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Loyalty Connect: How to survive and remain connected in the opt-out era

As part of our Loyalty Connect event, we held a number of panels that sought to present the latest trends in ecommerce and customer loyalty. We brought experts and keynote speakers together to virtually share the trends set to build your customers’ loyalty and elevate your retention rates in 2022. 

In this first panel, we spoke to representatives from Nosto, and Skubana about how to survive and remain connected in the opt-out era. 

Watch the panel discussion below. Not got time to watch? We’ve summarized all the key points in the rest of the article.

Customers have become more selective about how they share their data and who they share their data with. In this panel, we discussed how to make better connections with your new and existing customers so that they trust your brand, spend more often, and opt in to engage with you in the long term.

1. As a consumer, did you notice that you proactively opted out of more marketing recently? 

Being part of this industry meant that it was easier to be aware of our rights and the significant changes like the iOS 14 update. In a positive sense, this meant that we could be more selective and make sure we’re only engaging with brands trying to be creative. 

A lot of people have started clearing out their emails and unsubscribing. It’s clear that customers will opt out if you do not engage with them in a creative and personalized way. 

2. Can you tell me about the biggest opportunity that brands can leverage as the opt-out era comes into effect? 

Opt-in and opt-outs loss is sort of loyalty’s gain. Ultimately, if you actually admit that we’re in an opt-out era (and here we’re primarily talking about third party data rather than first-party or zero) then you have a huge opportunity to get close to your customer and provide them with more relevant connections. This is what loyalty is all about. 

It’s more than just an opportunity for loyalty, it’s a necessity. Rather than pursuing purely transactional connections with customers, brands should be striving to create emotional connections. 

There is some doom and gloom around digital advertising but really you need to look no further than your own customers. They’re already there. While it’s more expensive for acquisition, those customers already love your brand and they’re easy to engage with.  

You should also focus on nailing the customer experience. We often forget that it starts from the initial search. If you’re not on all the platforms that your customers are shopping on then you’re missing out. Be proactive. Make sure your marketing team is talking to your operations team to create a comprehensive customer experience.

3. How can the opt-out era be an opportunity for brands to nurture customer loyalty? 

Most businesses already have a lot of tools to hand (SMS, ESP, Reviews Platform, Help desks). If you use them together, rather than having them siloed, then you have a great opportunity to get data from all these different areas and create a fuller picture of your customers. 

With that picture, you can speak to your customers in a more personalized way. They love that and will be happy to keep opting in because you’re sending them stuff they want. This will help you build a base of Insiders who will advocate for your brand. 

You also have an opportunity to nurture your customers by keeping them in the loop. Proactively message them about stock levels and delays. Transparency in your communication is incredibly valuable.  

4. How can brands build trust to encourage customers to give more data? 

You have to give something in return for their data. As soon as you can deliver on an experience and make that experience better and more relevant then you’re going to get data. 

Today, businesses are getting customer data through things as simple as surveys, reviews, and quizzes. Many brands are rewarding customers with loyalty points for filling out basic surveys. Obviously, this is great for the customer because they are getting something in return. Equally, brands are also then able to segment and treat these customers more personally. 

For example, a brand like Dermalogica shows how you can layer on more loyalty and relevance throughout the customer experience. 

In a recent campaign, they made it so that a customer’s initial visit to their site was a personalized skin consultation and a face mapping process. Then when customers return to their site, after Dermalogica has collected this zero-party data, they upsell and deliver relevant dynamic bundles in return for providing this information. Then, when a customer returns for the third time they’ll receive a whole bunch of personalized recommendations. 

In addition, you can then take this data and build up a look-a-like audience so that you can then target new customers more effectively.

5. How can brands use the post-purchase experience to collect data? 

You can make the most of the post-purchase experience by sending different surveys and reviews. When companies are selling on Amazon they need reviews to help build their credibility. Put a slip in the package that says, “Hey, leave us a review to get $5 off your next purchase.” If it’s a brand that customers care about and they enjoy the product, then it is a great opportunity to collect data and deepen those loyalty connections. 

Another thought when it comes to post-purchase is User Generated Content (UGC). Ask people to submit a review. Ask them to send a photo of them using the product or a video giving their thoughts on the product experience. Collecting this kind of data repeats the cycle of awareness and shared content. In particular, UGC helps to create a more customer-centric and authentic approach. 

6. What proactive change should be at the top of an ecommerce marketers’ to-do list  to collect more data from their customers?

Automation is key. You need a single source of truth and automation can help you save time. As a result, you can get accurate, real-time information that will help you design an effective customer experience. 

You can also connect all of your different channels and tools. With a diverse toolkit, you can be a bit more exciting in the way you engage your customers. You can then also learn from your customers’ previous behaviors to help you strategize in the future. 

UGC is also crucial within a brand’s website. You need to do more than just put an Instagram feed at the bottom of your homepage. Instead, you need UGC to really work for you. Start thinking about creative strategies that will allow you to connect your personalization data with engaging UGC. 

2022 Trends ebook: 10 trends shaping the ecommerce loyalty landscape

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