Why Effective Customer Communication Is Do or Die for Retailers

Our business development manager, Stephen Schwalger spoke with RetailBiz recently in this post.

The fact that Australia’s retail market is experiencing challenging times is hardly news. While many brands were beneficiaries of a lockdown sales bonanza, and a post-Covid spending spike when restrictions finally began to ease in late 2021, things are decidedly less rosy a couple of years on.

Soaring inflation and a series of interest rate rises have forced millions of local consumers to tighten their belts.

They’ve become more considered in their spending, and around four in 10 have cut back on coffees and takeaway lunches, car trips and entertainment, according to the NAB Consumer Sentiment Survey Q4, 2022.

‘Fiscal caution will be a feature of the year ahead with consumer expectations about making major purchases in the next 12 months also somewhat more pessimistic,’ the survey report noted.

 ‘Consumers are still spending but switching to less expensive products to save money and researching to make more informed purchases. Fewer consumers are trying new products and [they] are looking to trusted brands to help them manage current conditions – through deals, loyalty programs, subscriptions, budgeting tools and alerts and flexible payment options. This is providing important opportunities for customer retention.’

Staying in touch

In order to capitalise on those opportunities, retailers need to be in frequent communication with their customers; providing them with a regular stream of relevant information that makes them feel valued, and encourages future transactions.

How best to do so is the sixty-four-dollar question.

In today’s digital world, consumers are already drowning in communiques from businesses that are clamouring for their business. The average person receives 21 spam emails a day, according to 2021 research from Statistica.

Most individuals ignore what they consider junk email and retailers’ campaign messages, however compelling and carefully crafted, are frequently consigned to the circular file, unread. As a result, standalone email marketing campaigns have become an increasingly ineffective means of reaching a target market.

The omni-channel advantage

Utilising additional communication channels can help marketers get the cut-through they need to capture customers’ attention and influence their purchasing decisions.

Adopting an omni-channel strategy means messages can be sent in different forms. Customising them, based on the status of the recipient’s relationship with the business, helps to make them more relevant and resonant.

For example, a purchase by a first-time customer may be followed up with a ‘checking in’ email, to ascertain whether they’re satisfied with their item. After that, SMS or social media messages may be used to maintain contact and alert the customer to forthcoming special offers and events.

Effective orchestration

It’s a mix and match strategy that can be extremely effective, provided messages are orchestrated smoothly across all channels.

To ensure they’re not sent in an ad hoc, unplanned way, businesses need to be able to track the interactions that have already occurred, within each and every customer journey. They can then plan when and how future messages should be sent, for best effect.

Quick updates might be best suited to SMS, for example, while more detailed messages about sales or new product launches may work better via email, or a pointer to a micro web site.

What’s important is that every ‘instrument’ in the business’s marketing stack is playing from the same score, in tune and in time with all the others in the ‘orchestra’, not contributing to the general marketing cacophony that assaults customers every which way they turn.

Tools to make the task easy

That’s a challenge, in the absence of the right technology: namely, a customer data platform that acts as a conductor, bringing every element of an omni-channel communication strategy together in a harmonious way.

Powerful software that makes it possible to deliver highly personalised customer journeys at scale; it allows businesses to investigate, segment and target their customers with the right messages, at the right time.

That timely and relevant communication contributes to the development of long term, loyal relationships, regular repeat sales and recommendations and referrals that generate new business.

In today’s tough times, it’s an investment in future prosperity and profits few Australian retailers can afford not to make.

Get in touch today to see how n3 Hub can deliver results to your marketing team.

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