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Retail 2016- Talking The Consumers Language blog image

Retail 2016: Talking The Consumers Language

Acxiom BlogsJuly 20, 2016

“In a maturing digital age, consumer channels are growing exponentially, and so is the need – and the difficulty – in engaging with customers on a relevant, personal and contextual level.” Tomas Salfischberger CEO, Relay42

As marketers we all want to truly understand customers’ experiences, and prepare ourselves for new technologies and media, arriving at an increasing pace. But above all we need to understand what good looks like.

That’s why the DMA’s Customer Engagement Committee decided to explore the fusion of data-driven technology with behavioural insights, and see how this makes a difference to the bottom line; to ROI, and what makes for excellent customer engagement.

This retail 2016 research sets out the new rules of engagement that will form the basis for an ongoing stream of customer engagement activity from the DMA.

In 1999, when the internet was still a relatively niche and uncomplicated place, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote that, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

While this still stands true, changes in consumer behaviour, predominantly driven by new tech, mean that the opportunities to listen to our customers – unhappy or not – are endless.

So what are the new rules of engagement?

“The brand/customer relationship is inherently transactional, and so customer engagement must relate back to the transaction and the services you offer. How are you making it better, easier, more enjoyable? If you’re not then it doesn’t matter how close you try to get to the customer they will just retreat from you. They don’t want you to be their friend, they want you to be a better retailer.”  James Moffat Executive Director, Organic

While we are clearly still making strides into the long grass that is our fragmented and disparate media landscape, we are also beating a path through to new ways to engage potential customers. Our customer engagement research, conducted by our partners the Future Foundation, shows how consumers can be engaged today.

Technology has brought new rigour and vigour to the 2016 retail industry. Responses can be measured, quantified and processed to give new insights into behaviour, preferences and more. However, this can have unintended consequences, such as ‘brand stalking’, where something you have bought (or not) follows you around on every website.

This research shows that consumers’ purchase patterns are complex. People are persuaded by brands, with 40% habitually buying their preferred brands. However, 76% agree that they are willing to spend time to get the best value. Consumer behaviour is eroding brand loyalties, and there has never been a better opportunity for new brands to challenge the status-quo.

So what do customers want?

“Consumers are fickle. I know, I am one. Our expectations are high and though our loyalty may be strong, for most products we can be swayed by a number of things.” Jed Mole European Marketing Director, Acxiom

The top four choices are quality (72%), service (64%), offers (63%) and convenience (57%). These responses demonstrate this changing brand affiliation, with brand qualities important but potentially trumped by other factors.

The desires and needs of consumers are universal, but the ways in which people use new media are constantly changing. This report gives a snapshot of this changing media usage and how people plan to use new media in the future.

Now artificial intelligence is accessible to marketers, the same algorithm that generates brand stalking could be presented differently to give people the personal touch they crave – 55% of younger respondents wanted to explore new ways to interact, like chatbots and virtual assistants.

To find out more about the complex interactions and how marketers can better engage potential customers, download the full DMA Customer Engagement 2016 Report below:

DMA Customer Engagement 2016 CTA