The business dictionary defines a hypercompetitive market as a rapid escalation of competitive tactics used by direct business competitors. Brands embroiled in a hypercompetitive market typically use a combination of strategies including price wars (such as discounts), blitzkrieg marketing (such as using 360-degree campaigns) and improving the basic product itself.
Surviving a Hypercompetitive Market
Surviving in a hypercompetitive market is a challenge in itself for most brands; but when you throw in highly demanding, hyperconnected customers into the mix; you have a whole new set of barriers and problems to tackle.
For a brand, it can be tempting to try and attack the market with gusto, trying all of the abovementioned strategies to compete for business, but in order to be effective, the company has to follow a sequential, step-by-step process to understand customers, acquire them and effectively convert them into returning customers.
Brand Stickiness vs Brand Loyalty
There are two types of affinity a customer can have towards a brand – brand stickiness and brand loyalty. The two are certainly similar but there are a few minor differences as well.
Brand loyalty is when a customer is actively choosing a brand; maybe because he/she relates to what the brand stands for or finds utility in the brand’s product offering. An example of brand loyalty would be a customer who chooses TOMS shoes solely because of the company’s promise to deliver a pair of free shoes to a child in need for every sale of their retail product. A more mainstream example would be Apple and its ability to create a strong and very obvious divide between the brand and its competition. This, coupled with the feeling of luxury and exclusivity is part of the reason why Apple’s products are so well received despite the steep price tags they often come with.
Brand stickiness is when you set up your customer to return to your business because you create convenience. In this scenario, it becomes inconvenient for your customer to migrate to a competing brand. The classic and oft-cited example of brand stickiness is Amazon Prime. The program packs a winning combination of convenience, savings, and trust; which has rendered Amazon the default online shopping destination for millions across the globe.
Ultimately, the end goal of creating both brand loyalty and brand stickiness is the same – to acquire a customer and retain them in a setup that makes it convenient for a customer to choose a business repeatedly and in the long run, it becomes profitable for the business to retain loyal customers and serve them to their satisfaction. And the best brands manage to build stellar brand loyalty while focussing heavily on brand stickiness.
Who is a sticky customer and how do you retain him?
Every business encounters two types of customers – transactional customers and sticky customers. A transactional customer is one who is clear about what the needs and is not necessarily keen on getting it from one particular brand. A transactional customer tends to weigh the different options that he has in front of him before he makes his decision and most of his decisions are purely cost and efficiency driven.
A sticky customer is one who finds value in your business and because he relates to your brand offering on a personal level. A sticky customer is one who continually returns to your business and the best way to retain him, beyond loyalty programs and discounts is to build a long and lasting relationship with him. If you can serve the customer’s needs beyond his own expectations and deliver efficient grievance redressal, then you have won your customer’s loyalty.
It is also important to strike the right balance between continuously communicating with your customers and over-communicating with them. Since we live in a hyperconnected world, it becomes easy to reach a customer through every medium of communication that’s available but the flip side of doing that is that you risk spamming a customer. Therefore it becomes vital for brands to strike the right balance through hyper-targeted, personalized and high-value engagement that’s a win-win for both customers as well as the brand.
How to Boost Brand Stickiness
Here are some of the ways that a company can introduce stickiness into their brand offerings.
Think of gym and fitness centres that charge a customer on the basis of 6 months- 1 year. Ensuring that a customer has recurring transactions with your company is a way to ensure that the customer interacts frequently. In a market that is hypercompetitive, it helps to have a customer think about your brand repeatedly because being forgotten is one of a marketer’s biggest nightmares.
A brand can only be sticky if it’s consistent. Keep your communications and marketing messages consistent in their language, style, and design. Consistency also helps a brand build recall, something that is crucial in a world that currently has a lot of clutter in terms of the number of brands present in each category. There is a concept of ‘headspace’ that each brand takes up – this concept is directly linked to recall and brand recognition.
The quality of your end product, the ease of transaction and the efficiency of your customer service all play important roles in retaining a customer. The easier it is for a customer to integrate your brand into his life, the higher are your chances of retaining a customer and possibly converting a transactional customer into a sticky one.
It’s a popular technique employed by many brands in order to create a connection with their customers. This has more to do with marketing than with efforts to retain customers but nevertheless, it is an important way of nurturing a customer connection. A brand can make a customer feel as if they are supporting a cause by supporting a brand that stands for a cause itself. If a brand can succeed at pulling at customer’s heartstrings, they can create a connect and once the customer is happy with the quality of the product offering, they will willingly convert into returning customers.
A membership program or a loyalty program that offers benefits to customers and incentivises their participation in your business can help make your brand sticky and memorable.
Build a relationship with your customers
Beyond loyalty programs, there needs to be an element of personalisation to grab the customer’s attention. This personalisation helps customers feel as if the brand cares about them and thus builds a rapport with them. We live in an age of social media, therefore if a brand goes the extra mile to reward customers for using their products, it will result in positive conversations around the brand which will be beneficial for the brand its reputation in the long run. Also, intelligent retail analytics platforms and campaign managers powered by Big Data and AI can automatically target the most receptive customers with hyperpersonalized communications to achieve your business goals.
Efficient customer support
It’s important to remember that a customer’s experience with a brand or a company does not end once the product has been sold/the transaction has been made. If a customer reaches out to the company with a complaint, a grievance or feedback, it is the company’s job to ensure that they get quick and efficient resolution. Many companies are leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots to serve customers and help address their grievances on a 24*7 basis.
How Digitization Impacts Brand Loyalty & Stickiness
Digitization can empower brands with an array of tools and technologies that are effective in driving brand loyalty and stickiness. The majority of solutions are focussed on convenience and personalization as a means to achieve the end result.
Take the example of global coffee brand Starbucks. One feature they introduced that the customers truly loved was their mobile order and pay feature. This allowed a customer to place an order for a beverage or a food item and then go to the nearest Starbucks and simply pick up their order. In this case, Starbucks made its product offering both convenient and accessible – two very strong pillars in improving a customer’s experience with a brand.
At the crux of this, is integration. If you can find ways to integrate your brand offering into your customer’s daily life, then stickiness and thereby loyalty can be easily achieved.
How to Measure Brand Stickiness
A key aspect of measuring brand stickiness involves analyzing customer behaviour and purchase patterns. So it’s vital to have closed-loop testing systems and retail analytics platforms to determine if the strategies that you are using are effective in driving higher sales and revenue.
Your customer understands you
When your customer understands your brand offering, brand cause and can effectively evaluate why your business works better for them than your competitors, then you have not only successfully retained a customer, they then become patrons of your business. For this reason, it’s important for brands to convey their vision and value in a simple and clear manner.
Your customer actively chooses you
We live in a hyperconnected world and consumers everywhere are bombarded with choice. If you can convince a customer to choose you amidst all the clutter, then you have succeeded in making a mark in your brand segment.
You have a high percentage of returning customers
Studies show that it is easier to retain a customer than to convince a new customer to choose your business. There are various customer loyalty programs and schemes that can be used to retain your customers – pick the one that has the most benefits for your customers in order to keep them happy and entice them to return. Also, ensure your loyalty program software gives you insights regarding the number of repeat visitors and what offer/communication led to the repeat visit.
Your customers talk about you
Now, with the help of social media and other broadcasting tools, a customer can talk about their experiences with brands and companies and if the user has beyond 10,000 followers on any given platform, they even have the power to influence customer decisions to buy a brand or to avoid the company. It’s imperative for a brand to implement social listening and social analytics tools to track these conversations.
Creating brand stickiness and loyalty in a hypercompetitive market is a herculean task to say the least. Thankfully, businesses now have access to powerful and highly effective tools powered by AI and Machine Learning that maximizes the success rate by revealing Where, When and How to engage with their customers to achieve the desired results
Let’s face it. Social media is a big deal. We’re all part of one social media or another, and oftentimes, social has become our primary source of news and information, having now almost completely replaced traditional sources such as television and newspaper, etc. At the same time, social media is a very personal and informal space where we mostly connect with people we know, along with content outlets as well as the brands we like.
In fact, social media is one of the most direct ways for any brand to connect with its consumers. According to a Sprout Social study, when consumers feel connected to a brand, 76% would choose them over a competitor, whereas 57% would spend more with that brand.
Brands today don’t need convincing that they should be part of social media. Most brands are already active on it. However, many brands are using social media as any other marketing channel, without really understanding how to leverage it the right way. The question then remains, as a brand, are you creating the perception that you seek from social media and are you maximising the demand generation potential that social media brings? Read on to know more about how you can leverage Social CRM to engage your target audience!
Marketing is being shaped by consumers
Because of social media, consumers now have way more say in any brand communication than before. This, two-way interactive communication and engagement is the biggest difference brands must consider while developing a social media marketing and CRM strategy. The content you put out should reach your ideal audience, and to do that it’s essential to listen and engage with them on a personal level.
Focus on creating awareness
Consumers are often looking out for new brands and products on social media. As a brand, your objective should be to drive more awareness about your offerings to your consumers. You must create content in multiple formats such as images, videos, infographics etc. which can help make your content diverse and attention-grabbing. Running an interesting contest among your social followers is a good way to keep them engaged while rewarding them for their support and increasing your conversions at the same time. Making use of user-generated content is another great way to build credibility.
Personalization is valued
Consumers expect brands they shop from to know and understand them. If you can personalize your communication on social, it is bound to be extremely impactful. According to a digital agency, Wunderman, 79% of consumers want brands to actively demonstrate that they care about receiving their business, a concept they call “wantedness”. A data-driven approach is essential to build the levels of personalization consumers seek in order to drive increased engagement and sales for the brand. This is where your social CRM strategy program plays a vital role.
Bata Malaysia Social CRM Case study
By combining the CRM data you possess on your consumer demographics and behaviour, along with rich consumer profiling and segmentation that most social media platforms are capable of today, you can create hyper-personalized, hyper-targeted campaigns that can give you exponential RoI.
Bata Malaysia linked their CRM data with social media and got 57X RoI from their social media campaigns. The team was able to run a social campaign based on their consumer’s offline behaviour and was able to track how consumers were interacting with them online, and how many of them actually walked into their stores bought the products offline. This allowed for accurate RoI assessment and rich campaign performance data which allowed them to keep improving the performance of their campaigns. They also found out that their social media promotions were much more efficient than their traditional SMS and email campaigns. Read more of their story here.
In conclusion, an optimized social CRM strategy is a great way for brands to target and win over consumers in the digital age. However, they need to keep a few things in mind like – social media is an interactive, intimate medium. Put your points across in an attractive way, and make consumers understand that you value them.
For restaurants, the biggest growth channel right now is online ordering. According to last year’s viral report by investment bank UBS, food delivery sales which was $35 Billion worldwide could rise at an annual average of more than 20% to $365 billion by 2030.
A lot of this rise is attributed to the millennial generation, which the report stated could also be killing the personal kitchen. Another report by OrderTalk backs this claim, stating that, in the US, Millennials on average used online ordering 29% more than those above 45 years of age.
Food delivery sales, which was $35 Billion worldwide could rise at an annual average of more than 20% to $365 billion by 2030
If your restaurant isn’t available for online ordering, you’re losing out on a big chunk of sales today and it’s only going to get bigger. This is especially true for QSRs and Fast Casual restaurants as according to Datassential, 39% of all online orders were for Quick Service Restaurants.
Online ordering has been proven to increase spends as well. According to Deloitte, average online spends were upto 26% more for QSRs and 13% more for fast casual and casual restaurants.
So we’ve established that online ordering is essential, but how should restaurants do it, and what are consumers looking for?
Easy ordering experience
When it comes to online ordering, consumers are looking for easy experiences. First, they want the ability to seamlessly order from multiple channels and devices. Restaurants today are providing consumers the ability to order from their website, mobile apps, social media through tweets and DMs, through online chatbots, wearables and even from their cars.
Secondly, the ordering experience needs to be easy. Menu items need to be properly detailed as upto 20% of users drop off if they have questions about the menu that weren’t answered by the website/app. The user experience must be intuitive without involving too many steps. Having the option of one-click re-ordering also makes a huge difference for returning customers.
Customisation and personalisation
Customisation of menu items has become a growing want for consumers. Upto 60% consumers wanted to customise their orders, and 21% consumers had abandoned their order because of lack of customisation options. It’s a must to have at least, as many customisation options on an online ordering platform as one would in a physical restaurant.
Personalisation of experience is another way through which restaurants can increase sales drastically. Storefront personalisation gives restaurants the ability to populate menu items an individual consumer is more likely to buy. Personalised recommendations and suggestive selling can also help convert more, upsell consumers and increase sales of sides. This also helps consumers feel like the business knows them, which is something millennial consumers value, making them more likely to return. According to Deloitte, upto 70% of consumers seek this.
Multiple delivery options
Once a consumer has chosen what they want to buy, the restaurant ordering platform must also allow for multiple delivery options. The ability to get food delivered to their home or office, enable curbside pickup, or order ahead to eat at the restaurant can make a huge difference in consumer experience.
Ordering ahead has become a trend that is extremely sought after today as more and more consumers are looking for instant gratification. Instead of having to wait in a queue, having food waiting fresh for them to eat or takeaway can be magical. This can be possible with location services, that can track when a consumer is about to reach the outlet and carefully optimise food production.
Another benefit of Online Ordering is mobile payments. Gone are the days when you had to run around the house looking for change in order to pay the pizza delivery guy. Today, having the option of multiple payment options such as cash, cards and the most popular mobile wallets is a must have for online consumers who seek the convenience of mobile payments.
The experience of placing an order is just one part. The experience after placing the order is what actually makes or breaks the entire experience. Consumers are less likely to order again if they had to wait for a long time before their order was delivered. As consumers want, what they want, when they want it, enabling instantaneous deliveries are a must for any restaurant. One should also set expectations right when it comes to their promise of how long it would take to deliver.
Live order tracking and driver tracking can elevate ordering experience on the consumer end while making it easier for the restaurant to deliver quickly. Restaurants must utilise geo-location and trade-zone optimisation to deliver food as fresh and fast as possible.
Going forward, robots and drones may take over humans when it comes to the actual delivery, requiring minimal human intervention in the process. Many have already started pilots and trials to make this possible, however when this would be commonplace is subject to regulations.
Post delivery engagement
40% consumers would like to hear from a restaurant more than once a month
The experience doesn’t end once the food has been delivered. Apart from gathering feedback on the food and the delivery experience, consistent engagement post delivery is key to get consumers to order again.
Consumers seek communication from restaurants they like. According to Deloitte, 40% consumers would like to hear from a restaurant more than once a month, especially if it’s about special discounts and offers which piqued the interest of 80% of these consumers whereas 34% consumers also looked for personalised communication.
Personalising engagement is the most effective at getting consumers to order again. Targeting them with the right menu items and offers at the right time, through the right channel using previous purchase data could further enhance the user experience. Having a restuarant loyalty program in place with the right rewards could also drive consumers to order again and again.
The right online ordering platform
For any restaurant today, online ordering is hard to ignore. While being available on food aggregators or third-party delivery players can be a good option for restaurants to go online quickly, having your own online ordering platform can help increase unit margins since you don’t have to pay high commissions associated with third party aggregator orders. They also gain from better integration and smoother operations when they have their own ordering platform. This means, restaurants also have more control over their end-user experience and better data on their consumers which can only help them in the long term as well.
Food has always been an integral part of our lives, and eating habits of a population has often defined cultures, settlements and society in general. Though the significance of food has remained consistent, the what, how and where we eat has consistently evolved through centuries.
As the concept of a “restaurant” becomes more than 250 years old, recent advancements in technology and communication is completely redefining what a restaurant is and can be. Let’s look at a few such advancements, and tech trends that aim to shape the restaurant of the near future.
Here, I’m not talking about the rising number of mobile restaurants such as “food trucks” which is also an interesting trend in itself. Instead, I’m talking about the impact mobile phones, especially smartphones are having in the way we consume food.
Mobile ordering has truly captured the imagination of consumers who are craving something to eat and need it delivered to them very quickly. Sure, there was always home delivery of some kind and most large chains had their own hotline numbers where their consumers could order from, but never before has ordering food been more convenient than it is on a mobile app today.
With interactive menus, integrated payments and live order tracking, consumers can access the food from across their city, on their phone, from the comfort of their homes. Infact, many restaurant chains have started to offer their own app and mobile friendly websites (progressive web apps) to enable their customers to order from them directly. For restaurants, this reduces the dependency on food aggregators to enable online ordering. The restaurant mobile ordering experience that these chains are providing has also become one of the primary differentiators amongst growing online competition they face. Mobile ordering though is just one part of how mobile technology would be used in the restaurant of the future.
More and more restaurants are building their own mobile apps to make consumer experience better at their physical outlets as well. These apps also serve as a means for restaurants to offer a ‘VIP’ experience to their best consumers.
Whether it is the ability order ahead and skip the queue, or integrated payments, apps can make the buying process that much more seamless and convenient, giving these restaurants a bigger consumer experience edge amongst their competition. This has given rise to the term, “pre-restaurant” experience, where consumers are not just able to reserve tables or order ahead, but can also become part of the production process, being able to track their orders as they are being prepared in the kitchen. Geofencing through GPS and IoT devices has also enabled restaurants to track the arrival of customers, ensuring they can serve the customer at the right time, virtually eliminating any waiting period. Such convenience is especially important as according to Mintel, for 82% consumers, convenience plays an important role when it comes to their dining out choices.
Personalisation of Experience
Apart from the increase in convenience that apps are bringing, Artificial Intelligence technology and the amount of data restaurants have on consumers means that it’s becoming increasingly easy to personalise experiences for consumers. This trend is only going to become more intensive in the future.
Many restaurants are already personalising their menus using online food ordering platforms, but going forward, even menus at tables could become digital and highly personalised. Whether it is based on food preferences, dietary restrictions, or even allergies, restaurants would be able to tailor their offerings based on each individual consumer. Personalised product recommendations both online and at the restaurant PoS or through the wait staff can further improve personalisation of experience.
More options for customisation
Customisation of menu items is already a big trend right now. 72% of consumers expect DIY customisation options at restaurants according to a report by Technomic. The restaurant of the future would present a bigger range of such customisation options to consumers.
This could be through a digital jukebox that consumers could control, on-demand entertainment they could enjoy, lights they could configure, etc. In the future some restaurants are going to branch out into realising completely immersive environments for consumers which they can control and personalise.
Automation is something that we’re going to see more often in restaurants of the future. This would be mostly driven to increase the efficiency of operations and reduce costs.
Modern kitchens are already full of innovative gadgets that help with various processes of food production. The human intervention required in between these processes would also gradually come down with bigger advances in robotics. Food delivery would also be automated in the restaurant of the future through drones that will bring food to customers, with greater speed and efficiency.
Service touchpoints have also slowly started to become digital. Many restaurants have been deploying digital kiosks where consumers can place orders themselves. Not only does this elevate queues at the outlet, it also gives consumers an option to place orders at their convenience. Going forward, such kiosk will get smarter, up to a point where they could almost function as virtual waitstaff at a restaurant, even capable of personalised conversations with the customer.
Virtual waitstaff could also be deployed at tables where they could trigger menus, assist with orders, refill water etc., automatically.
In order for this level of personalisation of experience to work seamlessly, restaurants of the future would have advanced facial recognition capabilities which would allow them to identify consumers walking into their stores, so they could serve them better.
Neurogastronomy, the study of how the brain creates perception of flavour, is another trend that could have a big impact in the restaurant of the future. Sure, many restaurant chains today use favourable colors such as red, which is said to induce hunger. Going forward – restaurants may be capable of changing the surrounding environment around diners based on their menu selections, with automatically triggered decor elements, lighting, scent and sound to increase the perceived flavour of their food.
Sustainability has become a huge concern for consumers today. Nearly half of consumers think that it’s important to consume food and beverage that are made with “clean label ingredients” according to Datassential.
As millennials become the biggest consumer group today, they will continue to influence the industry into building brands that stand for something and offer up authentic experiences. Driving sustainable practices of food production, and consumption are going to be big factors influencing consumer choice in the near future. Technology is going to play a big part in making this process easier and more efficient. Whether it is through smarter sourcing, more efficient production processes, and reduction of food wastage, better data and automation are only going to make restaurants more sustainable.
India’s eCommerce business experienced exponential growth of about 80% in 2013, and this magnitude of growth has continued. The explosion of online shopping in India has woken up retailers taking a lax look at eCommerce. With predictions of the eCommerce market shooting from the current $3 billion to $15 billion by 2016, it is high time to enter the online market.
However, managing an eCommerce website can be a daunting task as well as an extremely expensive affair if not tackled in the correct way. The easiest and best way to go about opening an eCommerce store is through an eCommerce platform – where all the technology and backend is taken care of. When you are looking to create your online presence, choosing an eCommerce platform is one of the first decisions you will have to make. However, this choice is not as straightforward as it may seem. With a stupendous growth in eCommerce and a multitude of available platforms, the choices you have are vast. You are often told and may think that choice is a good thing, however, it is not always so as it makes your decision-making process here even harder.
Retailers are in a rush to open their eCommerce stores today, however, it is important you make the right choice the first time as changing platforms later can be time consuming and expensive. The platform you choose to go with matters. There have been many cases where short-sightedness while choosing an eCommerce platform or route has resulted in problems, especially when on-site traffic increases. In a recent survey, 22% of the companies said they had changed platforms within the past year an 32% said that they are looking to change their platform in the future. It can be inferred that a huge number of companies do not find their right platform math the first time.
The eCommerce platform you choose is pivotal to your eCommerce journey – just like the car you buy is important for your driving experience or the person you marry plays a role in maintaining your relationship. As while buying a car, you would do a thorough research of the specifications, you would have to do the same with your eCommerce platform. If you want the performance of a Mercedes, but buy a Maruti 800 (Alto 800 now), you are not going to be happy. If you marry a person without agreeing on future possibilities, you are going to be in for a surprise! Similarly, if you get on an eCommerce platform without thorough research, you are going to regret it.
To make sure you make a wise and informed decision, we analysed and consolidated considerations which really matter to your business. Here are the top 6 considerations you should be taking prior to choosing your eCommerce platform: –
Technology: Technology is the nucleus of the platform, around which it is built.
Omnichannel Capability: The platform should have the ability to handle marketing, selling and servicing in an integrated manner across multiple channels such as online, mobile, social etc.
Report and analyse: Your eCommerce site is a mine of data you need to get valuable insights out of. The required tools for this activity are the reporting and data analysis capabilities of your platform.
Extensibility – Retailers should look for a platform that comes pre-integrated with a wide array of third-party solutions.
Total Cost of Ownership: It’s important to consider the total cost of ownership – the sum total of direct and indirect costs
Time to market and User Control: Timing is as important as your offering to your customers.
Download our complete guide to platform selection to know more. With this guide detailing what to look for, you will significantly save on your decision-making time.
This platform selection guide includes:-
- Detailed top 6 considerations to take while selecting a platform
- Questions to ask eCommerce platforms you are considering
- Checklist to follow to help get you closer to the decision
Well, personalisation is your answer, especially the kind that’s powered by Artificial Intelligence. I’ve already talked at length about the impact personalisation can have on consumers and businesses alike. Here, I would like to talk about, how you can effectively personalise your engagement campaigns and actually see the results it can bring.
I’ll be sharing the learning from two brands who’ve used Capillary Campaign Personalisation Engine to achieve 2X greater hit rates when compared to campaigns that were based on rules and analytics done by the brand’s analysts. Let’s see how these brands engaged their consumers in 1:1 personalised ways.
Give them relevant recommendations
With the Capillary Campaign Personalisation Engine, the two retail brands were able to offer up relevant product recommendations based on the customer understanding gathered from the data they had on their consumers. As, consumers were targeted with products they were most likely to buy next, it helped the retailers convert these consumers easily.
Talk to them when they want you to
Capillary Campaign Personalisation Engine, also helps brands engage their consumers at the right time. Through analysis of consumer behaviour, the brands were able to determine when these consumers were interacting with these brands. The AI algorithm could segment consumers based on the time they were most likely to respond to messages and the time they were most likely to be interested in a particular product. Based on these insights, the customers were targeted at the right time, when the brands could get the most attention from them.
Make offers that hold value
Pricing can make or break any deal. Through price sensitivity analysis of consumers, the retail brands were able to serve up offers that actually made sense for a customer. This created a sense of urgency in the consumer’s mind that helped them quickly net better conversions. Not just that, these brands were also able to discount products optimally, and maintain better margins on each sale.
How campaign personalisation works?
Capillary Campaign Personalisation Engine works on powerful AI based algorithms that take into consideration, your CRM data, customer data, product attributes data and your past campaigns data to deliver cutting edge personalisation to your campaigns. Talk to us to learn how you can also power your campaigns to 2X growth.
Whether it’s the right set of songs on a Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify, a TV show or movie you may be interested in on Netflix, or a useful product recommended on Amazon, personalised recommendations on these platforms can really help users navigate through the plethora of choices that are vying for our attention at any given moment. Scientific studies on personalised recommendations throw light on a phenomenon called RAS or Reticular Activating System, a concept of selective attention our brain follows, where we only give preference to things that matter to us the most. RAS is what helps us orient ourselves to focus and prioritise things. RAS helps us react only to those things that are the most relevant to us.
With personalisation, brands are trying to doing the same, which is to successfully reach out to their audience amongst the information overload that we’re subjected to everyday. Not just that, but relevant personalisation could have other far reaching effects on us. It can make us feel valued, as though these brands actually understand and care about us. It can give us a sense of control, owing to the feeling that these brands are catering to our needs, and we have the ability to finally choose or influence what information we see or receive. These personalised recommendations can also be very helpful, especially when they act as reminders for something you need, but forgot about, or when you discover something useful to you that you may have never thought of yourself.
With personalisation, brands are trying to successfully reach out to their audience amongst the information overload that we’re subjected to everyday.
It’s important to note that, personalised recommendations aren’t just for the consumers. Several studies have pointed out, businesses who have been actively working on personalisation have been faring much better than those who haven’t. If we revisit the examples of Spotify, Netflix and Amazon, I had mentioned earlier, not only are they widely known for their work in the field of personalised recommendations, they are also well known as leaders in their respective industry.
In fact, a study by PwC states, 12% of consumers chose their favourite brands based on personalised offers. Another study by Infosys said, 59% of shoppers believed personalised experiences had a significant influence on their purchase. Furthermore, as personalisation is all about understanding and fulfilling the needs of consumers, it can have a significant impact on the overall customer experience, which can consequently show up on your bottomlines.
59% of shoppers believed personalised experiences had a significant influence on their purchase.
Although, the data backs it up, and most businesses claim personalisation to be a priority, many are yet to proactively work towards this objective. If your business is among those, enabling personalised recommendations is just the place to begin your personalisation journey.
While businesses such as Amazon, Netflix and Spotify may have spent million developing the Artificial Intelligence technology that makes their personalised platforms work, today, enterprise technology providers such as Capillary are enabling businesses with the power of AI to do the same at a fraction of the cost.
Personalising online commerce
Personalised recommendations on your e-commerce website or app is a must have today. You can boost product discovery through ‘target blocks’ which are sections of your website that can display relevant products for your consumers based on their purchase history and browsing behaviour. On your homepage, “Trending Products” and “Popular Products” target blocks can be used to highlight certain products whereas, individual product pages could have ‘Similar Items’ and ‘People Who Bought This Also Bought’ to serve relevant recommendations to consumers.
Recommendation target blocks for ‘Similar Items’ and ‘People who bought this also bought’ can also help you increase transaction value as it’s also a good way to upsell or cross sell to consumers. Similar strategy can be applied to your cart completion page where target blocks, “Quick Picks” or “You May Also Like” can help increase basket size. Capillary’s own study on a customer using our AI powered recommendation engine to personalise recommendations on their website had revealed, a 7.5% increase in sales per customer, a 12% increase in conversion rates and 22% increase in overall sales when compared not having any personalised recommendations.
AI powered personalised recommendations on an ecommerce website netted a 7.5% increase in sales per customer, a 12% increase in conversion rates and 22% increase in overall sales
Enabling personalised cross-channel communication
Just like your website or app, product recommendations can be served up on your interactions and engagement with your consumers. Having a single view of consumer across channels can help you understand consumers and deliver the right product recommendations, at the right time, through relevant channels, which can greatly increase hit rates on campaigns. At Capillary, we noticed that brands using our AI powered personalisation engine saw 2X greater incremental sales on their personalised campaigns. Read more about campaign personalisation here.
AI powered personalisation engine provided 2X greater incremental sales on personalised campaigns
Personalising offline interactions
There is huge potential to be had in personalising offline customer interactions that many retailers often miss. Empowering store associates or wait staff with apps that can help them identify customers and deliver relevant recommendations based on customer needs can go a long way into increasing in-store customer satisfaction as well as conversions.
As consumer get more used to having things their way, such personalised experiences are going to become the norm. Retailers who act quickly and stay ahead of the personalisation game have a better chance of sticking out amongst the crowd.
How cross channel order orchestration, through an Order Management System helps you deliver on omnichannel experiences
As businesses faced pressure to go online, most established digital avenues for their customers to shop from, but is this enough to fulfil the exponentially increasing customer expectations of today?
It’s important to realise that consumers are not just secluded to either online or offline channels exclusively. They move across these channels conveniently to buy what they want, where they want, right when they want it.
Cross-channel orchestration through an Order Management System could be your first step in providing the omnichannel experience that your customers now expect. It also helps retailers achieve the right balance between cost, speed and efficiency
Let’s consider Sandra, who is looking for running shoes at a sportswear website. She finds a pair of light blue trainers she likes, adds it to her cart and proceeds to check out.
A Deloitte study revealed that 69% customers want various delivery/pick-up options. 56% customers also expected the product to reach them within 3 days.
Since the sportswear brand uses a highly configurable Order Management System, Sandra gets the option to buy online and get it delivered to her home, buy online and pick it up from a nearby store or buy in-store and get it delivered to her home etc. Based on her convenience, she chooses to get it delivered and since she’s happy with the estimated time of arrival, she makes a credit card payment, confirming the purchase. A Deloitte study revealed that 69% customers want such delivery/pick-up options. 56% customers also expected the product to reach them within 3 days.
OMS gives retailers a single view of all orders, including Sandra’s, coming in from each customer touch point such as their ecommerce website, marketplaces or offline stores etc. Retailers also get a single view of all inventory, across all departments, from sales, operations to support. This eliminates errors, reduces costs and makes fulfilment a breeze. The sportswear brand could now maximize their existing inventory, reduce turnaround time and markdowns, enabling a faster cash cycle. Visibility into payments and reconciliation also ensures the customer’s purchase intent before the product is shipped.
Getting orders ready
Once a customer places an order, the products chosen could be located either at a warehouse or at a physical store. Depending on the configured rules, the OMS automatically calculates the fastest or most cost-effective locations from where these products could be picked up to be delivered to the customer. By treating offline stores as mini-distribution centres, retailers could optimise their real-estate investments, and even do without warehouses in some cases.
According to Direct Marketing News 46% consumers would stop doing business with a retailer if they were late at fulfilling an order.
According to Direct Marketing News 46% consumers would stop doing business with a retailer if they were late at fulfilling an order. The sportswear brand’s OMS found the shoes Sandra wanted at an offline store near her home, allowing a faster delivery time which was important for Sandra. The retailer also managed to reduce shipping costs involved, most of which was passed on to the customer. High shipping costs can account for more than 50% cart abandonments according to comScore.
Delivering these orders
Once the order has been placed and the optimal product pickup location is calculated, it’s time for the product to be delivered. With a single view of orders, Steve the store associate, could view Sandra’s order and pack the shoes ahead of time, keeping it ready to be shipped.
The Order Management System maps the best logistic partner available for fulfilment. Moreover, certain OMS come bundled with Logistics Management Software which helps with the optimal delivery routes from the first to the last mile, reducing costs and increasing speed.
Soon, Sandra’s shoes were picked up by Mark, the assigned delivery personnel, along with 2 other deliveries that were scheduled from the same store. With OMS, now Mark knew Sandra’s house was the closest to the store and left to deliver her package first.
Elevating post purchase experience
Sandra was anxious about the delivery and called support to enquire if her order would arrive at the specified time. A single view of all orders and delivery details to all departments, from store associates to support staff, enables them all to help the customer better. As soon as she mentioned her order reference number, the support rep, Lauren, informed her that her shoes were out to be delivered. As soon as she hung up, Mark had reached Sandra with her order.
Despite delivering the perfect order, the customer may not like a product and decide to return it. Infact, return costs can account up to 40% of all goods in some industries according to Deloitte. Optimizing returns management through physical and online channels is a must for profitability. When Sandra tried her shoes on, she noticed that they were a touch too big for her, so she opts for a replacement in a smaller size from the website.
Return costs can account up to 40% of all goods in some industries
With OMS, mapping all returns, replacements and reconciliations becomes very easy for operations executives. Though the original store didn’t have the size Sandra wanted, a nearby warehouse did. OMS mapped the order to the warehouse where Mark again, picked up the shoes and delivered it to Sandra while collecting the shoes Sandra returned at the same time. Sandra’s new shoes fit her perfectly and she was now ready to hit the gym.
Does delivering perfection make business sense?
Today seamless integration between various channels are a necessity to meet customer expectations, but putting an Order Management System in place could have other far reaching effects on your business too. Apart from increasing efficiency throughout the supply chain, OMS can also bring advanced analytical insights into the fulfilment process. Businesses can gain from enriched consumer data with a single view of each consumer and their preferences across channels. It also eliminates errors in fulfilment, mitigating loss in customer trust and loss of sale. With artificial intelligence, the automation OMS brings to cross channel orchestration can significantly reduce pressure on your workforce as well. Moreover, optimisation of the fulfilment processes results in significant cost savings across the board.
The hypermarket industry is in a state of flux, much like most other consumer facing industries today. With the rise in adoption of digital and mobile technologies, consumers are getting used to seamless and connected cross channel experiences provided by innovative brands who are making the most of these technologies. Consumers now live in an EasyVerse™ and expect such easy experiences everywhere.
Many retailers today, are ill-equipped to meet the needs of the ‘always on’ digital consumer. According to a Nielsen survey, only 7% of grocery retailers rated themselves as having the skill sets to succeed in digital. Not rising up to consumer experience demands and a lack of presence across channels may hurt hypermarkets in the long term, especially considering the low profit margins the industry in known for.
How then can you drive higher long term profitability with your hypermarket business, and maximise the potential your business has? It’s all about doing a few things, but doing them really well while ensuring what you’re doing is really well known among your consumers.
Let’s look at four areas where you can to focus to help push your hypermarket towards hyper growth.
Be Available, Across Channels
While it’s established that having an online presence is important, just having an ecommerce website is not going to cut it anymore. You can’t go about this with a “build it and they will come” approach. Tech forward consumers can quickly find out if an application or service is adding any value to them. While you develop digital initiatives, you need to consider if you’re creating value and clearly communicating this value to your consumers.
Creating a connected and seamless omnichannel shopping experience is a strategic priority for many grocery retailers in 2018.
Therefore, it is a must for hypermarket businesses to leverage their physical and digital assets to optimize the consumer experience they’re providing. Creating a connected and seamless omnichannel shopping experience is a strategic priority for many grocery retailers in 2018.
Apart from having an ecommerce website, hypermarkets are also investing on additional digital touch points such as a mobile ordering app, and ordering through home assistants such as Alexa, and Google Home etc. Allowing consumers to buy what they want from your inventory through endless aisles in store doesn’t just result in customer satisfaction but it also helps you mitigate loss of sale due to stock-outs.
Another popular way hypermarkets are elevating in-store consumer experience is through store associate apps, which can empower your frontline staff with additional information on products, availability of products, nutritional advice, recommendations, and even a single view profile of the customer so they can best serve them. Such solutions can bring the convenience and personalisation of online shopping to brick and mortar hypermarkets. They can help you increase engagement levels, dwell time and eventually basket size. Once such touchpoints have been established, the challenge lies in providing a consistent experience across all these physical and digital touchpoints.
Make Experiences Connected and Operations Efficient
Consumers today want, what they want, when they want it. This is especially true for hypermarkets where the increased demand for localised products and convenience means businesses have to fulfil consumer expectations through on-demand, hyperlocal delivery. But the last mile has always been the greatest challenge for hypermarkets that have gone online and its optimisation will continue to be a priority for 2018.
Providing consumers with multiple methods of purchase and fulfilment can go a long way towards consumer satisfaction as studies have pointed out, consumers are interested in online ordering, pick up in-store, and home delivery based on what is convenient for them at the time. There is also an increased preference for same day delivery. Offering multiple delivery options and providing consumers with the option of scheduling the time of delivery can help significantly elevate the purchase experience for consumers.
How integrated your store and warehouse systems are with your consumer touchpoints is going to determine how consistent consumer experience is across these touchpoints.
Furthermore, a consumer’s online purchase experience needs to be highly consistent with their offline experience. Apart from exclusive promotions in certain channels, consumers should be able to purchase the same products at the same prices with similar set of promotions across all channels. How integrated your store and warehouse systems are with your consumer touchpoints is going to determine how consistent consumer experience is across these touchpoints.
Integration of existing systems with Order and Warehouse Management Systems can help you fulfil accurately, efficiently and on time, every time.
Understand Consumers To Engage and Reward Them
People are different, and seek different things, different experiences. What’s memorable for one may be forgettable for another. As most hypermarkets cater to a highly diverse set of people, understanding what they really want and how to make their purchase experience better can feel complicated. The answer lies in your data.
Most hypermarkets are already maintaining a CRM system to keep track of their consumers and their transactions, but how often are you using this data to design personalised experiences for your consumers? Are you able to get a 360° single view of your consumer across channels and use this data to build consumer journeys? Are you able to accurately determine who your best consumers are and what are you doing to retain them, to keep them coming back?
Having accurate insights into your consumers helps you keep them engaged with your brand. It doesn’t just help marketing work better, but it also helps maximise consumer retention and loyalty.
As consumers have more choices than ever before, it’s really not easy to build loyalty and protect it. Grocery retailers must find ways to deepen emotional connections with consumers. Having accurate insights into your consumers helps you keep them engaged with your brand. It doesn’t just help marketing work better, but it also helps maximise consumer retention and loyalty. With the right consumer segmentation, based on consumer insights, you can ensure that all your communications are relevant and personalised and with a CRM program, you can get full visibility of your consumers and business across channels to ensure your communications are consistent.
But a CRM program alone isn’t going to be enough. Loyal consumers want to be recognised by the brand, and rewarded for their loyalty. They want to be a part of an exclusive club. Having a well designed loyalty program that complements your brand can be a great way to tap into greater consumer retention and higher repeat sales. But you must make your program easy to use.
Personalise Your Way to Profit
Personalisation is steadily becoming one of the biggest priority for retailers today as they gather more and more data into consumer behaviour and business performance. The challenge here is to use the data and derived insights effectively to push greater growth and profitability for your brand.
Studies say 31% of consumers are prone to switch grocers for personalised offers based on their buying behaviour. They seek experiences that are specifically tailored to them. 50% of users who stopped buying online, did so because they couldn’t easily find the products they were looking for. With personalisation of the storefront, such cases could be significantly reduced while more repeat sales with greater average basket value could be achieved.
Another trend in hypermarkets today are private label products. According to a PLMA study, sales of private label and store brands generated $120 billion in 2016 and will continue to grow significantly. Private labels offer retailers greater control over quality, price and hence profits. It’s no wonder then that most hypermarkets players have already established private label units.
But is there a way to combine the power of personalisation with the higher profits of private labels? Yes, with artificial intelligence based personalised recommendations and suggestive product bundles, you can push a greater number of private label and/or higher margin products to your consumers. Your consumers find what they were looking for, while you gain from greater margins and higher average basket values.
Download the entire resource on achieving profitability through hypermarkets here
Data has always formed the basis of businesses. From the abacus to the tiny computers at the palm of your hand, we’ve always been trying to develop tools that can give us more information about everything around us. But getting more data is not the challenge today. In fact, in this age of information overload, many have started to ask, is there something as too much data, since all that this data is leading to is more confusion for businesses.
What metrics should you trust? Which areas need improvement? What actions should you take and what would the results be? When you start thinking about all this your head starts spinning faster than a fidget spinner going out of style. I mean, sure you can hire teams of data scientists, analysts and consulting firms to look at your data and make sense of it all, and you have to do it, but at times, by the time you derive insights, it’s too late to take action and an opportunity is lost.
The need of the hour isn’t just to simplify and distil these swaths of data into insights, but also to do so in real-time. You also have to be able to slice and dice data so you can compare the options you have and take the best decisions possible backed by actual data.
The intelligence behind quick decisions
It’s important to have visibility into how well your retail business is doing on a day to day basis. Having access to sales and growth KPIs at real-time and having the ability to compare it with historic data allows you to better determine the factors that are influencing your business. It enables you to better optimise working capital and also to take quick decisions to maximise growth, without having to wait for in-depth analysis.
The intelligence behind memorable campaigns
They say marketing can make or break a product or brand. But, are you able to measure your marketing campaign KPIs and RoI so you know what works and what doesn’t while you still have time to take action on it? When information spreads so quickly and attention spans are at an all time low, knowing how your consumers are responding to your campaigns and subsequently to your brand can be the difference between bringing relevance and being monotonous.
The intelligence behind store growth
Retail is all about optimising your assets to ensure you’re not stretching or saturating yourself. Knowing exactly how well each of your stores are doing everyday gives you the power to take actions to improve store performance at a granular level. In this omnichannel world, being able to compare the performance of various channels across different regions gives you the insights you need to share resources strategically to help low performing assets as well as maximise high performing ones. Design targets and incentives intelligently and watch stores grow.
The intelligence behind successful products
All said and done, it’s your products that make or break a sale and gradually create your brand perception. Hence it’s important to have visibility into what SKUs are working for you and which ones are not performing as expected. By comparing products within and between the various categories and multiple brands that you may have, you can better understand factors impeding performance and use these insights to focus strategically on lower performing products. You can also understand and optimise supply chain operations better as per seasonality and customer segments etc.
Get all the essential insights on the go
Business intelligence tools can power you with all the essential insights your business needs, directly at your fingertips. With Capillary Essential Insights, get more than 24 easy to customise reports that are built specifically for your retail business. Having access to overall business insights such as sales reports, product insights, store insights, campaign insights, customer insights etc. in real-time, Essential Insights enables you to continue making the most of your data and take actions instantly. With rich, interactive visualisations on desktop and mobile, BI tools such as Essential Insights lets you discover insights easily and unlock growth on the go.