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Retailers Put Real-Time Engagement on Their Nice List This Holiday Season

Retailers Put Real-Time Engagement on Their Nice List

This holiday season, top retailers also use AI to personalize the customer experience with identity stitching, data signals, and next-best experience recommendations.

As retailers prepare for events throughout the year, marketers spend time analyzing data to find out more about seasonal buyers and their shopping habits, map buying milestones to calendars, and create gift guides to align with price, category, gender, and more. While these are tried and true marketing tactics, top retailers also use AI to personalize the customer experience with identity stitching, data signals, and next-best experience recommendations. This is powered by real-time interaction management or RTIM for short. 

By putting the customer at the center of the business using RTIM, retailers can craft personalized experiences that drive delight and value throughout the year. Even better, RTIM enables evergreen marketing programs that don’t rely on a campaign calendar and helps retailers meet high customer personalization expectations. After all, 70% of customers want connected and consistent experiences across channels, according to the 2018 State of the Connected Customer report. Sadly, seasonal gift guides don’t quite cut it.

Let’s explore how RTIM empowers retailers to visualize real-time customer experiences, personalize those experiences as we learn more about the customer, and enable store associates with next best experience recommendations.

Identify gaps in experience ahead of the key events

Experience is a huge priority for customers. In fact, 66% of consumers say they’ll pay more for a better experience. It’s critical for retailers to evaluate how customers interact with their brand as they move through the customer lifecycle, especially before the biggest events of the year.

Evaluation is done by connecting online and offline data signals and comparing these behaviors with the path to purchase. Interaction Studio, our RTIM solution, enables retailers to see how and where their customers convert and where customers fall off the path to purchase. This is the first step to optimizing marketing programs ahead of and during the holiday season and other key events.

Personalize every shopper experience, from known to unknown

Retailers should prepare to meet great expectations this holiday season, with 71% of consumers expecting real-time communication. In the past, seamless communications were nearly impossible unless a shopper was logged in during a website visit.

Now, with the power of RTIMs, retailers can personalize web experiences based on behavior — even for anonymous shoppers. Your website can dynamically adapt to the preferences and browsing history of the anonymous shopper. As those shoppers become known, through providing an email address, downloading an app, or making a purchase, the anonymous and known identities can be stitched together to provide a robust profile that drives even more personalized experiences. 

Enable store associates with next best experience recommendations

Our next RTIM use case brings clienteling to life this holiday season. According to eMarketer, two-thirds of shoppers check their phone for product information while browsing in-store. Retailers can stand out this holiday season by embracing this customer behavior and using RTIM capabilities to augment in-store experiences with digital signals.

As mobile-savvy shoppers enter retail store locations, store associates can identify these customers and provide a personal experience. 

Customer real-time information includes simple web browsing behavior or on the mobile app as well as next best experience recommendations powered by machine learning. By reacting to this behavior and providing personalized experiences, for example offering a warm beverage to customers that are searching for the nearest coffee shop, retail stores can bring a little holiday magic to what is typically a stressful season for shoppers, retail employees, and the marketers behind the scenes.

Real-time engagement powers personalized holiday experiences

Delight last-minute shoppers this holiday season by using technology to understand the customer’s journey, personalize their experience (regardless of known customer status), and bring next best experience recommendations from digital channels into physical retail stores for a real-life magical experience this holiday season. 

Learn more about real-time interaction management (RTIM) with our e-book Path to Personalization.

Lauryl Denega Digital Transformation Consultant

Lauryl Denega is a Digital Transformation Consultant at Salesforce who helps customers create personalized, cross-channel, 1:1 journeys throughout each stage of their customer lifecycle, from acquisition to retention. As a trusted advisor, she helps customers reach their business goals, create amazing customer journeys, and achieve success with the Salesforce Customer Success Platform.

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