It costs 80% less to keep a customer than to acquire one, yet brands are continuing to fall short in how they build relationships with their customers. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is essential to keeping the connection to a businesses’ valued customers healthy for the long term.
CEO of Ogilvy Experience EMEA Clare Lawson will be exploring the latest trends in modern CRM at an Ecommerce Expo session on September 28th. Here Clare shares her perspective on the biggest challenges for retailers, the value of purpose, innovative technologies and more.
What is the biggest challenge for ecommerce retailers heading into Q.4?
There’s an old saying that there are decades where nothing happens, and then years where decades happen.
We’re in the latter phase.The Covid era is catalysing digital transformation and D2C behaviours at speed. Many businesses have focused on the ‘break/fix’ strategy – they moved online swiftly when they had to shut their stores and consumers followed. No-one really considered buying pet food online pre-pandemic – now I’m a subscriber myself.
The big focus for ecommerce businesses is to maintain momentum. Now they have an addressable relationship with customers - how do they ensure they don’t go elsewhere? How robust is their CRM strategy and where can it be improved?
Why might some businesses have lost momentum?
Now we are emerging from Covid consumers have much more choice and embracing the physical again; in some instances it makes sense for the consumer to purchase online and sometimes they will want to speak to a person face to face, so brands need to ensure they have an omnichannel offering.
Brands are beginning to understand the new role of a physical store in an ecommerce world where they can function as showrooms. Look at how the Apple store acts as a showcase, community gathering spot and way to ‘get more’ out of your Apple products and services. The more you understand the way your customers use different channels the better service you can offer them.
What are the challenges in developing a customer relationship with lifetime value?
Many brands want to develop a direct relationship with the consumer - or optimise their existing one. We are seeing traditional FMCG and CPG brands wanting to cultivate this direct relationship and many are taking their first steps into this world.
Success depends on navigating a whole new landscape. For instance we now face the death of the cookie and this means huge changes to audience tracking and data collation. How do you understand your audiences wishes and preferences now, personalise offers and add value to the relationship so it’s meaningful more than transactional? A fashion retail brand might be able to offer a 10% discount in return for an email address but this doesn’t drive long term value. Brands understandably opted for short term survival tactics during the pandemic but now they have to switch to building long term growth.
What trends are likely to impact ecommerce over the coming 12 months?
Purpose has been a growing trend among consumers and is increasingly important in the sales/commerce relationship. But it means more than just mailing a sustainability pledge – businesses are under scrutiny and ‘greenwashing’ and not aligning to your customer’s values will cost you. People are looking to shop and are willing to have an active relationship with brands who share their concerns and purpose, for example they’ll be watching how a fashion brand reflects the general wish for more diversity & inclusion in its marketing and within its teams. Brands will need to communicate in a way that is not overtly self-promotional what they are doing to make the world a better place.
The cost-of-living crisis will affect consumer decisions and price sensitivity will be highest for functional purchases. But for discretionary purchase brand purpose will become more important.
What’s the biggest opportunity for your business?
It’s our mission to deepen the long-term relationships brands have with consumers and we want to help drive value for the customer as much as the brand. All too often moments of communication are designed to deliver for the business, not the customer. In the age of the consumer this approach is just not going to work. Brands need to tailor their offering and messages to what people want and this will drive repeat purchase and deliver long-term value.
At Ogilvy we’ve launched a Reality Studio which helps clients figure out when and where to engage in future-tech. We can explore AR and live stream strategies and how to use emerging technology to add value to the customer experience.
Creativity is essential to unlocking value. The rise of technology platforms has been incredibly helpful and automation has driven efficiencies in processes. But there is a risk of the customer experience becoming over-functional. If a brand is to increase engagement it needs to differentiate itself – for instance, if you are booking a flight all the airline communications you receive look and read the same and the logos could easily be swapped. We can help businesses find their authentic tone of voice.
Which brand would you hold up as a great communicator?
I adore the customer experience and tone of voice of Octopus Energy and I switched to the provider because of its unique approach within the industry – it offers considerable amounts of care and personal attention with communications coming from named individuals rather than a customer service centre. There’s plenty of scope for improving the experience including creative touches for people holding in a caller queue – there are behavioural nudges that can nullify the natural negativity of making that customer services call.
Why are face to events like Ecommerce Expo and Technology for Marketing so valuable?
Peer-to-peer engagement is important. Bringing together a group of like-minded people is empowering and shared goals and agendas make for great conversations. We all learn in this environment.
Online doesn’t deliver the more pointed and lively questions that come up in person and that spark genuine debate. Everyone is willing to go off-piste in person and we all know human connections are everything.
Clare will be leading a discussion on The Future of CRM at Ecommerce Expo with a panel featuring Marek Borowik, Global Fan Engagement Lead at Formula 1, Dave Robinson, Customer Strategy Director at Virgin Red and Lucy McCabe, Global Customer Strategy Lead at Ogilvy.
Date: on September 28th
Stage: Keynote Theatre
Time 11 am
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