CRM is arguably the most direct and active form of content. And arguably the most critical space for marketers now to apply content driven CRM is in shopper activation. Outlined below are three simple steps to connecting with your consumers and converting them to shoppers.
Whatever motivates your current CRM efforts this article hopes to illuminate a potential blind spot in your thinking. As shopper marketing becomes one of the fastest growing disciplines in communications we argue the time is right to add a little shopper to your CRM. And in a content driven world, marketers need to move from brand centric to customer centric strategies if they wish to successfully woo consumers.
Most of us think in terms of a path to purchase. Whether we represent this as a funnel, a cycle, or a journey the mechanism is pretty much the same. And along this path we appreciate that consumers become shoppers when they are looking to buy. And post purchase they return to being consumers. From an FMCG perspective traditional CRM has been used in nurturing relationships with consumers to stimulate demand and to enable ongoing connections to motivate repeat purchase.
The blind spot comes from a lack of consideration for the needs of our shoppers. As a result we are not truly connecting throughout the path to purchase and may leave ourselves exposed in the highly competitive shopping arena.
To bring this into focus here are three specific ways of creating shopper relationships, enabling valuable connections, and influencing behavior throughout the path.
- Synchronize – Create services along the path to purchase and beyond that build relationships by delivering value at each step. Too often CRM programs are driven by brand-centered objectives. While we must be commercially driven today it is imperative that we service the needs of our target to create a stronger bond. Simply put, if we are not useful we will be lost in the mix. Budweiser took an interesting approach to this by developing the Bud Ice Cold Index app. The app connected shoppers to pubs they may like to visit and delivered offers that were based on their location and temperature of the day, all which facilitated shoppers’ discovery of Budweiser’s new beer.
- Vaporize – Take specific moments in time and place, leveraging the shoppers’ context and servicing their immediate need. Here we must understand what happens at the point our consumer becomes a shopper. What is triggering their behavior and what role can we play? Making connections here has been one of the most challenging aspects of CRM but with the penetration of smart phones and rapid adoption of mobile as a shopping aid we have a wonderful opportunity. Neiman Marcus have made great strides in this area with their personal shopper app – NM Service – that among other things allows shoppers with emergency shopping needs to shop on the mSite or online and push a selection of clothing to their store personal shopper. When they turn up in-store their selections are prepared in the fitting room ready for them to try on. Neiman also Vaporize by utilizing shopper in-store movement information (tracked by wifi to help identify the most visited departments), integrating that with online and in-store purchases to deliver highly targeted and relevant offers through the app when they visit the store.
- Reorganize – Make a direct connection to purchase by short-circuiting the path and instantly turning consumers into shoppers; in other words create services to initiate shopping occasions. We are living in an age where the path to purchase no longer has to be linear or sequential. By leveraging data and insights we can better understand the what, when, and why of shoppers’ needs, enabling us to develop high value utilities any where along the customer journey. The virtual stores Tesco built in the subway in Korea last year that turned otherwise dead time into productive shopping occasions connected to home delivery services for commuters is a perfect example of cementing relationship with shoppers with a high value service. Admittedly, the added elements of surprise and delight also played a role in motivating people to purchase in this instance. Retailers from China to the US have since emulated this model. Others have followed suit such as Dominos Pizza in Japan with their delivery app. The geo-location feature promises “delivery anywhere.” It has opened up a new shopping channel and resulted in huge incremental revenue for the restaurant chain.
So the message is: augment your existing CRM activities through the inclusion of shopper considerations and insights and you’ll build stronger shopper relationships, generating greater return on your efforts and drive increased lifetime value.
The author recognises the contribution of Ken Madden to this piece.