The past couple of years delivered a seismic shock to the retail world as we knew it. Some brands have thrived, and many have struggled to survive. Now, with a glimmer of normality on the horizon, retailers of all shapes and sizes are witnessing a shifting retail landscape, characterised by altered customer behaviours, as well as rapidly evolving technology.

At the heart of this, personalisation is taking centre stage as retailers are finding new ways to contextualise the messages, offers, and experiences they deliver to every customer’s preference. Online giants, such as Amazon, have been successfully dominating this space for years, and these ecommerce juggernauts are putting pressure on all brands to compete on and offer more convenient experiences – particularly with delivery and post-purchase. On the other hand, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal – so this shift is being driven by the customer too. 

As 2021 comes to a close, it’s clear that brands who do not prioritise creating a tailored experience for their customers run the risk of getting left behind. But how exactly can this be achieved?

Get proactive with communications 

Research by IMRG found that 80% of customers expect tracking to come from the retailer, demonstrating how customers expect accurate branded tracking as hygiene. Despite this,  found that only 36% of the retailers we assessed offered branded tracking, suggesting a current disparity between what customers want, and what brands are offering. Not only that, but using a third-party carrier to provide customer updates can have an adverse effect. Effectively, this drives customers away from the retailer’s app or webpage, and away from the brand experience too. For those who can successfully create this connected and personalised tracking experience, they’ll be racing ahead of the competition. 

Branded tracking is also a crucial component when faced with a surge of demand. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that disruption can come out of the blue at any time. When this happens, it’s paramount that internal teams have sight of every delivery journey and in real-time. In fact, a whopping 97% of customers say knowing where their delivery is ‘important’ to them today, so getting this part of the delivery right can make or break a brand. 

With that said, retailers need to stay one step ahead of consumers by getting proactive with communication. Customers shouldn’t have to be reaching out to customer service teams in order to find out about changes to their delivery – retailers need to be doing all the leg work. Plus, this reduces the pressure on contact centres too, since customers are given the information they need before they even think about picking up the phone. 

Better insights, for a better customer experience 

Though it may go without saying, loyal customers are the most likely to repeat purchase, and are therefore crucial to a business. And, one of the best ways to create loyal customers is through personalisation and customer experience tactics. Branded tracking has several benefits – and keeping customers informed is no doubt a key one – but it can also be used to create a captive audience, and harness the power of insights. From tailored content to product recommendations, to different personas or segments, you can impress customers and gather those all-important learnings. If you’re keeping the customer on your site or app, and keeping them engaged in your brand, you’re also keeping sight of their post-purchase behaviour. 

Harnessing data insights in this way can transform the post-purchase experience, allowing you to continuously mould it changing consumer behaviour. This can be achieved by asking the right questions. For instance, wherein the delivery journey do customers look for an update? What ads are clicking with customers most? What communications are driving the most site visits? Knowing these key things can make all the difference when it comes to standing out against your competitors, driving revenue and boosting customer retention rates.

Convenience is key 

It’s no longer enough to put a customer’s name on the top of an email if you want to create a tailored experience, or simply impress the modern customer. Rather, it’s more about ensuring they have access to the information they want, through the channels they choose. This is where having a clear omnichannel strategy can do wonders for brand loyalty. After all, if brands extend personalised experiences right through the customer journey, way more value can be achieved in terms of conversion, satisfaction, and returning shoppers. In fact, customer retention rates are 90% higher for omnichannel vs. single channel.

To offer an enhanced cross-platform digital experience, brands can also use branded multi-channel communications across email, social media platforms, websites and apps. Sorted research discovered that one of the most valued parts of the post-purchase journey was receiving updates about an order from the retailer, in the digital channel of their choosing. Yet retailers don’t need to be meeting their customers in all of these channels, at the same time. They simply need to meet them on the channels they want them to be. For some, an email may do the trick. But for others, an SMS text, an app update, or live chat may be the preferred channel. The bottom line is clear, offering choice and convenience should be at the core of your personalisation strategy. 

Own the customer experience, gain a competitive advantage 

Customers are no longer just buying the products anymore, but the entire end-to-end experience. Since it only takes one bad experience for a customer to shun a brand, and fall into the arms of another – now is the time to act. Brands need to up their game should they want to dominate the ecommerce space. Offering personalised delivery right through the customer journey is a great way to do this, ensuring all customers feel valued and eager to come back for more. 

By David Grimes, Founder, Sorted

By Alison