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It’s time to rethink consumer engagement

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To succeed in today’s hyper-competitive environment, consumer products companies need to employ greater speed and agility to out-maneuver the competition. Because, in a world where consumers are increasingly blurring the lines between online and offline shopping, go-to-market models are evolving fast.

Greater speed and agility requires a rethink of long-standing approaches – especially when it comes to orchestrating brand messages and consumer engagement across every channel and geography.

Beyond channel: View everything you do from the consumer’s perspective

The pervasive influence that digital channels now exercise over consumers means the online and offline worlds are irrevocably intertwined across the extended pathway to purchase. But don’t make the mistake of viewing e-commerce as a new sales channel. Instead, think in terms of a series of distinct yet integrated business models that will appeal to the same consumer, at varying times and for different occasions.

In other words, brands need to go beyond simply integrating digital sales channels and marketing capabilities to start thinking about ‘owning’ the customer relationship across every channel and route-to-market model deployed.

But that’s not all. Commercial excellence increasingly depends on new skills and advanced capabilities.

Everything from understanding the consumer mindset and accelerating the introduction of new product lines that resonate with their identified needs, to initiating new collaborations with non-traditional partners and retailers to deliver greater value to consumers and  enable revenue growth/ market leadership.

Rethinking consumer engagement in three steps

So, what are the must-have capabilities that will separate winners from losers in this brave new hyper-competitive and digitally-fueled world?

  1. Getting to grips with the new consumer mindset

Winning consumer products companies are tapping consumer insights to innovate new delivery mechanisms and respond to unfulfilled consumer needs. In the process, they’re driving buyer confidence, consistent purchasing behavior, long-term loyalty and higher consumer satisfaction.

It’s the reason why dairy producer Emmi is connecting countless digital touchpoints across its Swiss operations to gain an unparalleled understanding of consumers and personalize its digital marketing.

Meanwhile, New Era Cap is leveraging a cross-channel cloud commerce platform to give consumers a consistent, responsive, easy-to-use and personalized omnichannel experience.

  1. Customizing relationships and shopping experiences

Consumer products companies are increasingly shifting away from repetitive discount promotions and add-on purchases that don’t have a positive return on investment.

Instead, they’re forming ‘power partnerships’ with retailers and other partners, using big data and advanced analytics to make decisions about pricing, promotion tactics and assortments that are informed by specific shopper insights and AI.

As a result, they’re able to bundle offers with products from different companies representing various segments or introduce product variations and service offerings that deliver a unique user experience to specific consumers.

The key here is having the ability to leverage data-driven insights and AI to energize the right retailers and partners with the right promotions and products that further consumer attraction, exchanging real-time intelligence that drives product sales.

For example, Markgräflich Badisches Weinhaus is redefining the wine-making game, using rich data to tell consumers more about how each wine was produced. By scanning a code on its wine bottles, consumers can discover how many hours of sunshine the grapes had, where they were grown, and on what soil type. Consumers can also use the ‘connected bottle’ app to report back on whether a particular wine goes well with grilled salmon – or a particular French cheese.

  1. Orchestrating consumer experiences and messages in every channel

Having multiple routes to market presents the challenge of delivering a consistent message across all channels. But the companies that overcome this hurdle will have a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to demonstrating their relevance to consumers.

The secret for success is thinking about the consumer’s buying journey in all channels and routes to market, and tailor every single brand interaction accordingly. Whether that’s advertising on a consumer’s preferred social channels, tailoring their experience in web channels, or fine tuning how they interact with products at the small corner store or a large retail outlet. In this way, every interaction helps build the product/brand perception.

By coordinating sales and marketing across all channels, consumer products companies are able to see how all elements of the customer experience impact each other. Plus, these connected operations will provide insights that help brands uncover new opportunities.

But putting consumers at the heart of the business requires a single, connected view of sales, service, marketing, commerce and beyond.

It’s an approach that’s led the global snacking giant Pladis to switch to a unified cloud-based platform that delivers deep insights into sales patterns, demand and profitability by brand and channel and utilize machine learning, AI and predictive analytics to accurately deliver treats for each and every taste in every market it serves.

Making the art of possibility a reality

The ability to control the consumer experience in all channels, including retail, independent stores, online and merchandising depends on having an intelligent and connected platform in place that makes it possible to orchestrate promotions and sales initiatives across all channels, put intelligence at the core of decision-making and strategy planning, evaluate what’s resonating with consumers and create new experiences that match consumer needs.

The good news is that today’s modern integrated solutions make it easy to collaborate fast with consumers and partners, support every route to market and drive new consumer interactions that address their fast-changing preferences.

Whether that’s a detergent brand offering a laundry service that provides the convenience consumers desire and showcases the cleaning power of its products, or an oral care company that addresses the problem of worn-out toothbrushes with a mobile app that triggers an order when a replacement is needed.

Ultimately, adopting a consumer-focused strategy makes it easy to seize new revenue streams and mitigate risks in real time, ahead of the competition.

Learn more about intelligent consumer engagement here

Javier Flores
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18 shares
January 10, 2019
Javier Flores

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