Customer relationship marketing is a segment of marketing that focuses not on the immediate sale but rather on ongoing business. Obviously, the value of a loyal customer is high. In fact, it’s estimated that a 5% increase in retention can lead to a 25% increase in profitability. However, keeping customers shopping with you can be a challenge, especially when you consider how many options these customers have. This is especially true for emerging channels, like mCommerce, where just about every major brand or retailer is trying to gain market share.
For an effective customer relationship marketing campaign, companies need to bring together three key components: They must create trust, establish a customer connection, and reward customer loyalty. All of this needs to occur in a digital space, which can be a challenge without the face-to-face contact that a brick-and-mortar business can deliver. Using innovative mobile apps that remember your customers and encourage them to revisit your brand can help you develop a customer relationship marketing strategy that offers true, enduring value.
Creating Long-Term Customer Trust
Building long-term customer engagement in mCommerce requires establishing your brand as a leader not just in your industry but also in technology. That means providing a secure environment where consumers will feel comfortable sharing their mobile information. In one study, just less than half of consumers reported that they’d only feel comfortable shopping via mobile if their phone number was protected. About 44% reported that they were concerned that mobile payment options were not secure. Allaying these consumer concerns requires offering:
- Transparency: A clear user agreement, showing exactly how your company collects data and how that data will be used, goes a long way toward improving the perception of your company’s trustworthiness.
- Payment technology: The accounts that your company accepts payments through must use the most recent security technology to prevent hacking and other malicious attacks. Digital wallets are also growing in popularity, with 51% of consumers wanting to use retailer apps for making faster purchases through such methods.
- Usability: More than half of consumers report that a poor experience on a mobile site makes them want to disengage with a company. You only have one chance to make a good mobile impression, so ensuring your site is performing at its best is key to keeping customers engaged.
You need to be able to build trust with consumers if you want them to engage with your brand online. However, trust alone won’t keep consumers coming back. For that, you need to use your app to cater to your consumer on a personal level.
Leveraging a Personal Touch in Customer Relationship Marketing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a popular option for companies that want to create a closer connection with their consumers. AI allows you to remember a consumer, predict their actions, and make recommendations based on those predictions. This is a strategy that retailer Cosabella implemented, which reportedly led to a 30% improvement in conversion rates.
The company used an AI program, called Albert, to help better identify potential customers on a global basis. Albert was able to review millions of pieces of trend data and then make predictions on when and where those trends would be most popular. It was a job that would take the average human, or even agency, months to tackle.
Using a few basic data touchpoints—like location and prior purchase history teamed with customer profiles—can help you target the right offer to the right customer.
Of course, not every company needs to roll out a high-tech program. Instead, using a few basic data touchpoints—like location and prior purchase history teamed with customer profiles—can help you target the right offer to the right customer. It’s also possible to use this data to determine genuine signals of purchase intent and to filter out fraudulent traffic. This saves you marketing time by allowing you to focus on the best prospects. It also creates a personalized connection that you can leverage to build customer relationships. The final step in all of this is to use a customer rewards program to incentivize purchases.
Round Out Customer Relationship Marketing With Rewards
The process of customer relationship marketing does not end at purchase but rather is an ongoing strategy that requires continued engagement. One way to manage this is by offering a customer rewards program via a mobile app. Such programs allow you to incentivize purchases at less of a cost. Here is how the system works:
- The customer downloads a shopping app, like Shopkick, and uses that shopping app to earn rewards for engaging with your products or retail locations.
- When the customer collects enough points (known as kicks), they can redeem them for gift cards. This encourages a return visit, where the customer can purchase even more, and earn yet more points.
- The purchase cycle continues.
These rewards benefit the customer and the company since you avoid the margin cut of an immediate discount and instead deliver on brand affinity. Finally, it makes the customer feel like you value their repeat business, ultimately building loyalty.
Building customer trust, offering a personalized experience, and finally, rewarding loyalty all work together toward developing a strong customer bond. The customer comes to rely on your brand because they believe it is focused not only on the bottom line but also on their satisfaction. These cornerstones of customer relationship marketing allow you to build consumer loyalty in the online marketplace, even when those customers have virtually thousands of options available to them.
Image courtesy MrMrsMarcha