By Carl Boutet
As an industry, we often discuss “customer experience” and its importance. Although this term is vast, brand-centric, and qualifies many customer-facing dynamics, I find there’s one crucial element that we spend far less time developing and better understanding: engagement.
engagement noun (source)
en·gage·ment | \ in-ˈgāj-mənt , en-\
Definition of engagement
1: an arrangement to meet or be present at a specified time and place
2: something that engages : PLEDGE
3a: the act of engaging : the state of being engaged, and
b: emotional involvement or commitment
To me, engagement speaks to a greater emotional opportunity to develop a meaningful connection with customers. Today, as we all know, that attempt for connection can occur anytime and anywhere, which creates fantastic fidelity if done in proper context, but most often can generate noise and distraction. Hence, we see the importance of using the best strategies and tools to build engagement, create meaningful touch points, and increase customer contact. Now, more than ever, this concept is crucial to any business that seeks to build a positive ongoing relationship with its clients, not to mention increase customer database size in order to pursue those opportunities.
In this context, I had the privilege to speak with Lisa Challis, Vice President of Sales and Operations at a leading Canadian female fashion retailer Suzy (aka Suzy Shier), as well as their Director of E-Commerce, Nathalie Mansouri. I asked them how they see this opportunity and how they work on building out that engagement, more specifically the tools that allow them to best engage with their Suzy customers.
It’s not often that I’ve heard a long-standing retail executive refer to a technology as “our most powerful vehicle to impact sales and create loyalty,”but those were the exact words Lisa used when describing her use of Raange’s mobile marketing solution.
In a time where customer engagement requires resources spread across multiple channels for retailers, there is a crucial need to have a simple yet effective tool to allow the brand to rapidly engage customers with a true call to action. Like many other retailers, Suzy has several initiatives involving larger technology integrations occurring at once. All that is necessary, but takes up considerable resources. The importance of enabling a simple solution that would require minimal set-up and configuration to allow them, when needed, to be either proactive or reactive in real-time.
However simple, the Raange solution is also powerful, allowing for a great depth of data capture, massive list building, precise data segmentation, and each contact is tracked to the store-level and localized mobile messaging. This is accomplished without long technology integration cycles.
The optimal workflow facilitated by a best of class mobile marketing solution like Raange would go as follows:
Lisa also noted, “We recognize that our customers who are entering our store are often pressed for time. This no longer allows for those longer sales processes that we had in the past, yet they still are looking for that human experience.”
Like most of the retail industry, Lisa spoke about how more informed their customers are when entering the store, often looking for a specific product discovered online. This makes the notion of building loyalty that much more important in an era of near-instant gratification. As she put it, “The engagement opportunities need to be clear, rapid and concise.” Lisa went on to discuss the importance of making this task accountable to everyone on the sales floor and to ensure that it is properly attributed and measured among the sales team’s key performance indicators (KPI’s).
Nathalie spoke to two digital phenomenons provoked by this mobile marketing solution that I found fascinating. On one hand, they discovered that their online conversion driven by SMS was increasing with a younger demographic. This is something all brands, especially those with a long heritage like Suzy, are constantly striving to do to maintain a solid customer base. On the other hand, there was a considerable increase in both online and in-store traffic, literally moments after an SMS message was sent.
Lisa and Nathalie noticed that both digital successes weren’t achieved using other messaging tools. These had the added benefit of being accomplished with owned first-party data, allowing them to continuously build their customer database all while facilitating privacy compliance.
Today, Lisa considers the Raange adoption, along with the subscription to their Prestige Loyalty program, as the two most important factors that correlates to business success. They foresee a day, as they transition into deeper more complex technologies, when they can leverage tools like Raange and Prestige to better understand and segment their customers in order to increase personalization. This will, in turn, deliver even greater and more meaningful engagement opportunities.
So, if your business is looking for a rapid, and simple solution to more effectively engage with customers, this is one solution that I highly recommend you consider.
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CARL BOUTET IS THE CHIEF RETAIL STRATEGIST AT STUDIORX