First came the largest loyalty conference of the year, and now comes one of the most important articles to start your year with. Featuring more than 10 leading industry experts, this article is a deep dive into the leading trends for e-commerce brands.
Customer loyalty and retention are more top of mind than ever due to increased customer data privacy regulations, rising customer acquisition costs, and a continuing global supply chain disruption.
Here’s what you’ll find inside…
- Using UGC & Reviews to build trust from Okendo
- Effective SMS marketing for a 1:1 connection from Attentive
- Subscription Models for repeat purchases from ReCharge
- Loyalty Programs & Innovative Strategies from LoyaltyLion
- And so much more (including a full chapter on CRO from yours truly!)
Read this article to learn the necessary e-commerce expertise and start improving your customer loyalty and retention rates for the year ahead; to learn how to thrive in this year and what the future of personalization, SMS marketing, and omnichannel looks like.
Table of Contents
- Content Summary
- How to win in the opt-out era
- Customer service trends
- Unique experiences for your loyal customers
- Why zero-party data will be more critical than ever
- How personalization throughout the customer journey will keep shoppers returning
- How subscriptions will grow brands through flexibility, loyalty, and referrals
- Why an omnichannel approach will help you turn browsers into buyers
- How fast, affordable shipping and memorable unboxing experiences build loyalty
- Ways to deliver onsite personalization to build greater customer loyalty
- How to turn holiday shoppers into lifetime customers
How to win in the opt-out era
Customer service trends
Unique experiences for your loyal customers
Why zero-party data will be more critical than ever
How personalization throughout the customer journey will keep shoppers returning
How subscriptions will grow brands through flexibility, loyalty, and referrals
Why an omnichannel approach will help you turn browsers into buyers
How fast, affordable shipping and memorable unboxing experiences build loyalty
Ways to deliver onsite personalization to build greater customer loyalty
How to turn holiday shoppers into lifetime customers
Let’s stop talking about the new normal. The shifts in our behaviors and attitudes have been so dramatic that even the futurists are struggling to describe the consumer landscape that is emerging.
In retail, the assumptions that took us into 2021 have proved incorrect; we are now way beyond trying to decide how many stores will close and how much money to invest in ecommerce because consumer behavior has made a mockery of this polarised thinking. What actually happened in 2021, more than ever before, was a blurring of channel types, to create new hybrids.
Consider just one customer behavior type – loyal to a few select brands online, but promiscuous in their decision-making. From their choice of store to visit, to how they shop – online or offline, and using home delivery, click and collect and Q-commerce (Quick Commerce) for fast delivery almost interchangeably and certainly unpredictably.
It gets messier; this same customer is using social media to express their dissatisfaction with a brand’s policies on waste, packaging, labeling, staffing, queuing, and so on. At the same time, they are also wearing and tagging the brand’s products across the digital airwaves, promoting to friends and family. Loyal? Disloyal? Or both, depending on the type of engagement?
Keeping pace with customers who have demonstrated great creativity and agility as a knock-on impact of virus induced restrictions has never been tougher and this will come as no consolation to companies that may not have noticed how their competitors have seen an opportunity.
A great deal has been done by companies to catch up to this new consumer; retailers are working hard to improve the experience so that they can retain the swathes of customers they’ve acquired over the past two years, and keep collecting their data to make further improvements. However, there is still a wide gap between what merchants know about their customers online compared to how they use that information to personalize the experience, even allowing for all the great work that has been done with loyalty programs, self-scanning, and apps so that customers are better identified on-site.
And new threats are emerging. A growing new generation of tech companies are already better equipped to meet the high expectations of consumers in 2022. The arrival of Q-Commerce companies, that can deliver orders in as little as 20 minutes, are providing a standard that will steal away the loyalty of consumers from brands unable to meet those levels of service.
Being able to exceed customer expectations by recognizing and overcoming limitations is the battleground now and the weapon to catch up is data. More specifically, harnessing software that gives a much deeper understanding of the customer so that the experience is progressively personalized. You will have read this sentence somewhere before for sure, but the stakes are so much higher in 2022.
While many are still trying to work out a profitable cost to serve model, the competition is putting service before profit to gain market share, in the hope that profit will follow. While it won’t always, the lesson for the incumbents must be to use their data to expand the number of channels they trade through (and that probably includes TikTok), offer more fulfillment methods, communicate regularly and often, and build relationships with customers that are invulnerable to attacks by competitors and upstarts. This will result in better experiences that will motivate shoppers to exhibit more customer loyalty and spend more over time.
How you engender loyalty and retain customers by effectively using their data to personalize the experience must become a central focus this year, not just for marketing but for management, operations, and IT.
How to win in the opt-out era
Cast your mind back to the 2000s. Not to the low-rise jeans and iPod Shuffles. But to the time when ecommerce marketing dramatically changed gears.
This was the time the customer data flood gates opened. Cookies and more affordable digital channels (like Facebook and Instagram) meant marketers could unlock a treasure trove of individual user data. This data became the cornerstone of most digital marketing activities we know today.
But, fast forward to 2021, and this window of opportunity is closing. Privacy updates, spearheaded by Apple and Google, are being noticed by consumers – this year alone iOS updates caused 96% of US users to opt-out of app tracking. And the cost of digital advertising continues to rise (spending on paid search ads increased 32% over the past year). So where does this leave us in 2022?
At LoyaltyLion we see 2022 as the start of the opt-out era. Customers will continue to become more selective about the brands they share their data with and marketers who fail to adapt will be left paying the price. They’ll spend more to reach and acquire new shoppers but won’t be able to collect the customer data they need to retain them, build relationships and increase their lifetime value.
In this chapter, we’re going to show you how to be a winner in the opt-out era and what to do to build trust with your most loyal customers and keep them returning to you in 2022, and beyond.
THE ANSWER TO YOUR OPT-OUT PRAYERS: YOUR INSIDER COMMUNITY
In short, the answer to succeeding in 2022 (and combating the opt-out era) is to focus your attention towards your Insider community* – and moving more shoppers into this customer cohort.
These shoppers are already emotionally invested in your brand and are the most likely to share their personal data with you in exchange for personalized experiences. The deeper the tailored experience you give, the more brand loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases you’ll gain from them.
Plus, the experiences you’ll serve up will attract more of your customers to behave like Insiders and move into this top segment.
But you can’t just leave it up to them to share their data off their own backs. You’ve got to motivate them to want to. Here are three ways to keep Insiders opting into your brand and to show the rest of your customers it’s worth their while to work towards Insider status too.
Defining the Insider community: This is the group of shoppers who are your biggest brand fans and that always drive incremental gains for your business. They create accounts, share personal information, engage with you on social media, refer others, and spend often. Plus, they’re typically the top 20% of your customers that generate around 50% of your total revenue.
CONNECT THE DOTS: INTEGRATE THE TOOLS IN YOUR TECH STACK
To give the best experience to your Insiders this year, start by connecting all tools in your tech stack. This will give you a full data picture of your customers so you can personalize experiences across every channel.
Start by collecting your customers’ preferences through on-site notifications or quizzes. The pet food brand, Edgard & Cooper, uses its loyalty program to incentivize shoppers to complete their “pet profile” with loyalty points.
Once the form is completed, the brand gets information on the pet’s breed, age, and activity level so they can recommend products.
A successful approach as 6 in 10 consumers say they’re loyal to brands that give them personalized product recommendations.
Meanwhile, customers get more loyalty points the more data they share.
You should also connect your loyalty program with your SMS platform and email service provider (ESP) so you can use loyalty data for personalized emails and texts to your most loyal customers.
These could be monthly reminders telling them their personal points balance or notifications when they’ve earned a new reward.
These personalized messages aren’t just about making customers feel good. They make all your channels perform better too:
- Personalized loyalty emails have a 20x higher click-through rate than regular ecommerce emails
- Until Gone (the deal marketplace) told us that their SMS messages get click rates of 25% and conversion rates of over 9% when they include data points from their loyalty program
This is because they have tailored information inside that’s unique to each customer. They stand out from run-of-the-mill, promotion-led marketing.
Once you’ve made your Insiders feel recognized as individuals with personalized experiences, they’ll remain loyal and keep sharing data points in exchange for more of the same in the future. Meanwhile, these experiences will encourage the rest of your shopper base to engage more to move into your Insider segment.
NO MIXED FEELINGS: ALIGN WITH INSIDERS EMOTIONALLY
Next, you need to make sure Insiders feel emotionally connected to your brand so they keep sharing the data you need to retain them.
The first way to do this is to make them feel like VIPs and to show them they’ll get something special in exchange for trusting you with their data.
With loyalty tiers, you can give Insiders bigger and better perks (like surprise gifts or early access to secret sales) in exchange for more information. Or, by opting in, you could give them membership to a private Facebook community where they gain access to deals and exclusive content before other shoppers.
The London-based jewelry brand, Astrid & Miyu, wanted their loyalty program to, “reflect [their] identity and things that are important to building the Astrid & Miyu community”. They now use custom rules and rewards to give shoppers 1,000 loyalty points for recycling their unwanted jewelry as part of their silver recycling initiative.
You could also use your loyalty program to support causes aligned with your brand values (like if you’re cruelty-free or support a charity). If they see you care about the same things they do, Insiders are going to trust you with their data.
Connecting with your Insiders emotionally will keep them returning to engage, spend, and share their data with you over time. This is because they know they’ll get an elevated experience in exchange and can trust you with their details. Plus, if new customers see they can connect with you on this level, they’ll create an account and share their personal data to also get in on the experience.
TEAM PLAYERS: REWARD INSIDERS TO GROW YOUR COMMUNITY
One thing that’s special about your Insider community is that they’re your biggest advocates. When treated well, they’ll grow your community more cost-effectively than classic advertising. And, the bigger your community, the more customer data you have to serve up personalized experiences in 2022.
Next year, reward Insider’s loyalty points for every successful referral they make. You should also remind them of the benefits they’ll get for recommending you in email marketing, through post-purchase notifications, and in order confirmations.
By rewarding Insiders for advocacy, you’ll grow your community with minimal cost to your marketing budget. This is because referrals are built on integrity: 92% of shoppers trust recommendations from people they know over other forms of advertising.
When referred by a loved one, shoppers convert quicker as they’re convinced by the quality of your brand and products right away. You’ll then spend less of your marketing budget to get new customers to convert and can invest more back into elevating your Insider experience.
Plus, once trust is established, you then have the opportunity to nurture those new customers to become Insiders too. You’ll increase their lifetime value as you demonstrate that it’s worth opting into hearing from your brand.
THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL
In 2022 the scope and impact of the opt-out era will become clearer. To be a winner, you’ve got to focus on delivering the best possible experience for your Insider community.
But remember, the success of the tactics above lies in the business-wide foundations you already have. Here’s a quick health check you can run today to make sure you can better serve your Insiders.
- TECHNOLOGY THAT TALKS: an integrated technology stack that’s working towards better experiences for your Insiders across all channels
- PROJECT PASSION: a clear and passionate owner that prioritizes Insiders (and advocates for an Insider-first retention strategy)
- MEANINGFUL METRICS: KPIs to track how opted-in your Insider community are and the impact they’re making on your bottom line (CLTV, loyalty program enrollment, and referral revenue are good places to begin)
- INSIDER INSIGHTS: robust loyalty insights and data you can feed back into personalizing other marketing activity
LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform that powers ecommerce growth. A loyalty program is about more than points and rewards. It is about unlocking real insights to increase customer lifetime value. With LoyaltyLion, you can build a better understanding of what drives longerlasting customer relationships, and use those insights to connect and accelerate your existing marketing efforts. Proven to increase retention and spend, LoyaltyLion is trusted by thousands of fast-growth ecommerce merchants worldwide.
Customer service trends
It’s that time of year when pundits look into their crystal ball to make predictions about the coming year. Predicting what the future may hold is a tremendously useful exercise, but it’s something that customer care leaders don’t always have the time to do. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day realities of a hectic New Year and holiday seasons.
Still there are important trends that will affect customer care teams in 2022, and in the interest of being helpful busy customer care leaders, we present the most important ones here.
BRANDS WILL BE INUNDATED WITH “WHERE’S MY ORDER?” INQUIRIES
Consumers have more money in their pockets, and after nearly two years of putting off vacations and entertainment, they’re ready to spend. But worker shortages, supply chain hiccups and inventory backlogs will challenge businesses in every sector. No one knows when these issues will clear up; some predict they’ll linger well into 2022.
Most people are well aware of the supply chain issues; it’s a topic covered by every major news outlet. Retailers can expect some sympathy and understanding from customers with regards to shipping delays (as well as a fair amount of gratitude whenever they’re able to fulfill their orders quickly). But they can’t take that sympathy for granted, it must be earned.
There are a few things brands can do to build customer loyalty during these trying times. First, they need to make sure that product availability status is up to date on their websites (integrating the ERP with the ecommerce platform will do the trick). There’s nothing worse than placing an order and entering billing and shipping information, only to be informed three days later that the item is backlogged.
If an item is backlogged, brands can invite users to speak or chat with a customer care representative who can help them find a suitable alternative. Shoppers are likely to be flexible about product substitutions given how widespread the shortages are.
Most importantly, keep customers in-the-know with regards to the status of their orders. If their order will arrive later than promised, they should be informed of the delay ASAP (this notification process can be automated by integrating their shipping and customer care platforms).
Lastly, until the supply chain and logistics industries are operating at full capacity once again, all brands should expect their customer care teams to be inundated with “where’s my order” inquiries. Brands might not be able to prevent delays in shipping, but they can eliminate the delays in responses. Macros and pre-written messages can create, personalize and respond to the sender, providing them with the prompt answers they deserve.
CUSTOMER CARE ANYWHERE
Social selling took off in 2020, and it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In 2020 (the last year when totals are available as of this writing), revenue from social sales reached $26.9 billion in the US alone. More than half of all US adults have purchased an item directly from a social feed.
The more people shop via social media, the more “normal” it will feel to large swaths of consumers – for some, social commerce will feel more normal than visiting an actual ecommerce site. But be warned, it will also mean that customers will expect to request and receive customer care in those channels. Enabling “customer care anywhere” will be a key trend in 2022. Achieving that level of customer care, however, will require some sophisticated automation, which brings us to our next trend.
CUSTOMER CARE WILL AUTOMATE IN 2022
According to a recently released Rightpoint, High Tech with a Human Touch: The Role of Real People in the Digital Experience, personal assistance is now table stakes, especially among critical Millennial and Gen Z generations.
Half (48%) of consumers who tend to favor their phone for customer experience interactions still much prefer talking to live agents over digital self-service modes such as searching FAQs, how- tos, policy content or chatbots, the report advises brands.
Meeting the demand for one-on-one care will require thoughtful automation. Over the next 24 months we’ll see brands adopt a combination of automation and AI tools to streamline routine workflows to free up the team’s time to chat or speak with customers.
Workflows high on the list for automation include responding to routine inquiries across all channels (email, live chat on websites, social media profiles and SMS). AI will be deployed to assess the content and sentiment of incoming messages so that they can be routed to the correct team and addressed quickly.
MORE BRANDS WILL SEE CUSTOMER CARE AS A VITAL REVENUE DRIVER
More and more companies view their customer care team as a critical driver of revenue. This isn’t surprising, as they are the first team customers turn to when they have a question that will directly affect their decision to purchase, or when they experience a problem with an order. How customer care responds, and how quickly they do so, will have long-term consequences on customer relationships and lifetime value.
In 2022, more companies will recognize the vital link between customer care and loyalty, and will invest in the tools and training to make sure every interaction is mutually beneficial. What’s more, many companies that have outsourced customer care will bring the function back in house. This is actually a trend that first surfaced back in 2019, as “more companies get the link between service and profit.”
All in all, the 2022 outlook for brands and retailers looks promising, albeit not without its challenges. The best way to address those obstacles is to make sure their customer care teams are positioned for success, and have the tools they need to satisfy every customer and prospect.
Gorgias is the leading help desk for Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce. Over 8,000+ merchants manage their customer communication and tickets in one platform (including email, social media channels, SMS, live chat, and phone). It’s powered with machine learning to automate up to 25% of commonly asked questions, and seamlessly integrates into your existing technology stack to deliver exceptional customer support. Support teams have the ability to keep up with customer service tickets, centralize all customer communication in one platform, turning customer support into a revenue generator.
Unique experiences for your loyal customers
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
It’s no revelation that personalizing your ecommerce store is a powerful way to drive customer retention. The difference is, going into 2022, these unique experiences will become table stakes for cultivating and retaining customer loyalty.
COVID-19 inspired a dramatic change in how most people shop. Two big shifts in shopping behavior that we found in our recent Stackla Visual UGC by Nosto report, were:
- People began exploring new brands: 59% of consumers purchased from new brands since the start of the pandemic – 75% of which are likely to continue purchasing from those brands
- People became more dependent on ecommerce as a shopping channel: 67% of consumers said their online shopping increased since the start of the pandemic (with 27% saying it increased a lot)
As shoppers wade through online stores, scouring the competition, the sites that provide personalized experiences are the ones that will inevitably rise to become the favorites. This same report also found that 72% of people said they are more likely to purchase from a brand if it consistently provides them with a more personalized experience.
Not only this, but as we look ahead, COVID-19 remains a long-term threat to physical retail. Hence, brands must ensure omnichannel consistency and work to bring the personalized elements of in-store shopping to their websites – guaranteeing customers a delightful ecommerce experience that exceeds that of brick-and-mortar and has them returning again and again.
This is exactly what fuelled our client, Dermalogica’s, new personalization offerings, which included a sticky widget that follows users around the site with their skincare recommendations following online consultations – so these aren’t forgotten.
Here are the key areas of personalization we predict will be most fruitful in driving customer loyalty in 2022.
HOW IT WILL HAPPEN
Nailing your segmentation
The key to effective personalization has always been understanding your audience – who are they and what do they want? As the pandemic prevails and continues to hold more of your target audience online, the scope for gathering data on your customers and targeting them more precisely has never been greater.
Now is the time to get smart with segmentation by analyzing your visitors based on their behaviors, demographics, affinities, and more. Then, target shopper segments in different ways to give them more relevant shopping experiences that keep them coming back for more. For instance, you can deliver relevant product recommendations, show pre-selected content based on segment types, and trigger pop-ups based on what the data suggests they’ll respond to.
Note: different personalization solutions will offer different segmentation capabilities. Nosto lets you segment based on almost any combination of factors, including category affinity, brand affinity, gender, lifecycle stage, and so much more.
In fact, Nosto helped hardware retailer, Robert Dyas, personalize product recommendations on its homepage and product detail pages (PDPs) using brand and category affinity data. Enabling the brand to deliver recommendations to browsers based on their affinities to specific brands and types of products led to Robert Dyas’ conversion rates boosting 30% on the PDPs, and by 88% on the homepage.
Naturally, considering browsers’ unique needs this way is going to up their chances of returning to your store. But also, segmentation can be used to more directly impact customer retention. The apparel brand, True Vintage, makes a great example of this. They segmented their most loyal customers and subscribers to provide them with a completely unique – and aptly named – “VIP tier service”. For this, they used Nosto’s Content Personalization to implement incremental discount messaging on their product cart pages to this segment, which in turn drove 15% average order value growth amongst those shoppers. Voila!
User-generated content (UGC) and personalization: a match made in heaven
Though in the world of 2022 ecommerce, customers don’t just need personalized experiences to revisit your online store. They need personalized experiences that feel authentic.
Our same report on post-pandemic shifts in consumer behavior showed that 83% of consumers believe retailers need to provide more authentic shopping experiences. That’s where user-generated content (UGC) comes in.
You see, UGC isn’t the polished, branded content with a sales agenda that today’s customers are flooded with. It’s content from real people. It’s authentic, and it’s relatable. That’s why we are seeing more brands harness it, abandoning brand-centric strategies for consumer-centric strategies that place the spotlight on their followers, loyal customers, and brand advocates. The people customers can relate to.
So when UGC meets on-site personalization, it’s a perfect pairing that heightens relevancy while nurturing customer trust. Use these tools in harmony, and not only are you presenting customers with products they’re more likely to convert on, but you’re modeling it in a way that’s more likely to make them convert.
In 2022, we expect more brands to cotton onto this.
Lush Cosmetics, for example, leverages the authentic and influential content their passionate customers create about their products throughout their digital channels. Using Stackla Visual UGC by Nosto, Lush easily curates the best UGC, creating shoppable galleries on key ecommerce pages that drive inspiration and discovery while helping to shorten paths to purchase and boost conversions.
When we put UGC photos on landing pages, people make quicker purchase decisions because they have fewer questions,” said Sabine Schwirtz, (Former) Community Manager at Lush Cosmetics North America. “I don’t think we’d be able to be as personalized or authentic without the UGC capabilities Stackla (Visual UGC by Nosto) has given us.
Lastly, combining UGC with personalization becomes a virtuous cycle when you’re reaching for customer retention.
Another finding of our data report was that over 60% of consumers would be more loyal to (and buy more from) brands who invite them to join advocacy communities and create content for them to use. Really, this combination’s a no-brainer.
Nosto enables retailers to deliver authentic and personalized digital shopping experiences at every touchpoint. As an AI-powered commerce experience platform designed for ease of use, Nosto empowers retailers to quickly build, launch, and optimize 1:1 omnichannel marketing campaigns and digital experiences without the need for dedicated IT resources.
Why zero-party data will be more critical than ever
You’re already familiar with all the ways you can leverage first, second, and third-party data, but if you want to stand out from the crowd in 2022, you need zero-party data. Forrester Research coined this term in 2020 and defined it as:
Data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand, which can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize them.
In other words, it’s data that customers give you willingly. Instead of tracking visitors’ behavior or purchasing data from external sources, zero-party data is what customers want you to know about them, ethically bypassing privacy updates and legal changes. Zero-party data gives you more opportunities to personalize your marketing and forge more intimate relationships with your audience. They give you essential information about themselves, and in return, you provide hyper-relevant content that keeps them engaged and wins their loyalty.
Zero-party data will be more critical to success than ever in 2022. Let’s dive into why you need it and the best ways to start collecting it:
WHY YOU NEED ZERO-PARTY DATA
Many mobile apps and websites allow users to opt-out of tracking, which means marketers have fewer sources of insight into their preferences and patterns. Google even announced that it would ban all third-party cookies on Google Chrome starting in 2023 (first-party cookies are here to stay, though). Customer acquisition costs are rising, too – with iOS 14’s privacy updates, social media ads are rapidly becoming less targeted, and therefore, less effective and more expensive.
Consumers are understandably wary of being watched. They don’t like not knowing what you’re doing with their data or where you’re getting it from. However, they still expect personalized marketing, so where’s the happy medium? The answer is zero-party data. The real winners of 2022 will collect the right kind of data and be transparent about what they’re using it for, establishing solid trust with their customers. Therefore, shoppers are more likely to feel comfortable enough sharing information about themselves in exchange for individually tailored marketing experiences.
Before you begin collecting zero-party data, though, it’s crucial to plan a strategy for it. Don’t collect data just for the sake of it and don’t collect data you won’t use. Any information you ask for has to ultimately come back to the customer with something valuable – namely, personalization.
HOW TO COLLECT ZERO-PARTY DATA
To get started collecting zero-party data, you can try:
Surveys, polls, and quizzes
Surveys, polls, and quizzes are excellent ways to ask your customers the questions you want answers to most outright. Consumers love to share their opinions, so ask them what they think about your newest products, industry trends, or anything that will help you segment shoppers and provide them value.
Reviews are one of the richest sources of zero-party data. They are an efficient way to open a dialogue between you and your customers: they share data with you, but they can see exactly what you’re asking for in the review display, eliminating any mystery about what kind of information you have about them and what you’re doing with it.
Testimonials are also an excellent way to measure different customer attributes (attributes are details that identify or categorize customers, like age, gender, etc). Whenever customers leave reviews, you can have them chronicle various details about themselves that are relevant to your vertical. For instance, the coffee brand Copper Cow Coffee asks how shoppers typically drink their coffee – hot, iced, or cold brewed. It then segments these customers to sell them products they are more likely to be interested in.
Another brand that makes excellent use of review attributes for personalization is Born Primitive. When customers leave testimonials, the activewear brand asks customers about “performance,” referring to what kind of activities they enjoy, like running, cross-training, yoga, hiking, weightlifting, and more.
This information helps shoppers identify if a particular garment is suited for their needs, and it informs the brand about what activities their customers participate in most. Born Primitive later segments its audience based on performance types and reaches out to them at opportune moments, such as when particular sports are inseason or when athletes are most likely to need replacement gear.
A quick word of advice: attributes are invaluable, but successful brands need to be strategic and request information they’ll actually use to drive personalization and product development. You’ll lose customers’ trust if you ask for too many, which is why we recommend four to five attributes maximum.
WHAT ZERO-PARTY DATA IN ACTION LOOKS LIKE
Those are a few ways to collect zero-party data, but knowing what to do with it is what will set you up for success in 2022.
For example, fashion brand Beginning Boutique asks its customers about what size they purchased and their age range to recommend accurate sizes for repeat purchases and distribute rewards. It’s not too much or too sensitive information customers aren’t willing to share, boosting the brand’s coupon code redemption rate by as much as 53% with post-review email campaigns.
You can also personalize customer experiences through paid ads and SMS. Outdoor lifestyle brand Groove Life applies customer data to optimize the efficiency of both engaging shoppers on a more intimate level and dramatically improving customer retention. The brand notes that by integrating Okendo attribute data with Attentive, it segments its audience by hobbies and has grown its SMS response rate by 72% and its coupon ROI by over 50%.
ZERO-PARTY DATA IS THE FUTURE
The concept of zero-party data has existed for years under different names, but it will be more relevant than ever in 2022 as brands need new ways to understand and connect with their customers.
Reviews are key to glean data directly from shoppers, and combined with insight you have from loyalty, referral programs, and purchase history, you can make next year your strongest yet by painting a much more detailed picture of each individual customer and personalizing their brand experiences without worrying about cookies and third-party data.
Okendo is THE customer review platform for fast-growing Shopify brands. An Official Google Reviews partner and trusted by 4,500+ high-growth consumer brands such Netflix, SKIMS, and Bite, Okendo has all the tools brands need to capture and showcase high-impact social proof through the online buying journey.
How personalization throughout the customer journey will keep shoppers returning
As ecommerce marketing becomes more and more mobile, brands are doubling down on SMS to engage their customers – and some even say it’s their top channel.
Not only does SMS provide a unique opportunity to reach your customers when you know they’re idle and “looking in your window,” but it offers a smart, segmented, and automatic way to send a personalized message straight to the hands of high-intent shoppers. Beyond that, it rewards loyal customers who love your brand while encouraging an ongoing, valuable relationship with your highest-value customers.
Personalization within SMS is what keeps customers returning – and is quickly becoming a priority for marketers. More than 70% said the ability to personalize their text messages is the best way to get the most out of SMS marketing, according to a 2021 commissioned study conducted by Forrester on behalf of Attentive.
But while personalization sounds simple, in practice, it’s anything but. Behind increasing subscriber sign ups, creating effective personalized content for subscribers is the top challenge marketers face when it comes to SMS marketing, according to Attentive’s 2021 SMS Benchmarks Report.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST TACTICAL CHALLENGE WHEN IT COMES TO TEXT MARKETING?
- Increasing subscriber sign-ups
- Developing personalized content that resonates with our target audience
- Using text messaging throughout the entire customer lifecycle
- Optimizing strategy using data analysis
- Preventing subscriber opt-outs
- Integrating text messaging into our existing technology stack
Let’s break down the importance of personalization and how brands using SMS can implement it to keep shoppers coming back in 2022.
THE POWER OF CONSUMER DATA
Using subscriber data is one of the best ways to personalize SMS messages – and marketers are beginning to recognize just how important it is for customer retention.
For starters, using zero-party data – information that customers willingly share with you, such as interests or preferences – is a massive opportunity.
Changes in the privacy landscape have pushed marketers to use zero-party data, attaining it through the checkout process, surveys, or by having customers sign up for a loyalty program. Once marketers have this information, they can personalize their messaging to different segments of their audience, which can boost the overall customer experience – and increase retention.
First-party data – information collected directly from your audience – can also accomplish this. For example, hair and beauty brand Hollywood Hair Bar uses purchase history and website behavior to personalize their Attentive-powered SMS program for subscribers. 12 months after launching their SMS channel, Hollywood Hair Bar has driven $1.7M+ in total revenue and has seen an immediate 57x ROI.
SEGMENTATION BEST PRACTICES
Segmentation is another way to personalize SMS content, as it makes subscribers feel special and familiar to you. You shouldn’t push the same generic messages to a mass of people all the time. That’s where a smart segmentation strategy plays a critical role, allowing you to target the right audience with the right text.
Not only can segmentation help you message customers with relevant content once you’ve identified them, but it also helps you keep building on that loyalty and reward your most valuable customers via SMS.
Here’s a quick primer on segments you could create to send tailored text messages to:
- Engaged vs. Unengaged
- Purchasers vs. Non-purchasers
- High-intent vs. Lapsed
- Tier-based offers for VIPs
Using Attentive’s segmentation builder, Mented Cosmetics creates personalized experiences throughout the customer lifecycle based on various subscriber actions. These include VIP status, frequency of SMS interactions, frequency of purchases, product page views, and geographic locations. Just 10 months after creating their text message program, Mented has seen a 159%+ subscriber increase as well as substantial revenue growth.
The segmentation strategies you choose to implement will ultimately depend on your brand’s goals. Take a close look at your list of SMS subscribers and the data you’ve collected to determine the most effective way to segment them and personalize the content you’re delivering.
PERSONALIZE WITH CONVERSATIONAL COMMERCE
Brands using SMS are prioritizing two-way, real-time interactions – including conversational commerce – to help minimize the friction around checkout, customer service, and transactional updates. And, according to Attentive’s 2021 SMS Marketing Consumer Trends Report, consumers want it. Nearly 70% of consumers said they’d be extremely or very likely to interact with a brand via text message to receive customer support, while another 24% said they’d consider it.
HOW LIKELY WOULD YOU BE TO INTERACT WITH A BRAND FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE VIA TEXT MESSAGING (IF THEY OFFERED IT)?
- 36.14% Extremely Likely
- 33.33% Likely
- 24.37% Maybe
- 4.65% Unlikely
- 1.5% Extremely Unlikely
Source: Attentive Study – December 2020, n=2,000, US consumers ages 16-75
Providing customer support through SMS helps brands connect with customers on a much more personal level, and it’s much faster than email or phone. With SMS, customer support reps can quickly exchange necessary information with consumers, leading to much faster resolutions. Attentive also found that brands who quickly respond to shoppers’ inquiries received via text messaging are driving 31% more spend from customers vs. those who don’t receive replies.
For example, hand-painted clothing brand Wren + Glory uses Attentive’s integration with Gorgias – an all-in-one helpdesk for Shopify merchants – to offer customer support by directly answering requests sent via text message. They also incorporate personal Shopify data to customize responses and boost customer satisfaction.
THE BOTTOM LINE
By taking advantage of SMS marketing – the optimal way to have personalized, 1:1 interaction with consumers across the customer lifecycle – you can put your brand in the best position possible to increase revenue and customer retention.
Attentive is the most comprehensive text message marketing solution, driving 20.5% of total online revenue for businesses by creating thoughtful SMS experiences. Using real-time behavioral data, Attentive makes it possible for businesses to automatically send engaging text messages to each subscriber. Over 4,000 leading businesses like CB2, Pura Vida, Urban Outfitters, Rebecca Minkoff, Steve Madden, and more rely on Attentive and see strong performance, like 30%+ click-through rates and 25x+ ROI.
How subscriptions will grow brands through flexibility, loyalty, and referrals
In what feels like a lifetime ago, the beginning of the pandemic (and subsequent lockdowns) brought on many challenges as businesses adjusted to the new existential reality. Due to social distancing, many brands had to pivot their strategies by shifting their efforts from brick-and-mortar to online retail. In doing so, consumers desired more connection. Not only with other people but also with the brands they bought from.
Subscriptions were a way to maintain this constant connection through convenience and exclusive experiences. As a result, merchants saw their subscriber base grow by as much as 91% in a year. For merchants, the growth meant they could turn one-time transactions into long-term customer relationships.
With the explosive growth of 2020 and despite many businesses reopening their brick-and-mortar doors in 2021, the online subscription model continued to show stable growth. Clearly, the subscription model is here to stay.
Looking towards 2022, we expect to see a strong trend in merchants capitalizing even further on their recent growth. They’ll focus on owning their customer’s data, providing subscribers with more flexibility, and will accelerate their retention strategies to incentivize subscribers to stay subscribed longer.
Keep reading for more on these topics and to learn how to become a part of the predicted $500 million growth of the subscription market over the next three years.
CONNECTING WITH CUSTOMERS AND A SHIFT TOWARDS ZERO AND FIRSTPARTY DATA
Back in 2021, Apple released a series of iOS updates around its consumer privacy tracking. These immediately impacted merchants all over the industry as Facebook, Instagram, and other ad platform algorithms became less powerful meaning they could no longer rely on app usage data to target potential customers.
As industry trends continue to shift towards more protection of consumer privacy, many of the acquisition channels that leverage third-party data have now become less reliable. This has made it more difficult for you to confidently determine how well your investments in ad spend are performing.
In 2022, we will see a growing trend in brands owning and learning more from visitors. They’ll then be able to better distribute this high-quality data across their integrated tools and move towards a more automated business.
A place to start would be to use subscription data, alongside data extracted from your other tools, to gain accurate, valuable insights about the performance of your brand interactions. This will allow you to create personalized shopping experiences that your customers will love, opening up new opportunities for future purchases.
FLEXIBILITY WILL BE THE KEY TO STABILITY
This particular trend may come off counterintuitive to many as some may think that giving customers more options to manage their subscription could cause them to churn altogether. But the data shows that subscribers are increasingly more interested in customizable options that work best for them.
Brands that give their subscribers more flexibility to manage their subscriptions in 2022 will see an improvement in the key performance indicators that matter (such as retention rates, average order value, and lifetime value). Contrary to popular belief, providing more flexibility does not increase churn. In fact, providing customers with the option to simply skip a shipment in a month or swap out products provides them with opportunities to engage with your brand and customize the experience for themselves.
Opening up the same flexibility to subscribers in 2022 will boost brand loyalty and reduce the likelihood of your subscribers churning. For example, recent research shows that subscribers who swap the products they’re subscribed to over the course of two months spent 33.7% more. More astonishingly, subscribers that swap multiple times over the course of 12 months spent 78.7% more! This helps prevent product fatigue that could lead to churn.
In 2022, Brands are now expected to shift and change to meet the varying needs of their customers. Being flexible and giving customers options centered around your products, delivery schedule, payment, and communication allow you to keep with others in the market.
With new features, like RechargeSMS, a transactional SMS solution, or a fully integrated tech stack, you’ll be able to rise to meet your customer’s needs in 2022 by giving them flexibility across their customer experience.
CREATING LOYALTY AT SCALE
As mentioned before, brands through the course of 2020 and 2021 experienced accelerated growth. Now that the subscription model has proven itself to be a reliable source for brands to maintain recurring revenue streams, this year will see many subscription brands implement more strategies to keep customers subscribed for longer. All in all, building their subscribers’ lifetime value.
The good news is that many of the tools and capabilities already exist in platforms like Recharge when they’re integrated with other tools in your tech stack. For example, by using LoyaltyLion’s integration with Recharge, you can allow your loyalty program members to redeem points earned from previously processed recurring orders. Then, they can redeem those points to apply a discount on their upcoming subscription orders. Not only that, but you can also place other incentives, such as a free gift, further down the recurring order sequence as well.
This method can also grow your subscriber base too. By offering points and rewards to your existing subscribers for referring others to your brand, you’ll be able to acquire new customers in your ideal target market for less investment than costly acquisition channels. Ultimately, in 2022 you should work to foster ongoing relationships at scale by incentivizing subscribers to stay subscribed, while increasing your acquisition while you’re at it.
2022 WILL BE MONUMENTAL (NOT QUITE ON A METAVERSE LEVEL, BUT BIG)
Overall, what we’ll see in 2022 is a deeper dive into the capabilities of data and an integrated tech stack to create more customized experiences.
Many brands will discover new, creative ways to identify what customers are looking to gain, then find creative ways to incentivize them to not only come back for more, but to also become advocates. It’s clear that as more brands have shifted online over the past two years, the same emotional connections that used to work for them in real-life brick-and-mortar situations will become ever more present in ecommerce. These will be the trends that dominate 2022.
Recharge is the leading subscription management solution, helping ecommerce merchants of all sizes launch and scale their subscription offerings. Recharge’s subscription billing and payment management solutions are designed to help merchants grow by increasing revenue and customer lifetime value while reducing operating costs and churn. Today, Recharge powers subscriptions for more than 50 million subscribers across 15,000 merchants, including fast-growing brands such as Billie, Bokksu, LOLA, The Sill, and Native. Recharge is a remote-first company with more than 500 team members across 15 countries.
Why an omnichannel approach will help you turn browsers into buyers
THE OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE
While most are familiar with multichannel ecommerce, the goal for most businesses in 2022 should be perfecting an omnichannel approach. While multichannel ecommerce includes selling products across multiple channels, the omnichannel approach includes giving your customers the best experience across all platforms as well.
90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels
Designing a killer omnichannel experience isn’t easy. In 2021 we saw how the hyperconnected nature of customer relationships with brands impacted the industry. In 2022 we predict this relationship will grow even further.
Using multiple channels can increase business ROI by 24%
So, how can you create a strong omnichannel experience? With so many moving parts, it’s imperative to have the right tech stack.
To adapt to the trend, there are a few key optimizations we’ve seen create success for businesses in all industries.
Customers everywhere are increasingly paying attention to their ecological footprint. The pandemic, as well as younger generations, are both putting the spotlight on sustainability.
The Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of buyers actively want to align themselves with brands that conduct their business in an environmentally sustainable manner. Using technology with an open API network allows quick integrations with the perfect tools to support company values.
Crafting customer care
If you don’t have a grasp on the products you sell, it’s difficult to execute excellent customer service.
Inventory management techniques equip your company to serve customers with confidence since you’ll have the knowledge necessary to take care of their concerns.
In the ecommerce industry, you need to be quick, responsive, and provide awesome customer service, that’s why we needed the right platform to automate processes that slow us down and cause errors. Skubana gives us reliable information and helps us fulfill faster than ever before. – Global Supply Chain Director for Viscata, Guillaume Benoit
OMNICHANNEL INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
Omnichannel inventory management is the process of managing inventory across all sales channels, which includes your online store, brick-and-mortar stores, social media shops, mobile pop-ups, and more.
Most retailers start with separate inventory management systems for each channel they sell on which is a huge mistake. Trying to manage each sales channel individually is inefficient, costly, and time-consuming.
To track and maintain business growth this year, you need a clear view of your inventory across all channels.
Omnichannel inventory management software allows retailers to track inventory levels across multiple sales channels on a single platform. It’s imperative to maintain stock levels across all channels as well. Finding the balance so you’re not understocked or overstocked is needed for guaranteed customer satisfaction.
27% of consumers would be very likely to leave and visit another retailer’s store if a product is out of stock
Conversely, if you are overstocked, you are cutting into your profits by using unnecessary warehouse space.
Strategies to get rid of excess stock include discount pricing, flash sales, and creative product bundling.
As ecommerce continues to grow, we are also seeing an increase in customer control. Online shoppers are outlining when, where, and how they want to shop. Before making a purchase, 81% of customers conduct online research. Do you have access to this data?
Without implementing technology with predictability capabilities, there is no way to stay on-trend. Your customers are talking through their data, make sure you’re listening.
Skubana allows you to get real-time syncing so you can maintain control as your sales volume increases across multiple channels.
The average order value is 13% more per order on omnichannel vs. single channel
In addition to real-time accuracy, it’s vital to utilize cross-channel reporting with detailed data on revenue, order, and units sold. Having a single view allows you to respond to new orders quickly and accurately.
Remember: it is all about the customer experience. If you don’t know if a product is available, how is that going to translate into customer satisfaction?
To retain customers, we’ve seen brands increase their communication across all channels. Proactive messaging to notify customers of shifting stock levels, shipping delays, unforeseen issues, etc. increases the likelihood of them returning
There are huge benefits to getting ahead of demand with a seamless omnichannel fulfillment experience. By honing in on customer interactions, you can move inventory based on demand to the necessary channels.
The Aberdeen Group reports that 77% of strong omnichannel companies store customer data across channels, compared to 48% for weak omnichannel companies.
An example of a strong omnichannel fulfillment strategy includes flexing your warehouses. With Skubana, you can fulfill non-FBA orders using Amazon FBA inventory through a process called multi-channel fulfillment (MCF).
If a product is out of stock at your warehouse, but in stock somewhere else, multichannel fulfillment allows you to continue fulfilling orders by routing them to where your stock levels are still high.
We’ve all seen an increase in supply chain hurdles last year.
To navigate an unprecedented supply chain in 2022, you need to partner with an order management system (OMS) that makes sure you give smooth communication between your segments.
Utilizing outdated technology at this point is detrimental to business growth and customer retention. 2022 is the time to implement tools that speed up your fulfillment process.
Barcode scanners and RFID tags, for example, give you a more reliable snapshot of your inventory allowing you to communicate expectations with high accuracy.
By maximizing all of your ecommerce channels and increasing customer convenience, you’re sure to see an increase in sales and profitability.
Product availability will directly impact your customer retention rate. Another benefit is an upgraded brand reputation.
One study found that almost 75% of shoppers use multiple channels to find discounts, compare prices, or use in-store tablets to browse products online.
By appearing on the multitude of channels your customers and prospects are browsing on, you are increasing the likelihood of converting those browsers into buyers.
As ecommerce grows, so does the competition. To remain competitive in 2022, you need to implement an omnichannel approach.
Through seamless inventory management and fulfillment, you can reap the benefits of strategic business growth and expansion.
Founded in 2015, Skubana is an operations software for online merchants. The platform unifies backend data, orders, inventory, POs – and more – so brands can sell direct to everywhere from one place. Analyze detailed data on every SKU to boost your margins, bottom line, and organizational efficiency while automating POs, identifying shipping deals, and finding opportunities for cost-cutting and profitability
How fast, affordable shipping and memorable unboxing experiences build loyalty
Fulfillment is the supply chain stage where merchants have the most control over what the customer receives, how they receive it, and when. By strategically targeting your brand’s transit times, shipping costs, and unboxing experience, you can directly impact the customer experience to drive higher customer loyalty.
In this chapter, we’ll dive deeper into how your brand can offer two-day shipping and create unforgettable unboxing experiences to keep your customers coming back throughout 2022.
MEETING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS THROUGH FAST SHIPPING
Today’s shoppers not only prefer fast shipping; they expect it. In fact, 67% of shoppers expect two-day delivery, and 85% of shoppers are more likely to buy when it’s offered. So, if you’re not offering two-day or expedited shipping today, now’s the time.
Here are a few strategies you can implement in your supply chain to speed up shipping, reduce costs, and meet and beat your customers’ fast shipping expectations.
Optimize fulfillment processes
Quick shipping alone isn’t enough to deliver the seamless delivery experience that customers will expect next year. For two-day shipping, you’ll need a supply chain that’s optimized for efficiency at every stage of fulfillment.
Try implementing these warehousing best practices to shorten lead time for customers:
- Hone inventory receiving SOPs for efficiency
- Adopt an inventory management system that tracks inventory levels to prevent stockouts
- Automate simple or repetitive fulfillment processes to speed up operations and reduce fulfillment errors
- Utilize a dashboard that provides real-time data and analytics to identify and resolve bottlenecks quicker
Consider a distributed inventory strategy in 2022
In a distributed inventory model, a business divides its inventory among multiple strategically located warehouses or fulfillment centers (based on where their customers live), storing a portion of their inventory in each one. By distributing inventory across locations, you can intelligently route each order to the closest fulfillment center to reduce transit times and shipping costs.
As demonstrated on the below map, utilizing three fulfillment centers in the US, instead of one, greatly reduces the number of high-cost shipping zones a brand is required to ship to. This lowers the average shipping cost for your customers and provides a way to give two-day coverage through ground shipping.
Partner with a 3PL
Optimizing fulfillment operations is usually easiest for merchants when they partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL). As logistics experts, 3PLs like ShipBob are equipped with the best practices, technology, and infrastructure to run efficient fulfillment centers that get orders to customers quickly and cost-effectively.
In 2022, securing two-day shipping is also easier with a 3PL. One will not only distribute inventory throughout an extensive fulfillment network but will also offer a 2-Day Express shipping option that gives merchants 100% coverage across the US – even from just one fulfillment center.
Outsourcing fulfillment and shipping operations in 2022 will boost efficiency while reducing shipping costs and speed, all of which come together to produce quicker, more accurate, and more satisfying deliveries that drive customer retention.
3PLs enable an easy mode of distributed inventory through vast fulfillment networks, so brands don’t have to purchase land, get multiple warehouse leases, invest in equipment, or hire fulfillment teams to pick and pack orders. Some 3PLs even have global locations, making it easy to expand overseas.
DESIGNING MEMORABLE UNBOXING EXPERIENCES
While surprises can disrupt even the best-laid shipping plans, there is one aspect of the customer experience that brands should have total control over this year: the unboxing experience.
The moment a customer opens their order is one of the most important touchpoints with your customer (and not to mention, one that has the closest thing to a 100% open rate).
By putting care and attention into making the experience memorable, your brand is investing in a positive first impression that could yield many more repeat purchases. To help your brand stand out and win a customer’s loyalty, here are a few tips for designing an unforgettable unboxing experience in 2022.
Custom boxes or poly mailers are the first thing most businesses think of when considering custom packaging. Other options include custom packaging tape or stickers, which you can use to decorate the exterior and interior of your box. This helps you to build brand recognition at a lower cost, which is a great option for small businesses. There are even ecofriendly packaging options.
It’s the curated look of an unboxing that makes it shareable, so an arrangement that gives your customers something to delight in (and take photos of) is the key to making a first-time lasting impression.
When customers open their packages, you want your products to look as though they’ve been carefully arranged, rather than stuffed in the box. Die-cut cardboard inserts are great for giving your box a clean and structured feel. Otherwise, you can use a layer of tissue paper, branded filler paper, or cellophane to hold products together.
Unboxing is the one moment you have your customer’s full attention, so including promotional inserts in shipments is a no-brainer. Discount codes and coupons encourage re-engagement, and free samples are even more appreciated. Adding these inserts with your orders costs you very little in comparison to the gratification it gives your customer. It also goes a long way towards creating the all-important value-added perception.
Tailoring parts of your unboxing experience directly to your customer’s desires goes a long way toward developing a relationship with your brand. In 2022, let your customers add custom, heartfelt gift notes at checkout if they are sending a present — if all goes well, both the giver and receiver leave with a good impression of your brand.
Including a note or two in your package is really the icing on the cake. Branded, personal notes in your customer’s orders make the unboxing experience even more memorable — handwritten notes even more so. While it might not be scalable, this sort of gesture is extremely effective, especially for businesses looking to build a loyal customer base.
Customer loyalty relies on successful ecommerce fulfillment. With these tips, you can optimize your fulfillment, enable affordable two-day shipping, and create an unboxing and delivery experience that wins customers over again and again.
ShipBob is a global logistics platform that fulfills ecommerce orders for direct-to-consumer brands. Our mission is to make you more successful online by providing best-in-class fulfillment so your customers get the fast and affordable shipping they expect. With reliable fulfillment services, warehouses near your customers, and connected technology that powers our fulfillment network, we help improve transit times, shipping costs, and the delivery experience for your customers.
Ways to deliver onsite personalization to build greater customer loyalty
IMPORTANCE OF CRO WHEN IMPROVING CUSTOMER LOYALTY
The value of customer loyalty for ecommerce brands is paramount, especially in 2022. From the rising customer acquisition costs (CACs), resources and time required, and lower lifetime values of customers that don’t come back often (if they do at all), loyalty is a crucial component for any high-achieving ecommerce business.
While there are several different elements in motion for loyalty-focused businesses, it’s essential that visitors have a great on-site experience. This is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) and personalization come into play. If your site isn’t optimized to meet – if not exceed– customer expectations, it becomes much more difficult to convert a one-time conversion into a long-term customer relationship. This is especially true for brands in 2022.
So, let’s dive into how to use CRO, namely personalization, to optimize and augment your brand’s loyalty program.
USING FIRST-PARTY DATA TO COMMUNICATE MORE EFFECTIVELY
First, it’s essential that you’re collecting data from your customers directly. Whether it’s just an email and a name (basic) or a full-fledged profile on them with their product preferences, birthday, gender, and more (advanced), if you’re not collecting data, you’re behind.
Without knowing anything about your returning visitors, they’ll receive the same messaging each time they visit your site. With a proper data list behind you, you can personalize the messaging that fires when those visitors return to your site.
The best way to get started?
In 2022, create a lead capture promotion live on your site as soon as they land there to start collecting visitors’ emails, phone numbers, names, and any other data that’s useful. Once you build up a nice data well (that you own!), you can segment and create cohesive experiences across all channels. We’ll dive into these next.
SEGMENTING WEBSITE VISITORS AND DELIVERING CREATIVE, COHESIVE EXPERIENCES AT EVERY STAGE
One of the tactics that top brands will use in 2022 is UTM parameters for their pop-ups. These track where a website visitor came from – an email, social media post, or paid ad – and fire only for them.
Use this approach to create cohesive experiences across all of your marketing channels with mirrored messaging, creative, and offers. For example, if you are running a promotion only through your social channels to reinforce social engagement, target visitors coming only from those channels to continue that campaign as they land on your site.
These can be used and expanded endlessly across your entire website. You can use intelligent tracking rules that provide an in-depth look at the visitors coming onto your site.
INTELLIGENT PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS
One of the best things larger brands utilize is intelligent product recommendations. Think of Amazon. If you look at a few products, you’ll soon see them again throughout the site alongside related products you’re likely to be interested in. However, despite some misconceptions in the industry, brands of any size can take advantage of product recommendations in 2022.
Whether you want to display your best sellers on your home page, recommend products alongside others they’re viewing (using upsells or cross-sells) or use in-cart product recommendations, you can segment and target endlessly to improve the personalization you give all visitors. Plus, you don’t need a million website visitors a month to optimize them.
KEEP IT AUTHENTIC
CRO strategies in your on-site experience also provide ample opportunities to create an authentic and real experience. Do this by using fun creative and copy for your promotions; showcase the brand story or behind-the-brand information to show customers both how and why you care.
Additionally, use promotions to provide important information like brand updates, new products, shipping delays, and more. This will maintain a level of transparency and answer their questions before they even have them (and, by extension, reduce your customer support load!).
The trust between customer and brand is critical to maintain and uphold. If a customer doesn’t trust your site, they won’t buy from it – simple. If they’re going to come back, give them a reason to trust and care about purchasing from you. With the world of ecommerce only getting bigger and bigger, standing out is important, and the best way is through giving them an authentic experience.
SO, HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO BUILDING CUSTOMER LOYALTY?
As noted earlier, there are many different elements that go into building customer loyalty and these are still only just a few. However, each of the above examples fits into the theme of personalized, authentic experiences.
For example, by incorporating product recommendations and segmenting your visitors, you’ll be designing a consistent shopping experience across your brand that only gets better the more often you shop. Today’s consumers have increasingly high expectations of the brands they shop from, and this is the best way to improve their experience in 2022. You can’t expect your customer retention rate to be high when there are significant discrepancies between experiences.
Additionally, if you assume that the customer journey ends as soon as a visitor completes a purchase, you’ll be making a huge mistake. The moment of purchase should be looked at as the start of a long-term relationship. Customers will be the most excited and engaged with your brand the moment after they purchase. They’ve made the leap, so make sure to catch them and reward them for coming back over the coming months and years.
Justuno is the premiere on-site conversion optimization platform with personalized messaging, AI-powered product recommendations, and advanced visitor intelligence technology to help businesses turn visitors into customers. With over 11 years of experience serving more than 20,000 customers, Justuno empowers brands and agencies alike to create better website experiences through personalized touchpoints, comprehensive analytics, robust traffic segmentation, and more.
How to turn holiday shoppers into lifetime customers
Shoppers spent almost $110 billion between November 1-29 in 2021 and, according to analysis of over 675 million emails, merchants earned 37% more sales from their campaigns compared to last year.
The challenge for those stores now is to prevent these new customers from disappearing, and instead encourage them to become repeat buyers. We believe that this focus will be a trend for 2022, but there are a couple of significant challenges:
- Apple’s recent updates make it easy for users to hide that they opened an email, and to unsubscribe from emails with a single click
- Those shoppers will receive lots of emails from different stores trying to win more of their business, which creates a lot of noise for you to get lost in
But here’s the good news: with the right strategies, you can continue to reach your audience and effortlessly stand out to keep your brand fresh in their mind.
In this article, we’ll show you the strategies that will help you to capitalize on retaining new customers in 2022.
SEGMENT YOUR AUDIENCE
The first rule of getting someone’s attention is giving them what they want to receive. Take a second to put yourself in their shoes: when you get generic or junk emails in your inbox, how do you behave? Do you take the time to read them thoroughly, excitedly looking at the various offers, or do you tut in disgust and delete them? Most likely it’s the latter.
Now think about the messages that do get you to stop and think. In most cases, they’re highly relevant to you. For example, they might be:
- Products similar to items you previously purchased e.g., different color variations of a t-shirt
- Care tips for items you have purchased e.g. how to wash clothes without losing the color
- Tips on using your items in different ways e.g. styling an item of clothing for different seasons or events
- Items to use alongside your purchases e.g., clothing accessories
These are all genuinely helpful emails – if sent to the right people. They’ll quickly be marked as spam if sent to the wrong people because nobody wants care tips for items they don’t own, or to be sent a sales message for something they’ve already bought.
Remember: it’s the audience, not the message, that determines how useful a message is.
Segmentation can also boost loyalty to your brand. The global pandemic resulted in people trying different shopping behaviors, and price and convenience both became important factors in buying decisions. By sending useful communications to a relevant audience, you help to build and maintain loyalty.
HOW TO SEGMENT EFFECTIVELY
There are two main ways to segment your audience based on data you already have (such as their purchase history) and data you can ask for, such as: gender, birthday, interests
For information you need to request, you have to strike a balance – asking for just enough information, but not too much.
If you’re not sure where the line is, think of it this way: it makes sense to ask for their gender or birthday, but not their eye color.
Consider this pop-up example by Ask&Embla. Beyond the usual email address field, it asks new subscribers to share their gender and interests as well. This way, Ask&Embla can segment the audience into more granular categories, making sure every message is highly relevant. Those recipients are much more likely to open the email, enjoy the content, and become repeat buyers.
You could also ask visitors for their birthday and send them special offers as the date approaches, or just stay in mind with a simple “happy birthday” message.
Another approach is segmenting by engagement, which sends messages based entirely on behavior rather than individual characteristics. Less-engaged audience members could receive a message along the lines of “we haven’t heard from you in a while, here’s what’s new” while highly engaged members could get VIP exclusives.
INCORPORATE OTHER CHANNELS
Email is an essential channel. But it’s not the only one to consider.
Your email may land in the spam folder or get lost in a busy inbox, so the recipient might miss it. An SMS is more likely to be seen almost immediately. In fact, compared to 2020, there were 39% more promotional SMS messages sent in 2021, with a 9% increase in orders.
SMS texts are restricted to short messages and are likely to be seen quickly. This makes them great for delivering time-sensitive information like flash sales or order updates. Or you could use them in the same way as Terry’s Florist and welcome new subscribers with a link to specific products:
For a third option, consider push notifications. These appear on the person’s computer desktop, where they’re likely to catch attention straight away. They can be used for:
- Order updates
- Recovering abandoned carts
- Announcing new products or promotions
- Sending personalized messages using segmentation
For any business that wants to increase customer retention rates, automation should be high on the list of things to implement in 2022. Last year, it drove 31% of all orders despite comprising just 5% of all sends via email, SMS, and push notifications. Versus 2020, there was a 22.8% increase of orders from automated SMS and 27% from email.
Automating campaigns means that the right people get the right message at the right time – every time. As Sara Florin, Senior Director of Branding and Marketing at Kerrits, said in an interview:
My automated messages are just in the background, constantly generating money without me doing anything.
Meanwhile, Paper Style incorporated personalization and automation and saw a 330% increase in overall company revenue.
With your segmentation in place, it’s possible to send offers to specific groups at a given time. Automation also means you can send a higher volume, at regular intervals.
Your automated messages can include your welcome message, upsells, review requests, promotions, rewards, and re-engagement campaigns. Plus, automation can incorporate multiple channels, such as SMS and emails, in the same campaign.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
If we do see a trend in 2022 of more stores trying to retain new customers, and of buyers using Apple’s new privacy features to be more discerning about their inbox, then it will be important to find ways for your business to stand out.
Fortunately, the communication tools at our disposal now mean that turning holiday shoppers into lifetime customers is easier than ever before. Ultimately it comes down to the following:
- Put yourself in their shoes
- Segment your audience into different groups
- Send those groups relevant, personalized messages
- Incorporate multiple platforms instead of relying solely on email
- Use automation
Omnisend makes all of this simple to implement, and you can get started for free.
Omnisend is an ecommerce-tailored email and SMS marketing automation platform built to help nimble teams drive more revenue without increasing their workload. Oneclick ecommerce stack integrations, pre-built workflows, and intuitive drag and drop editing make it easy to get up and running without diving into the smallest details, unless you want to.
More than 70,000 ecommerce brands including Duke Cannon, Black Halo, Samsung, Jiggy, Hallmark & others use Omnisend to grow their businesses on autopilot, converting their customers with quick-to-build, highly relevant emails and texts.