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Russell Goldsmith
Russell Goldsmith 9 February 2023

Podcast – Interview with Guest Panel on Building Customer Loyalty and Advocacy with Omnichannel and Personalised Engagement

The fourth show in our Marketing Futures series that we’re producing in partnership with SAP, this episode explores brand strategy in the retail and ecommerce sectors, with a particular focus on omnichannel and customer loyalty.

Retail marketing experts joined host Graham Barrett on the c-suite podcast for an episode of our special Marketing Futures series, produced in partnership with SAP, this time, to explore brand strategy in the retail and ecommerce sectors, with a particular focus on omnichannel and customer loyalty.

Our guests were:

*at time of recording

Key highlights were:

Customers no longer want to be marketed to, instead, they want to play a part within the brands which they love. Meaning advocacy, loyalty and shifting marketing from brand led to customer led is just so important, a topic which was explored in more depth.

Customer loyalty is the base of any successful company, something that the guest panel understood the most. Jim explained that the habits picked up over the pandemic haven’t disappeared. Reliance on digital has created this desire to put the customer first and connecting the two in the process.

A brand which utilises omnichannel services need to make sure not to confuse their consumers and understand that numbers don’t count for success. Experiencing a lack of customer support himself, Jim preaches on the success which tech company Curry’s presented to him. Emphasising that never ending customer desire for better and more helpful customer service.

The rise of big data and B2B gave birth to the best sort of marketing. It has in fact reinforced that numbers don’t prove success. To try and impress a team with numbers instead of loyalty gained doesn’t prove a plan implemented was a successful one.

What are you Loyal to? What Comes to Mind?

Many would say they are loyal to their wives, family, and friends. But how many would say they are loyal to a brand?

This raises important questions on how brands can gain customer loyalty on this level and leverage the loyalty earned to turn it into repeat purchases and good word of mouth.

To gain this said loyalty the use of omnichannel can be applied to give the user an experience they will remember. Having an in-store presence is still so powerful as there is a sense of emotion when a brand wants their consumers to connect to them. This in-person experience can help gain customer loyalty.

The rise in technology has created disruption in the ways in which we shop. Having a variety of methods like in store, contact centres and online are all ways in which customers can connect with a brand. It is important for brands to put the customer in the centre of anything they do and build around this customer. Their experience is worth more than a single purchase.

For example, not to focus on the success in the science of purchasing. As it is known for customers to ponder on their decisions. Instead, they may come into a store, leave, have a think about what they want to buy and then purchase online. It is the experience they had to begin with that’ll reinforce going to the online store in their mind.

Jennifer enforces the importance of understanding ASICS’ customers instead of transactions and said: “It's making sure that you are putting empathy into your marketing, too, and you're looking at these people as humans, not just as transactions, not as people who are browsing products on the website”.

Mark praised GiffGaff CEO, Ash Schofield, for creating a customer led network which lets members essentially earn rewards for helping other members. In a sense, the members run their advertising, promotions, products, offers and solutions. Mark mentioned that this is a brave idea as you never know what customers might say, good or bad, but they are fine with it because that is their community.  

Another example raised was makeup and skincare brand Charlotte Tilbury who use referrals for sales. These referrals have built a community and in a sense the butterfly effect has been put into practice as they are constantly gaining new customers from this.

This is the type of personalised customer experience that every consumer looks for when being loyal to a brand. Allowing for a business to evolve with its customers.

Graham Johnston has found that within the grocery sector customers are visible more often. Giving more opportunities for these brands to build loyalty with them or lose it. It is far easier to lose loyalty than to gain it and therefore brands should focus in on that much sought-after brand loyalty which will benefit them in every sense.

It doesn’t need to be difficult to understand what your customers want. Most people will give information without incentive, it is just a matter of what they’re being asked and how you ask it. Don’t be intrusive and don’t ask millions of questions and brands should be able to understand their customers more with every relevant question.

The future of retail is forever changing but utilising the omnichannel and brand loyalty is a good place to start when retaining and enticing in new customers. The guest speakers have definitely taken the time to understand just what their customers want, and needs are within the retail and ecommerce space and utilised this to the best of their ability.

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