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Motivait, European customer engagement and loyalty specialists, are delighted that Tendam Group, have been shortlisted for the ‘Best Long-Term Loyalty Programme’ award at The International Loyalty Awards 2022. The nomination is in recognition of their enhanced customer relationships and business results enabled through their highly successful omnichannel loyalty programme.  

The International Loyalty Awards celebrate excellence, innovation and best practices across the globe. The International Loyalty Awards have returned in 2022 with a record number of award nominations drawn from across multiple continents and a broad range of sectors. The Awards recognise all types of loyalty programmes among different categories; from small-scale to international; from financial services to retail; and everything in between.  

Tendam is a leading global fashion retailer, established 140 years ago, that brings together the Cortefiel, Springfield, Women’secret, Pedro del Hierro, Fifty, Hoss Intropia, Slowlove, High Spirits and Dash & Stars brands with over 1,800 points of sale across more than 90 countries. Veterans of the loyalty sector, they launched their first programme in the 1980’s and ever since have continuously extended their membership proposition, brand and geographic reach. 

The ‘Best Long-Term Loyalty’ category recognises businesses who have been able to demonstrate the value of outstanding, established and long-running programmes which have resulted in increased customer loyalty to the brand and value for the customer.  

In 2017 Tendam commenced their strategic partnership with Motivait, based on increasing value, agility and innovation at every customer touchpoint to also underpin enhanced customer lifetime value, membership growth and profitability. Motivait’s flexible, secure and reliable loyalty solution powers their successful omnichannel strategy based on an advanced digital proposition, supported by efficient and profitable stores with highly trained staff.  

Tendam and Motivait have worked together over this period to develop and deliver a Customer Engagement strategy that integrates real-time mobile, e-commerce and in-store customer interactions across their brands and markets. Their loyalty programmes have achieved sustained value for members whilst underpinning tangible business results for the company with a 50% growth in loyalty membership. 

Ensuring both integrity and integration of data across channels and brands, personalisation and relevance, together with an uncompromising user focus, has enabled Tendam to build closer and more valuable customer interactions that deliver optimised promotions for each customer in real-time. This has resulted in 30 million loyalty members across six brands and 11 countries. 75% of global transactions are now linked to specific customers. 

Antony Jones, Motivait’s Chief Executive commented:

“It is a privilege to work in close partnership supporting an organisation such as Tendam that places the customer at the heart of their strategy. Their passion for excellence, determination to constantly strive to deliver more value and their continuous innovation in delivering compelling integrated experiences demonstrate their proven credentials in the field of loyalty.”

Find out more at: www.internationalloyaltyawards.com   

 

Read the Tendam & Motivait solution case study

 

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Although at first glance they may appear to be very different departments, the reality is that marketing and HR share many similarities. Broadly speaking, both seek to attract, retain and satisfy the needs of their ‘customers’, whether they are consumers or employees; both want to deliver rewarding experiences and expect a return on their relationship; both need to know their audiences and their expectations, fears or desires; and in both, communication, recognition, motivation and reward for loyalty are essential to retain them.

If we analyse the changes experienced in society in recent years, the power is no longer with organisations but with the individual. The traditional approach of imposing and controlling is giving way to greater collaboration and consensus. Recommendations have become the norm when it comes to influencing purchasing, and technology has turned around the way we relate to our environment, where immediacy is a requirement, and we need to have access to information at the click of a button.

Faced with this qualitative leap in social behaviour, companies have been adapting and implementing strategies that provide the greatest satisfaction to their customers following a new approach. The key now is to design unique experiences that generate engagement beyond what is offered by the usual loyalty programmes. This means appealing to emotions, personalising each activity, entertaining, surprising and managing a stable, lasting and deep relationship. Can the same recipe be applied to those ‘customers’ of HR – the employees? And can the technology used by marketing be a good solution to solve the important challenges in HR?

Adapting to changes in concept

Customer acquisition and retention often receive a significant share of the marketing budget. They are in many ways similar to recruitment, selection, onboarding and career development, but different in terms of the budget allocated for these purposes. But who chooses who nowadays? Does the organisation select the candidate or does the candidate select the company they wish to work for? HR managers know that if they want to attract the best talent, they have to “sell” the company and the vacant position well and convince them that they are the best choice. Just as a marketing expert who wants to compete and grow in the market would do with their products.

However, both consumers and employees now have a different set of values, and want to live unique experiences, to feel listened to and understood, to be the protagonists and receive personalised treatment. They want to be able to interact with brands or companies that reflect their ethical or sustainable values. They want to be informed and be involved in events and exchange ideas. They are competitive yet want to share. These are all aspects that enhance their sense of belonging. Each of these factors are becoming more important to customers, but how do you order all these concepts to be able to manage new engagement strategies?

Innovation to improve performance and stimulate participation

Technology is a catalyst for development, as it provides a space to bring together all the needs, problems, corresponding solutions and a way to build an ideal environment to achieve objectives. By following the employee journey from start to finish, we can detect where our potential gaps are and how to turn these into successful outcomes. When dealing with the recruitment and selection phase, technology can help us learn about and qualify key elements of applicant profiles, while at the same time providing them with information about the company’s values, ethos and philosophy to check the alignment between the two. It helps us to be more effective and convey an enviable brand image. As the journey continues, it is time to impress our applicants, to create an unforgettable impression that will make them lifelong ambassadors for the company. It is time to create an onboarding experience in which we can make such a necessary and essential process cost-effective, entertaining and efficient, to unclutter those countless procedures, policies and other documents that everyone needs to be familiar with, or to make job-specific training entertaining and motivating.

 

Professional development, training plans and job recognition complete the employee’s journey, which technology organises and promotes through gamified engagement solutions. Users greatly appreciate these tools because they allow them to achieve goals in a fun way, interact with other colleagues, progress, compete, learn faster, embed certain behaviours and, above all, motivate and generate a bond with the company that is difficult to break. At the current time, HR is expected to register the highest growth rate in the gamification market, with a 27.8% increase according to data provided by Prescient & Strategic Intelligence. In addition, 72% of employees say that gamification inspires them to work harder. Additionally, according to Talent LMS, 89% of employees think they would be more productive if work was more gamelike and 88% of the survey respondents affirmed that gamification makes them happier in their company. For 78% of respondents, organisations would be more desirable if their recruitment process was gamified and gamification elements at work make 87% of employees feel more socially connected.

Investing in employees to win customer’s hearts and minds

Human Resources must therefore innovate and implement actions that boost interest and motivation in order to nurture a sense of commitment in employees. We must not forget that investing in HR is investing in our customers and their satisfaction. Engaged employees transmit confidence and enthusiasm, they work harder for the benefit of the company and generate customer loyalty.

For marketers and HR professionals alike, one of their main purposes are to activate the mechanisms necessary to create engagement. The Employee and Performance Gallup 2020 report states that companies with high levels of engagement have up to 81% lower absenteeism, 18% higher productivity and 23% higher profitability. However, only 15% of people felt actively engaged in their work. Disengaged employees are more likely to waste time and be absent more and therefore be less productive and contribute to a worse environment. It is worth noting the conclusion of the study ‘The Top 5 Traits of a Successful Work Culture’. Employee engagement in the connected workplace’, prepared by IDC and Crayon which confirms that employee engagement has become a fundamental factor in the recovery and resilience of organisations and a clear indicator of their health. In this sense, it affirms that 70% of companies that invest in engagement and have highly engaged employees will recover pre-COVID-19 growth levels by the end of 2022, further reinforcing the notion that investing in employee engagement means an investment in the company’s future.

Additionally, Gallup also reports that customers who are fully engaged with a brand account for 23% of profitability, revenue and loyalty, compared to the average customer. ThinkJar states that 86% of consumers would pay more for a better user experience. In this regard, a study by the CMO Council and RedPoint reveals that personalised, omni-channel interaction with customers offers companies an average customer retention rate of 89%, which drops to 33% for companies that do not have this option. In addition, 40% of consumers recognise that they buy more from brands that provide a more personal customer experience and interaction and what is more, the duration of their engagement with these brands is 30% longer. Finally, 79% do not consider buying from companies that do not actively demonstrate that they understand and care for their customers.

This data clearly demonstrates a trend that is similar in both HR and marketing department, two areas of an organisation in which marketing activity is fundamental in the face of changes in society and people’s behaviour. Both areas are destined to understand each other through better engagement.

In 2020, we said that we believed 2021 would be a year for reassessing and improving approaches. The very human challenges and experiences of 2020, we felt, would inevitably cause businesses and organisations to empathetically reconsider and refocus on the people at the heart of their operations. Looking back on the last 12 months there have certainly been significant changes – many of them focused on improving connection and proximity between people, their brands, their communities, and their needs.  

Employee Engagement has seen more debate and discussion than ever before (9-5, WFH, The Great Resignation), driven by necessity, by competition, and by a real shift in the previously established status-quo. Technologies that seemed inaccessible or expensive became common practice, with QR codes and apps becoming part of day-to-day life from ordering from a menu to storing medical information. 2021 provoked developments which at their core worked to enable, encourage, and connect people. 

As we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022, we round up the themes and pieces that most appealed to you this year.  

Empowering the People  

2021 saw people revaluating what they wanted their life to look like and how their work fitted into the picture. After proving working from home was more than just a possibility, businesses have wrestled with how to offer flexibility to employees revaluating what they want their working life to look like, without compromising on other aspects of company culture. Companies who have embraced more flexibility for workers have then in turn been faced with challenges around sustaining a sense of belonging, a sense of community, as well as a sense of enthusiasm across remote teams whose only interface with their colleagues and the company is their laptop screen.  

While working from home may not be going anywhere soon, looking to the immediate future there will be a very real need to implement the infrastructure and solutions to support a seamless working experience across all circumstances.  

Customer Centric  

Looking specifically at Customer Engagement, the last 18 months have probably seen more need for change, reinvention, and agile responses than in the last 10 years. Supply chain shortages, haulage delays, new legislation on importing and deporting – it’s been a tough year to meet ever increasing demand and high customer expectations. It would be wrong to write off today’s consumers as easily influenced or swayed, when the reality is that most are actually looking to be impressed by services, values and experiences that stand out from the crowd. In their research into customer journeys, PwC found that people will pay up to 16% more for a great customer experience (CX), while Gartner found that 64% of customers value CX over price.  

The growing market evidence suggests that instead of being impatient for deliveries, consumers may actually be frustrated with poor communication and service; instead of fickle they may in fact be more conscious of where they’re spending than ever before. If 2021 was the year for trying to keep up with an ever-changing landscape, will 2022 be the year to utilise learnings to actually stop, listen and understand the customer?  

Sustainable Change for the Greater Good 

Since early 2020, we have all had time to think and reflect on the way we live our lives. People have taken up habits and hobbies with more interest in sustainability, nature and resourcefulness – DIY around the house, upcycling furniture or clothing, sewing masks, growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Outside of the home, local communities and governments have become more aware of the conscious efforts required to reengage, reassure and encourage participation in order to sustain local businesses and commerce. On a global scale, the recent COP26 conventions acted as a reminder for many that collective action is desperately needed to address the very present challenges for society – to turn the tides or slow down the devastating effects of climate change, and to support communities rebuild or reinforce their right to belong and thrive.       

Have the unignorable events of 2020 and 2021 provoked new practices that we will take with us into 2022? Could we be at a turning point for attitudes and values across society? 

If you have managed to escape any form of “Get Back” message in recent months, you should perhaps consider yourself one of the fortunate few. As a follow-on “the new normal” catchphrase, for many the “Get Back” messaging hints at a world hoping to reassure, encourage, and incentivise: Get back to the office, get back to the high street, get back into shops, get back to restaurants, get back to going on holiday, get back to the cinema – you get the idea.

For a lot of people, the idea of a return to their pre-covid routines, habits and lifestyles is incredibly welcome. For others, going back still feels daunting or maybe even unnecessary. Most seem to be approaching things with a mixture of caution and relish, apprehension and relief. However, if ongoing debate and research tell us anything, it’s that, more than ever before, each decision we make is primarily based on personal preferences and needs. This newfound focus, requires a shift in thinking about how brands, organisations and communities engage with their audiences, working towards achieving more tailored and personalised responses.

Looking specifically at Customer Engagement, the last 18 months have probably seen more need for change, reinvention, and agile responses than in the last 10 years. The volatile political and economic landscapes are often having sudden and dramatic effects on prices across sectors, most notably within retail, and many brands are yet again having to rethink how they offer value to their customers, and how to entice and encourage higher levels of activity at a time when slashing prices is not financially viable, nor is expecting cautious customers to spend like they would in more stable circumstances. It is therefore critical to review Customer Engagement strategies and truly consider what the audience’s needs and behaviours are.

Speaking the Customer’s Language

Judging by recent research into attitudes and sentiments, consumers certainly appear to be open to new offerings and experiences. While their priorities and preferences may have changed, what hasn’t waned is the positive effect of customer centric experiences.

Whether tailoring offers, promotions and communications, or improving accessibility and innovation in how people are able to reach your brand and services, the impact on the end customer is undeniably powerful. For example, in their research into customer journeys, PwC found that people will pay up to 16% more for a great customer experience (CX), while Gartner found that 64% of customers value CX over price.

If people are still uncertain or ambiguous in their habits, and if we’re likely to continue to see differing approaches to getting back to shopping in physical stores (which had arguably already been in decline even before Covid) then we need to consider how to motivate the customer. It would be like providing and engaging customer experience from wherever people want to access the brand from, and treat them as individuals with particular needs and preferences.

Retaining Meaningful Connections

More targeted, personalised approaches don’t have to entirely overtake all strategies, but they should be a crucial part of attracting, retaining and nurturing loyal customers. After time spent in lockdowns, only interacting with the outside world through our devices, we are all collectively more eager to be seen and recognised as individuals, rather than just another number or data point on a brand’s radar.

According to Engage Hub, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers personalised experiences. Personalisation means more than just capturing the customer’s name and age. A customer centric approach revolves around utilising data and information provided to enhance every interaction throughout the customer journey – engaging, synchronised, attractive environments, and high performing customer-focused operations that facilitate a closeness to the brand, ultimately, making the customer feel as if the brand, services, or products as a whole are made for them.

 

What should be part of a personalised experience for the customer?

  • Omnichannel: Improving omnichannel offering that goes beyond having a presence on multiple channels, make it seamless for customers to hop between their devices and interact with your brand, whether they’re dealing with customer care, picking up an order, or saving items for later
  • Communications: Tailoring communications (emails, push notifications) to suit previous shopping behaviour and preferences
  • Trust: Enabling customers to be in control of their own data preferences: providing clear, intuitive portals for managing consent and communication
  • Relevance: Personalised offers and promotions – discounts on birthdays are a solid starting point, but promotions that are relevant to their usual spending habits rather than just inviting them to a blanket sale is even better.
  • Exclusivity: Everyone wants to feel special, especially when handing over visibility to personal or sensitive data. Their loyalty will be eroded if they feel they’re not treated differently from someone who just submits an email address and gets the same 10% off. Provide tiers, but also recognise different levels of participation to nurture and sustain meaningful connections with customers of all types.

Digital Empowerment

BCG claims growth rates increase by 6% to 10% in companies that master personalisation, not to mention the beneficial ripple effect across marketing efficiency, boosted digital sales, and stronger relationships developed with customers. The key to being able to execute personalised strategies is of course having the right technological capabilities in place. To reach end users is one hurdle, but you also need digital solutions that can facilitate, anticipate, and support closer interactions across all touchpoints between consumer and brand, providing a holistic vision of customer and behaviour.

Through technology, engagement initiatives can be almost automatically scaled up and made more accessible and inclusive. There is, however, still a need to tailor and craft experiences so that they offer users the best of both the digital and physical worlds. As we see consumers becoming more considerate of their personal circumstances and needs, there is a great opportunity to develop mindful experiences for them as well. Emails that are reactive but not invasive. Suggestions and recommendations that feel handpicked and perceptive, rather than random or machine generated. So, while digital engagement may be underpinned by technology, it does not need to veer away from the human touch, as mastering personalisation of course ultimately comes down to keeping things exactly that – personal.

 

Interested in innovative Customer Engagement & Loyalty?

Read how we help global fashion retailer Tendam deliver their integrated omnichannel strategy based on an advanced digital proposition, with over 24 million loyalty members

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Helping You Innovate and Engage

In a world full of distractions, options, influences and competition, how can you make your offering stand out to customers? How can you earn their trust? How can you make a positive impact on their journey from browsing to purchase and beyond?

We can help innovate and enhance how people experience your brand to build sustainable, meaningful connections. Learn more about our Customer Engagement & Loyalty solutions that work to hook individuals, increasing participation and performance.

 

 

 

Brands are constantly fighting for consumer attention, relevance and profitability against a backdrop of intense disruption and competition. It would be superficial to claim consumer’s today are easily influenced or swayed, when the reality is that most are looking to be impressed by seamless accessibility and browsing, won over by considered brand values and communications, and excited by excellent customer service and stand-out experiences. Capturing their attention is a crucial part of the journey, but strong Customer Engagement strategies should also be sustaining engagement, retention, and advocacy to truly reinforce profitability and performance.

Successful loyalty programs develop Customer Engagement beyond transactional relationships which are incentive focused but weak on lasting engagement. This is often due to the overall offering lacking personalisation, relevance, or user centricity. Customer Engagement strategies that do well in hooking and retaining their audiences provide a richer, multi-faceted offering that directly appeals to user needs and drives.

To deliver this, you of course need a strong technological foundation to support seamless, omnichannel accessibility. You need an attractive product or service offering, well showcased through intuitive and creative design work. You need an insightful understanding of the end user or customer, in order to provide communications and touchpoints that build trust. But how can you enhance the experience, in a way that still authentically represents your brand, to help the customer fall just that bit more in love?

63% of loyalty members say that if they enjoy an experience, they will use it more. Great Customer Service: 75% of loyalty members say they would stop using a program if they experience poor service. Brand Values: 70% of consumers feel it is important that brands uphold values that they have an emotional attachment to.

A strategy that can make a big difference to sustainable user enjoyment and effectively transmit information is Gamification: the application of game design, game elements and play in non-game contexts – such as brand apps or member schemes.

Why Add Gamification?

At first glance, Gamification could be easily sorted into the camp of shallow gimmicks. Is the idea not to move beyond just incentivising? However, as with AI or VR or any innovative functionality you’re looking to design into a process or experience, the result is highly dependent on the ‘why’, the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. So let’s break it down.

Fun and enjoyment seem such obvious elements to include in your offering to customers, and yet so often aren’t designed into experiences. If you want customers to love your brand, if you want to be the first place they look, if you want to bolster recurring purchases, you need to seriously think about how to find ways to make them enjoy the relationship more.

Games, by nature, are fun. Everyone will have types they prefer more than others, and some that they really dislike, because games create emotional and behavioural responses within us. Who hasn’t seen their competitive side suddenly awakened by a game? Or maybe you love building or exploring new worlds? Gamification is often misconstrued as ‘just adding a game’ to something. The theory is actually about applying game elements or game-like design into non-traditional settings in order to make them more enjoyable, or to create more of an emotional reaction from participants. We have all seen how games can create buzz, but gamification can also make a program more attractive or even teach critical messages in a fun and engaging way (learn through play).

Techvalidate showed that 30% of companies using gamification improved registration conversion rates by upward of 50%. Tapping into people’s need for enjoyment, or even curiosity to see what the fuss is all about, is a really easy starting place for applying gamification to a loyalty or membership scheme. For example, attractive but short games can be hosted seasonally to encourage exploration of new collections or messages, as fun, exclusive, personalised experiences that exemplify the brand values and bring the customer just that bit closer.

Keep Them Coming Back For More

Of course, many loyalty programmes already use a very simplistic gamification strategy to encourage interactions: points and rewards. Rewards schedules are essential to any loyalty scheme but consumers today expect more from their customer experience than “spend more to get more” point systems. Plus, through these purely transactional approaches, you’re not actually rewarding loyalty, you’re rewarding spending. Some customers will desperately want to be part of a brand’s circle because they’re inspired by the brand values or imagery but may not always have the cash to splash frequently enough to be rewarded. Loyalty schemes can immediately become more personal by remembering and recognising special occasions, such as a customer’s birthday or membership anniversary. Game design can then also help members understand what behaviours can be rewarded or give them the chance to boost points or bring themselves closer to new membership levels or treats.

Random rewards, like Easter Eggs, can also add elements of surprise and delight and give customers a reason to log into their account to see if they’re in luck that day. Random promotions, offers and communications that speak to them can help energise the connection between customer and brand.

Gamification can also be applied to boost social connection within a programme, allowing and encouraging and rewarding people for inviting friends to join. Programmes that allow you to create teams or groups can have two benefits – while it obviously helps to bring new members into the scheme, more importantly for the customer it creates a bond and shared experience with friends. Just like games are always more fun when playing with a group of friends, either playing against each other or competing together for a prize helps foster natural and enjoyable ways to improve interactivity within a loyalty scheme.

Creating Emotional Reactions to Drive Behaviour Change – RAMP

Appealing to Your Audience

More ways to boost the social element within a program, that have become increasingly popular – providing seamless connections and pathways to social media platforms. Encouraging customers to share their shopping experiences with their networks and actually rewarding and recognizing their Instagram posts, Tweets or Facebook reviews/recommendations, is a fast way to nurturing brand advocates or at least a much more meaningful connection between customer and brand. Furthermore, people are always more inclined to purchase when they can relate to the ambassadors they see on the brand website, apps, and of course social media. In the age of the influencer, incentivizing and enabling people to share their own positive experiences will help build communities and foster a sense of belonging and exclusivity for members whose feedback or interactions get featured.

Game elements that can enhance the sensation can be quite simple but effective, such as tiered reward systems where members unlock different experiences, offers or access, or even a more personalised approach where members can choose the membership or profile that suits their style, needs or requirements. You can even take this further by allowing customers to fully personalise their reward system, offering not only rewards related to the brand but more experiential rewards – leisure activities and the like. Again, this makes them feel they have more control of their preferences and options within the loyalty scheme, making it more tailored to them as individuals.

Ultimately, it is important to design with the user in mind. No one is interested in playing a game where they’re not able to succeed or participate fully, or that feels it is weighted against them. If you just apply a game with no meaning or relevance, you’ll risk abandonment, just like designing an app without considering how people need to use it. Considering what will drive them to brand loyalty and advocacy, or how to improve the journey to purchase, but also making sure they feel they’re in control of their membership rather than at the mercy of an elusive brand, or just another number on a platform.

 

 

The opportunity to buy almost anything from anywhere without needing access to a desktop device has been a transformational development to the world of online commerce. So much so that mobile currently represents a 72.9% share of total e-commerce spend, up from 58.9% in 2017.

Whether hospitality, retail, or mobile banking: M-Commerce apps are levelling up and developing more paths to take customers from inspiration to sale as efficiently as possible. Through functional improvements, deep linking, and influencer marketing, social media has started shaping a new approach to ‘window’ shopping, and m-commerce strategies are recognising the need to intertwine and integrate across platforms we use all day every day, especially those most frequently accessed via mobile devices. Through the click of one interactive “buy button” on sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, we can make in-app third party purchases without even having to leave the platform.

The benefits to investing in and curating m-commerce are evident.  Through direct, push-notification style communications companies can reap the rewards and leverage more accurate location tracking utilising GPS and cellular connections through mobiles rather than solely depending on computer IP addresses to provide more targeted communications and experiences. Consumers benefit from the added convenience and immediacy – but is it enough to keep them interested?

Efficiency is vital for supporting the journey to sale. It is like laying down the road that you’ll take people on or providing the vehicle. What is also important, however, is the direction, guidance, drive and inspiration that will take them towards the end goal. Customers today have endless options and distractions available to them, but they also have much more developed values and expectations than what many brands perceive. Can’t find what you’re looking for? App glitching? Awkward navigation? Visuals don’t speak to you? There are hundreds of alternatives that could give you the successful experience you’re looking for. Because of its very position in the palm of the consumers hand m-commerce channels can play a valuable role beyond being another window to shop from by showcasing how brands understand and enable the individual. Achieving this requires much more nuanced design and a genuine understanding of customer needs, and without it, well, you’ve just got an app.

So how can you make sure your m-commerce strategy transcends beyond being just the app version of your brand website or store?

Omnichannel

It’s easy to come to the conclusion that the solution to all problems is to provide an app, but sometimes a bad app is worse than no app at all. M-commerce is a core interface for the modern consumer, but it should not stand alone from other touchpoints with a brand or company. A detached strategy will only frustrate users as they try to move between environments. If a user falls in love with your app but is hugely disappointed when they can’t make returns via the website and the store doesn’t recognise their membership account, you’ve created an even higher chance of turn off or abandonment.

Omnichannel isn’t about just having different channels. It’s about creating a seamless, connected shopping experience across those multiple channels, supporting and sustaining the process whenever, wherever, and however the consumer wants to continue. Consumers want a balance of in-person experiences and the convenience of online, and an omnichannel strategy ensures brand consistency, broadens a customer’s choice and boosts their experience. Through a unified approach, you can improve and multiply the ways customers can successfully interact with your brand. It can ultimately emotionally impact the customer in ways we’ve all experienced at one point in time. Imagine someone spots something they like when browsing on their laptop during a lunch break and save it to their basket or favourites before being interrupted, returning to the site via their app on the train home. They’re relieved to see it’s still saved where they left off earlier and make the purchase choosing free pick up in store option. Finally, when they pick up their order the next day they see a 2 for 1 offer on something they’re low on, and while of course the brand immediately benefits from the flow of incidents, the customer walks away fulfilled having enjoyed the experience as if everything worked in their favour.

 

Safe and Secure

When it comes to any type of online commerce, safety and security is undoubtedly one of the biggest, and most concerning problems. It just takes one inconvenient and complicated payment experience for a potential customer to abandon their basket and seek alternatives elsewhere. We all know how frustrating and troubling it can be when we aren’t given the option of a safe payment mechanism, or we can’t save our details in a secure way.

A new type of consumer is arising from the Coronavirus pandemic. One which is more worried than ever about safety and hygiene and is reluctant to use POS keypads and checkout machines where possible. The ‘Cashless Society’ discourse was already well underway before the pandemic, but people are increasingly drawn to the new, simple to use cashless payment methods that continue to emerge. Whether it’s mobile wallets, P2P mobile payments, real-time payments and cryptocurrencies, M-commerce platforms should be flexible and agile enough to adapt to new needs and innovations. Ease of use, 1 click payment capabilities, ability to easily and securely save and reuse details and offering a range of potential payment options integrated within a secure system can transform the customer experience when it comes to shopping through their devices.

 

Creative User Experience

Mobile apps are a powerful tool to reach out to customers, provide experiences and hook them into your offering. But, with pages full of choices they can easily switch off to experiences that aren’t intuitive and enjoyable.

Often, the temptation can be to throw in every gimmick possible but this creates a complicated infrastructure, which means additional upkeep, which could mean losing sight of the objectives. Considering 46% of consumers are less likely to make a purchase when a site loads slowly, sometimes keeping it less complex allows for essential requirements and needs to be kept at the core. Building apps with a sincere understanding of UX and creative design at the heart of them can make the world of difference, focussing on converting someone from a browser to a purchaser through ease of use rather than sophisticated, complex elements that slow down the journey.

Less complex doesn’t mean any less of an enriching experience though and we can’t ignore how much a touch of creativity and innovation can help lift the experience. During a time when many of us have been unable to physically try on clothes, glasses, or test make up, there are plenty of examples where the use of AR has stepped in to digitally transform this experience for consumers. The well-known IKEA Place app which enables users through their mobiles to scale 3D images of furniture in their own homes to see how it looks before you commit to buying. And Sephora Visual Artist, which enables customers to try on makeup virtually through selfies. The added functionality works as more than a gimmick when focussed on the end user, as it builds into reassuring, nudging and motivating them at each step of their own personal decision-making process.

 

Preference & Personalisation

M-commerce provides a real opportunity to reach a huge number of users with messaging directly. But just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. The effect of push notifications can go one way or the other. Users can either feel the temptation to switch off all notifications after finding them irrelevant, disruptive, time wasting or in fact ‘pushy’. Or they’ll find them useful reminders because the message or prompt feels relevant to their own tastes and habits. Notifications and similar communications are prime examples of areas that can be significantly enhanced through understanding user data, behaviours and preferences. In an era where most of the population is aware of the data exchange for services, so much more can still be done from the brand’s side to nurture trust and demonstrate the valuable application of consumer data. The argument being, if you’re going to request or mine data, at least use it to improve and personalise the experience by showing you understand individual preferences rather than blasting users with emails or notifications that are only in your interest.

Considering personalisation has been found to be the strongest pillar in driving Customer Engagement in the majority of markets worldwide, refocussing approaches to enable more user-centric experiences could have transformational results in fostering long-lasting, sustainable and meaningful loyalty within a customer base that really feels their needs and requirements come first.

 

Winning round customers, capturing their attention, and maintaining the connection that will generate loyalty and frequency, can feel like aiming at a moving target. Or something from a Greek myth, where the goal always somehow remains out of reach. Just when you’ve made one improvement, the challenge changes – a new trend, a new cause, a new distraction or influence.

This need to be agile and adaptable for an evolving customer base should be built into the foundations of any customer engagement strategy. While m-commerce soars in strength and popularity, it is important to remember that e-commerce was once the flavour of the month, and actually after months of restrictions many people are eager to be able to walk around real physical stores again. Just because people are attached to their phones, doesn’t mean that they are blind to the fuller experience they can gain from a brand, and that experience needs to be considered as all encompassing. Emails, websites, notifications, in-store visits, all offer opportunities to optimise and excite Customer Engagement however the customer wishes to find you. The priority should remain providing innovative, intuitive experiences that keep people fulfilled and engaged at every stage – no matter the environment or device, or whether they’re tapping, clicking or walking up to a counter themselves.

How does anyone even begin to ‘round-up’ the year we’ve all had? In our personal and professional lives, most of us have experienced such vast challenges and significant change that it is hard to believe it has been 12 months and not 24. Though we may be turning a new page as we move to the new year, it is not an entirely new story, and in 2021 many businesses will most likely continue to grapple with different ups-and-downs and the effects of 2020.

That said, we believe what also lies ahead is an opportunity to make a real difference by reassessing and improving approaches, focussing on the people at the heart of businesses, communities, organisations, and society, to achieve success in spite of uncertainty.

So instead of rounding up 2020 as if the story were over, we thought we’d look back on the themes and pieces that most appealed to people’s needs and interests over the year. Reflection and food for thought, as the collective journey towards new approaches, strategies and innovation continues into 2021 and beyond.

  1. Keeping Teams Connected & Empowered

This year teams had to act and adapt quickly to new circumstances, conflicting priorities, and different strategies. A need like never before to think creatively and innovatively in how challenges were met. With many moving to remote working or facing heightened demand, lots of us looked for ways to keep employees feeling productive, fulfilled, and motivated – through digital solutions.

In 2021, there will no doubt be a new round of challenges to face in supporting and sustaining an engaged, committed, and productive workforce in what will still be difficult business conditions. Here are our 3 most popular posts from this year looking at employee engagement, to help spark ideas for 2021:

  1. Customer Care, Concern and Connection

In a recent study, 70% of European based executives stated that the current coronavirus pandemic was accelerating the pace of their digital transformation. This year saw brands across all sectors make herculean efforts to try and stay connected to their customers, some even diversifying the services they offered in order to sustain the customer bond. Digital experiences inevitably became the only vehicle for staying in touch, and while technology is amazing because of its reach and flexibility, it is just a vehicle at the end of the day.
It is people who we want to connect to, build relationships with, and learn from their motivations, reactions, and needs. Human crises require human responses.

Is 2021 the year to flip our thinking on digital transformation and focus in on how it can deliver better connection, empathy, and engagement? Here are our 3 most popular posts from this year that looked at building better relationships and engagement with customers:

  1. Future Values

Over these past few months, we have all had time to think and reflect on the way we live our lives. Crises often have the effect of bringing our core values into focus, and by having a number of our old routines and habits taken away from us, we’ve maybe been reminded of what we think is important. Furthermore, more than ever before people are expecting the brands around them to stand for something. Businesses are now being pushed beyond their classic interests to become advocates for a better society.

Euromonitor’s 2020 Sustainability Survey found that COVID-19 has brought social purpose to the fore, with two thirds of surveyed companies defining sustainability as “supporting local communities”, a 15% increase compared to the previous year. Accenture reports 62% of customers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues like sustainability, transparency or fair employment practices.

As we all reassess what practices and approaches we want to represent our values in 2021, here are our 3 most popular posts on the emerging power of values and ethics in society.

Today’s consumer no longer wants to be guided by merely transactional impulses. They want to find more, they look for new or enhanced experiences, they want to feel unique. Subsequently, the retail sector cannot settle for an occasional customer – a ‘peruser’, a browser, a surfer. Brands are in a battle to become that “go-to name”, the first place you think of when you need or want something or the feeling takes you. Somewhere that welcomes you and facilitates your experience each time. How can a brand level up and achieve this coveted status?

In a simple purchase process, the customer perceives a need or interest, browses options, checks offers and makes a decision. The tendency is to settle on a desired product or service and then weigh up the price, or value for money. In this experience if attention to customer retention, engagement or loyalty is weak, should any one of the items in the equation fail you’ve lost a customer, their recommendation or influence, and any chance of a return visit.

Simple loyalty strategies work on the basis of generating a reason or incentive to return to the business, for dependable recurring profitability. Customers appreciate the benefits that the brand gives them for their support and this fosters a sort of reciprocal dependency. You like the brand and the brand likes you. But can we really call this relationship sustainable or even rewarding? How protected is it from alternatives or distractions?

What if we integrated a more focussed Customer Engagement strategy within the experience? Here, the brand introduces elements of intrinsic motivation for the customer: incentives and rewards that speak to the individual’s wants and needs, generating a deeper emotional connection between brand and consumer. At each touchpoint between customer and brand, the offerings are more in tune with the customer’s profile, meaning the purchasing or browsing experience is more satisfying, increasing the individual’s commitment to the process, purchase, and return. Your recommendation will be positive.

The objective is that neither the process nor the relationship end at the point of sale.  The brand can continue interfacing or interacting with customers in order to keep building their understanding of needs and tendencies, strengthening relationships with personalised communications and offers, collecting feedback and (importantly) acting upon it to demonstrate more meaningful value for customers than just the product or service offering. In turn, consumers feel recognised and become more involved in the brand beyond their initial browsing interest – advocating willingly for what the brand represents or means to them and seeking more positive experiences as the bond continues to grow over time. Customer retained and engaged. Relationship transformed.