Can brands use product offers and promotions to deliver value beyond ‘quick hit’ discounts and build customer loyalty?
Transform the delivery and fulfilment of product offers to enhance loyalty
In May 2013, Andy Clarke, Asda CEO, was insistent that low prices would drive loyalty to their stores. I remember thinking ‘Okay but it’s quite a lot bigger than that Mr Clarke’. Promotions will drive a level of customer engagement but are frequent promotions driving transactions and undercutting loyalty?
86% of shoppers report often buying products retailers have on promotion, and 93% say they’re loyal to stores that have sales on products they frequently purchase … Source: Synquera.
If we are to assume that relevance has already been considered (and yes, I had to get that in, you know how important it is to me) then Brett Battles, EcoRebates has a solid argument for aligning promotions with engagement through delivery and fulfilment. Here are Mr Battles 4 areas to enhance engagement
1.Use product offers to help customers make or validate purchase decisions.
Some purchase decisions are easy, others require research. If an offer can also provide you with specific information about a product feature or attribute, it can help consumers make decisions more efficiently. An example is rebate savings offers for energy efficient appliance models. When standing in the store comparing two refrigerator models, a rebate savings offer of $100 for the higher efficiency model can be the deciding factor. Brands recognize the value of providing these validating offers to customers, as measured by the incremental sales lift.
2. Present aggregated offers to become a trusted source of offer inventory.
Remember the consumer who is navigating the digital jungle of retail information? Retailers can minimize that legwork for customers by presenting them with a collection of applicable offers. Imagine a shopper evaluating a product and being presented with product offers from the retailer, the brand, and even another third party such as a financial institution. That customer now feels that he is getting not just the savings, but the value of having all offers presented together in one easy format. He feels more confident that he does not need to go elsewhere for a better deal. Organizations have used these bundled offers effectively for new product introductions as well as to highlight seasonal promotions.
3. Make offers available online, in-store and on mobile platforms.
There should be no doubt that mobile use is drastically altering the retail landscape. The growth of mobile use for shopping is significant. A recent article in Mobile Commerce Daily stated that 29 percent of retailers now see more than 20 percent of their traffic coming from mobile devices, up from just 3 percent a year ago. Consumers crave consistency as they navigate across channels more often. Providing access to the same offers no matter whether on ecommerce sites, through mobile tools or in stores creates a higher likelihood of intersecting the consumer when she is ready to make a decision and ultimately builds a deeper brand engagement.
4. Make it drop-dead easy to take advantage of the offer – make fulfilment instant.
This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how often an offer is presented in a way that makes it inconvenient or impractical for a customer to redeem. Given the spiraling complexity of the shopping experience, consumers appreciate simplicity. Many brands are recognizing that desire and implementing instant offer fulfilment. The process of finding an offer and receiving the savings instantly becomes as simple as purchasing the item, no matter whether online or in store. Gone is the hassle with coupons or claim forms and in its place, customer appreciation.
Promotions continue to be a relevant tool to engage with customers and drive sales. But in the current retail environment, marketers need to think beyond simply using offers as quick hit price promotions. We’re excited to see marketers re-imagine product offers as tools that can also build brand connections with customers and drive loyalty through deep customer engagement.
Special thanks to Brett Battles.