While customer acquisition is traditionally revered as the holy grail of e-commerce KPIs, driving first-time customers through checkout is only half the battle. Repeat shoppers in the U.S. may represent just 8 percent of site visitors, but they account for over 40 percent of all online sales.
In a world where consumers are confronted with thousands of options each day, convincing one-time customers that they should stick with your brand is, in many ways, far more challenging than convincing unknown consumers to give you a shot. To effectively create the types of relevant, real-time user experiences that keep consumers coming back for more, a brand must have a clear view of who its customers are and what drives their behavior.
Here are three ways that modern e-commerce brands are harnessing customer identity to effectively nurture and retain their best customers.
Personalized touch points
Picture this: you meet someone at a party, spend a considerable amount of time chatting, and decide to exchange contact information. How would you feel if you ran into her a couple weeks later at a similar event, but she had no idea who you were? Probably the same way your customers feel when they invest time in browsing your site and making a purchase, only to be greeted with the same anonymous experience upon return.
Brands looking to establish long-term relationships with customers must make it a priority to learn details like their interests, relationships and media preferences. These data points can be used to create more relevant and timely user experiences that show customers you remember who they are and simplify their paths to purchase. Exhibit A: 56 percent of consumers are more likely to return to a site that makes personalized product recommendations.
One brand that does an exemplary job of creating personalized user experiences that drive brand loyalty is Kate Spade. By prompting users to login using their existing social media accounts, Kate Spade gains permission-based access to the rich insights housed in users’ social graphs. The brand then uses this information to greet customers by name and suggest a relevant product based on the weather in their current location the next time they login.
Cohesive omni-channel experiences
Over 20 percent of consumers age 18 to 49 visit websites from four different devices each week, while 67 percent of online shoppers admit to having recently made purchases that involved multiple channels. Without a single view of consumer identity, brands are simply unable to connect these channels in a meaningful way, or provide customers with the types of tailored user experiences that drive brand loyalty.
Accessing and consolidating consumer identity data across channels and device serves as the backbone of today’s most successful omni-channel experiences, enabling brands to recognize and nurture consumers wherever they are, whether it be email, social networks, on-site, or in-store. Dick’s Sporting Goods does a particularly good job of keeping its customers coming back by creating an identity-centric web of cohesive cross-channel connectivity.
When users authenticate their identities on the sporting goods’ site, they are able to create personal gift lockers featuring their favorite items. Items can be added by browsing online, taking mobile photos of items in store, or scanning catalogue QR codes. The lockers can be accessed via any device, and seamlessly shared across users’ social networks.
Exclusive loyalty programs
While 80 percent of brand loyalists say they do not buy unknown brands just to save money, 69 percent are always looking for special offers. But it takes a lot more than throwing some extra savings in the mix to keep customers hooked. Twenty-five percent of consumers say they have received rewards for products and services they would never buy, showing that an understanding of consumer identity plays a vital role in building impactful loyalty programs.
Show consumers you value their business by offering them exclusive rewards tailored to their unique interests and needs. Better yet, turn these rewards into custom, interactive experiences driven by individual user actions. Hotel and casino giant Boyd Gaming does this with its gamified B Connected Social loyalty program. Participants can earn points by taking actions like linking their social media accounts and checking in at any Boyd Casino. These points can then be exchanged for rewards like vacations, iPads, slot dollars, and gift certificates, leveraging identity to create a customized loyalty experience that spans both virtual and real-world channels.
Developing meaningful relationships with consumers is the key to long-term brand success. Brands that place consumer identity at the core of their strategies will win the hearts of connected consumers by providing relevant, seamless user experiences time and again.
Rachel Serpa is Content Marketing Manager at Gigya.
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