue shopping online even if the situation returned to during pre-COVID.
As more customers prefer hybrid shopping, you must design an omnichannel strategy to create a consistent experience across offline and online channels. This is the time to move away from distributing content across all channels to creating micro-moments for your customers. Look at the data closely to determine what moments could make up a customer’s journey and then use those insights to build the omnichannel engagement strategy. Another thing to remember is that every channel has its strengths.
So, while you focus on delivering consistent messaging, ensure that you are leveraging the strength of each channel to send effective messages to your customers.
7. Customers are warming up to new channels of communication
The pandemic has resulted in customers warming up to new channels of communication. From websites to mobile apps and social media, customers have several options available to interact with the brands. For example, 21% of customers from North America and Europe have adopted mobile apps and emails as the new channels to interact with brands. 18% of them have started interacting through social media. SMS, push notifications are other channels through which customers interact with brands.
Acquiring a new customer is five times more costly than retaining an existing one. You can see an increase of more than 25% in your profits by 25% by just improving your customer retention rate.
A sure shot way to increase your get your customers to make more repeat purchases is by prioritizing customer engagement. Insights-led engagement implies leveraging data gathered about the customers to drive better engagement. You can use the data collected to orchestrate the campaigns across all touchpoints to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. This strategy can also help you identify friction areas, such as when customers drop off, and find solutions to fix them and improve engagement.