Finding innovative ways to communicate with customers is essential these days, as the way consumers shop has changed so much. A simple trip to the grocery store is now an omnichannel experience where consumers can use their smartphones to research, compare, and locate products. In addition, consumers now have more options for delivery, in-store pickup, and customer service than ever before. Today’s brands must advance their marketing efforts in order to stay competitive as the retail landscape changes.
Smartphones are an increasingly prevalent part of e-commerce, controlling nearly 45% of the market. New tech devices like wearables and smart speakers are also growing in popularity for consumers. As the options to connect change, new venues for shopping will emerge and consumer buying habits will evolve. Brands should begin exploring innovative ways to communicate with customers to stay ahead of the curve.
Three Innovative Ways to Communicate with Customers
#1: Utilizing AI Chatbots for Customer Assistance
Today’s consumers expect near-instant responses to their questions and concerns about products. More than 80% of customers expect a response to an email within 24 hours while nearly 40% expect a response within an hour. Any major brand would need a massive customer service center to reply to every customer within such a short window, and this is likely cost-prohibitive for most.
However, this is where artificial intelligence (AI) provides a solution. Customer complaints and concerns in the CPG industry typically aren’t that complex; especially when they often have the same questions about products. Customers may want more information on a particular product or have questions about alternatives to a discontinued item. These are easy questions which AI chatbots can answer.
AI chatbots are much more sophisticated than standard chatbots that are only capable of offering cookie-cutter responses. These AI bots use data to better understand the context of questions and provide thorough customer service. With an advanced bot, it’s possible to leverage this technology without consumers ever being aware they’re not actually speaking to a human being.
#2: Leveraging In-Store Notifications Through Mobile Apps
Shopping apps offer a valuable opportunity for brands. Many of these apps may work based on location and product interaction, guiding consumers to products in the shopping aisle. They’re also highly popular among consumers. In 2018, shopping app downloads reached 5.7 billion. Brands can take advantage of this trend by seeking out third-party partnership opportunities which are mutually beneficial.
These win-win arrangements are a common reason major brands choose to contact Shopkick. With the popular app, brands can stay top-of-mind all along the path to purchase and stand out in the aisle by incentivizing interaction with their products. This was the case during a partnership with Rimmel London, as the brand was looking to build awareness in a highly crowded category. Through Shopkick, the beauty brand was able to guide consumers directly to its products at-shelf, and offer them rewards points for scanning the UPCs of select products. By encouraging shoppers to interact with the products while they were already in a shopping mindset, this primed consumers for sale, which ultimately drove purchases. Through this campaign, the brand was able to snag 14% of the highly competitive cosmetics market share from its competitors.
In-store notifications delivered via mobile apps like Shopkick help brands become top-of-mind when it matters most. They pull the attention from competitors by getting consumers to focus specifically on the brand throughout their shopping trip. Adding on a rewarded aspect helps drive purchases as it creates positive brand affinity. Shopping apps can significantly help brands gain attention in the store, even when their shelf placement isn’t optimal.
#3: Implementing Voice Shopping for a Future Competitive Edge
As the wearable device and smart speaker markets grow, voice shopping is expected to grow as well. The reason for this is simple. In many cases, voice search and shopping are the only options on these devices. During 2018, Amazon reported that voice shopping on their Alexa platform tripled. As Alexa is the market leader for smart speakers, this is likely to forecast a growing trend for the industry as a whole.
Brands can prepare for this by working with platforms that provide voice-enabled shopping options. They can optimize products for audio listings and ensure they’re among the top recommendations when consumers look for similar products. A brand can even create proprietary voice-enabled apps for use on these platforms to ensure higher visibility. Now is the time to do so, as this is an emerging technology which needs content. As such, brands can enjoy greater visibility for voice-enabled apps by rolling out their own programs now.
Using innovative ways to communicate with customers is the best possible way to grow brand recognition and remain top-of-mind during the consumer shopping trip.
Using innovative ways to communicate with customers is the best possible way to grow brand recognition and remain top-of-mind during the consumer shopping trip. AI helps brands better manage their customer service, while shopping apps guide consumers to products in the aisle. Meanwhile, voice shopping is a newer option with little competition, which can help brands stand out even more. By taking advantage of retail innovations, brands improve customer perception, sales, and overall market share.
Shopkick offers our partners innovative ways to communicate with customers by connecting them with the users of our intuitive mobile app. For more details on our prior campaigns, review our success stories.
Image courtesy of PopTika