Post-covid, consumers in the MEA region have reset their lives to suit the digital phenomenon but, at the same time, retained some long-standing spending behaviours. Buying and paying methods have altered while expectations of customer delight through personalised experiences continue.
More than 44% of consumers in the Middle East currently spend close to four hours (apart from work-related log-ins) daily on their devices. And two-thirds of shoppers prefer using their smartphones for online shopping. Studies indicate that consumer spending is inclined towards apparel, jewellery and fashion and shows a 15% growth in MAU (monthly active users). E-commerce platforms are witnessing a 28% growth in MAU and a 17% growth in new customers acquired.
Despite a challenging period since 2020 economically, 34% of consumers in the region are spending the maximum on shopping now. While this looks encouraging to brands, there is an underlying challenge raising its head in the new shopping environment: To effectively capture well-segmented target groups and build personalised experiences for them in order to achieve sustainable growth.
The dynamic nature of the environment compels brands to rethink and be alert to consumers’ needs and work towards placing their brands at the forefront of consumer recall.
Add value, keep customers happy, retain loyalists, attract new ones and lower customer acquisition costs
The path is well etched out, but brands need to skillfully use data and analytics till the last mile of the customer wishes fulfilment journey.
It’s a well-known fact now that acquiring new customers can cost a business around five to ten times more than retaining current ones. Apart from their shopping, returning customers also promote their favourite brands among their associates, thus bringing in more customers into the brand’s fold.
New customers drive growth, but loyal ones bring sustainability to businesses. Strengthening customer retention rates by lowering turnover does cap acquisition costs and greatly improve company revenues. Some studies reiterate this: a 2% increase in customer retention is as good as reducing production costs by 10%. If this is not tempting for an organisation, then what is?
The first step towards achieving this will be identifying different shopper cohorts, segmenting them into distinct buckets and engaging with each bucket differently.
Brands can use the RFM technique to bucket customers according to recency of purchase, frequency of purchase and value of the purchase and categorise their valuable customers as champions, loyal customers, potential loyalists and high spenders. Other customer categories are those with the potential to move a notch higher on the loyalty scale: the new ones and the promising ones. Brands also cannot afford to ignore groups about to drop out of the loyalty bracket, the price-sensitive ones, and customers that have dropped interest levels that must be rekindled.
A data-driven RFM segmentation will enable teams to send personalised and relevant messaging to each customer.
Personalised campaigns for continual customer engagement
A highly engaged customer results from a personalised brand experience from targeted campaigns. Sounds complex? Not really.
Today, every interaction has to revolve around customers’ needs in real-time and on their terms. Irrelevant messages exacerbate the consumer experience and impair the brand-consumer connection, resulting in shoppers unsubscribing from the brand altogether. Using the same campaign for all segments becomes spammy and gets trashed.
The key to effective personalisation is by segmenting customers based on their interactions with the brands, both transactional and behavioural. It’s common for brands to create basic user segments and create personas based on demographics and properties like geolocation, gender, age group, or mobile OS. But what gives brands the winning edge (in personalisation) is creating advanced user segments based on customer brand interactions, online and in-store behaviour, preferred categories, past purchases, and loyalty status.
Advanced segmentation looks at the shopper’s predictive lifetime value, which needs granular information like year-on-year aggregated consumer data, repeat purchase behaviour, purchase drivers, incentives that have resonated with the target groups and their preferred communication mediums.
Bracing with seamless omnichannel campaigns
To create a perfect omnichannel experience, brands have to understand their customers deeply by analysing the platforms that customers use to shop. In addition, teams have to take cognisance of their purchasing behaviour, the issues they face while shopping, their interactions with the brand across each touchpoint, and the devices they use to shop. This data helps to identify the right touch-points brands can then use to create seamless omnichannel experiences.
Omnichannel marketing ensures that customer experience remains consistent across all channels by tying all the touchpoints together and ensuring a seamless journey. Studies show that shoppers need more than three interactions with brands before converting to deciding on an online purchase. To freeze a customer’s loyalty, brands must create a robust customer journey that provides a seamless omnichannel experience.
The most effective way to create a seamless omnichannel experience is by focusing on five vital shopping-related factors: convenience, consistency, relevance, empowerment and agility. Connecting these dots will make shopping a seamless and tailor-made experience for customers, as also identify the common issues that customers face, thereby creating a viable solution for them.