Advertise with fastmoving.co.za
 
 

Retailers are preparing for a bumper sales season to mitigate the slow retail sales growth experienced during much of the year.
Retailers are preparing for a bumper sales season to mitigate the slow retail sales growth experienced during much of the year.

The hidden customer engagement tool lying dormant at every retailer

MARKETING NEWS

By Daniel Logan, Managing Director: Prodigi Africa - Dec 12th 2018, 09:18

With two prime shopping periods ahead - Black Friday and the Festive Season shopping extravaganza - retailers are preparing for a bumper sales season to mitigate the slow retail sales growth experienced during much of the year. Consumers have been under pressure from VAT hikes, petrol price increases and a stagnant economy.  

Spending has slowed, and retailers have had to quickly adapt to ensure they can compete for share of wallet. There is great hope that the upcoming shopping period will restore some semblance of profitability and growth in these tough times.

Customer engagement - a retailer's ability to capture and keep its customers' attention in order to sell more products more effectively - has emerged as a vital tool for retailers. Engaged customers not only spend more, but they are more satisfied with the overall customer experience and display greater loyalty than less engaged customers.

The bottom line impact is unquestionable: fully engaged customers represent a 23% premium in terms of revenue, relationship growth and share of wallet compared to the average customer. In a global study by Edelman, customers that continue to support a company or brand over time spent 67% more than new customers, raising the stakes for effective customer engagement strategies to maintain customers’ attention and interest.

The great challenge of effective engagement
But this task - of building strong customer engagement strategies - is made all the more difficult by the confluence of several factors. The average human attention span has plummeted from 12 seconds in 2000 to less than 8 seconds today. In fact, a Facebook study found users interacted with a single piece of content on the platform via their mobile phones for as little as 1.7 seconds before moving on to the next.

Part of the reason is consumers' unlimited choice: technology has made it possible for consumers to personalise vast parts of their lives by choosing from a virtually endless range of products, information, options and customisations. Any engagement activity that requires this type of customer to change their habits in a fundamental way is doomed to fail: the convenience of modern life simply makes it too easy to find a less demanding alternative.

To increase their customer engagement capabilities, retailers are investing in a range of technologies to better understand their customers based on accurate data, and then to introduce a variety of offers and other value-adding services based on this data.

The modern customer engagement toolkit includes loyalty, rewards, discounts, mobile payments, data and analytics, and advanced business intelligence capabilities that assist retailers with creating individual customer profiles for improved engagement. By digitising their customers’ preferences and purchasing habits, retailers gain access to a goldmine of data. But having the data is not enough: the true value lies in mining that data for actionable insights that drive revenue and profit.

The unifying (and vastly underused) customer engagement tool
The challenge with these tools is that different types of customers - whether by age, cultural background, lifestyle choice, need-state or geographic area - want their engagement to take different forms, whether it's loyalty, mobile payments, discounts, improved marketing communications, or value-adds that fall outside the retailer's product offering (think Kauai smoothies for Vitality members, for example).

Research backs this: according to Gallup, 25% of Millennial shoppers are fully engaged customers, but their engagement is highly dependent on technology. Having a proper omnichannel strategy in place that incorporates all the various forms of customer engagement can be prohibitively expensive and highly complex to implement.

However, a dormant and often overlooked tool is within reach of every single retailer with a card or cash payment facility (which, let's face it, is every retailer). The humble receipt has quietly evolved into an accessible digital tool that creates a direct and seamless channel for cost-effective customer engagement. Digital receipts, sent to a customer's smartphone via SMS, MMS or email, contains all the information needed for proof of purchase, warranty and insurance purposes, but offers so much more in terms of engagement.

Through a single once-off on-boarding, retailers start gaining deep insights into the purchasing habits of customers whether they're paying by cash or card. And with every purchase, a digital receipt can be sent that contains value-adding information or offers linked to that customer's purchasing habits. It's a non-invasive means of opting customers into a retailer's customer engagement activities that delivers on-going value to both retailer and customer.

With the peak shopping period at our doorstep, retailers are understandably focused on ensuring they make hay while the sun still shines. But it's an opportune time to also start thinking of how to improve their competitiveness once things inevitably quiet down in January. Digital receipting may just be the tool that retailers need to start engaging more effectively with customers in a cost-effective, non-invasive way. What are you waiting for?

 

Related News

SA "Black Friday" sales expected to rise 30% year-on-year
18/10/2019 - 12:50
South African businesses have begun preparing for what looks to be another bumper Black Friday trading day, with sales predicted to be up 30 percent from last year, online largest payment service provider PayGate said.

Pick n Pay unveils its revamped "On Nicol" flagship store
18/10/2019 - 10:59
Pick n Pay’s flagship store On Nicol officially welcomed customers after a comprehensive revamp. The refurbished store has an exciting array of new offerings with the very best in retail concepts developed in South Africa and from around the world. Customers can expect an enhanced fresh food experience, a huge focus on product quality, a much-improved range, innovative third-party services, and refreshed customer service.

Consumers are pushing transformation in the retail industry
18/10/2019 - 10:54
Hearing from some of the best speakers in the retail industry, 480 minutes of thought-provoking and relevant insights, amazing networking opportunities and the exchange of ideas. The realisation that the retail sector is rapidly changing and to survive and ensure sustainability, businesses need to evolve – it is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a necessity – this was the 2019 SACSC Congress.

Marks & Spencer targets new store concept in bid to drive growth
18/10/2019 - 10:18
For a taste of CEO Steve Rowe’s ambitions to transform Marks & Spencer Group (M&S), look no further than its newly refurbished shop in London’s Clapham neighbourhood.

Food garden provides sustenance and jobs in rural community
18/10/2019 - 09:45
Community food gardens are often started to provide fresh vegetables to underprivileged people living in rural areas, but in many cases, these small-scale farms also offer employment in places where jobs are hard to come by.