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THE NEW CUSTOMER CONNECTION: OMNICHANNEL LOYALTY EXPLAINED AND APPLIED

Guest Blog By Bram Hechtkopf 

For the past year, Kobie Marketing has been emphasizing the importance of adopting of an omnichannel loyalty strategy as a means to enhance customer engagement and drive ROI. Regardless of vertical – retail, entertainment, hospitality, travel, etc. – brands benefit when their loyalty program is embedded throughout the customer lifecycle and on channels of customers’ choice.

Most importantly, omnichannel loyalty promotes heightened customer experiences. That’s especially the case when the tenets of omnichannel loyalty are incorporated into a converged CRM-Loyalty management framework. Doing so is not just about revenue generation, but creating a genuine customer connection. The result is a happier, more engaged, eager-to-spend consumer. And such a consumer might also help reverse a trend that a new eMarketer report calls “shopping cart abandonment.”

Think of shopping cart abandonment like the online world’s brick-and-mortar showrooming equivalent. Shopping cart abandonment happens when an online consumer places items for purchase in their virtual cart, but doesn’t place the order. According to the report, 57% of respondents ditched their carts because they were not ready to purchase and wanted total cost plus shipping. The report also found:

·         56% wanted to save their cart for future purchase

·         55% said shipping costs were more than expected (thus the lost sale)

·         51% learned that their purchase costs were too low to qualify for free shipping

But the report successfully turns these numbers on their heads: shopping cart abandonment may not be as troubling as first thought. As with showrooming, the customer may not buy on one channel but may very well buy on another. And this is where omnichannel loyalty comes into play in two critical ways.

Virtual shopping carts should include a loyalty component – Something as simple as offering free shipping to loyalty members would seem to allay many customer concerns. For those who believe strongly in the shopping cart abandonment problem this could be critical. It’s also an ideal transaction point where more experience-driven offers can be promoted, lowering a consumers’ shipping cost concern.

Loyalty programs are rich in metrics – And the more customer knowledge retailers have  e.g., what they’ve purchased, how often, where and for what price means that, rather than guessing over lost online shopping carts, brands will have the data to know if a given customer stocked up their shopping cart and then purchased those items elsewhere. In other words, information follows the consumer. For example, if a customer abandons an online shopping cart, the brick-and-mortar store can invite or incentivize (via a loyalty program) that customer’s return to the physical location.

Omnichannel loyalty continues to prove its worth – not as a marketing catchphrase, but as a tangible way to improve the customer experience, manage data and mitigate concerns addressed in studies such as eMarketer’s.

So is cart abandonment a serious problem or an overblown concern? Tell us what you think and continue the conversation.

Bram Hechtkopf is VP of Business Development & Marketing for Kobie Marketing.

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