In today’s digitally-driven world, the power has shifted from retailers and brands to consumers. Now, the only way to create and keep a competitive edge and build loyalty amongst online shoppers is to deliver relevant consumer experiences.
Loyalty is no longer earned solely by brands’ products or services. There are so many more factors that consumers consider now when online shopping – most importantly, the need to feel connected to and understood by brands.
Here are three key things that brands should consider when trying to connect with today’s consumers:
1. Consumer shopping behaviors aren’t going back to pre-pandemic norms. The pandemic shifted consumer purchases to digital channels, and it appears that behavior is here to stay. In fact, 60 percent of interactions with brands today happen digitally, which is up from 42 percent in pre-pandemic environments. Now, people are conducting more research on their purchases, comfortable switching brands more frequently, and placing a higher premium on digital experiences.
Furthermore, 70 percent of consumers say they only engage with personalized brand messages. To be successful now, personalization is no longer simply “nice to have” – marketers must go beyond demographic segments to deliver relevant content and product recommendations and improve the consumer experience.
2. Consumer engagement goes beyond just making a purchase. In many ways, the digital consumer journey is more complex. There are more touchpoints and even if consumers don’t buy anything, every touchpoint could eventually bring them back. Consumers aren’t just looking for a good product anymore, they’re looking for your brand to add value throughout the consumer experience. In short, feeling connected and understood is more important to consumers than being sold to.
Personalized experiences show your consumers that you know them and care about them, which makes them more likely to return in the future. As a brand, the value you add comes from helping consumers find exactly what they’re looking for before they know they’re looking for it. To do this effectively, brands need to understand the context of their consumers, using both historical and real-time data to predict what consumers are looking for at any moment.
3. Brand loyalty is built on trust and connection. As consumers shop more online, they’re also more likely to switch to the competition if they’re not satisfied with the experience.
The foundations of your relationship with consumers in the short-term is whether they can find what they’re looking for and feel connected, but in the long-term it’s do they trust your brand? Are they confident your brand will meet their needs every single time? Consumers want to feel like you understand them, without feeling like you’re spying on them. To build this trust you need to create relevant experiences while respecting consumers’ privacy and collect/use data effectively with this in mind.
Consumers have the power in today’s world – brand loyalty isn’t a given anymore, no matter how many five-star reviews your product gets. By connecting the dots on meaningful and becoming reliable in delivering personalized consumer experiences, you can make sure your hard-earned customers stick with your brand for the long-haul.
The author, Diane Keng, is the CEO and co-founder of Breinify, an artificial intelligence and contextual marketing platform for consumer enterprises to predict and act on an individual’s highly dynamic interests.