Great personalised customer experiences can create loyal customers and grow revenue — it’s simple cause and effect. Building loyalty doesn’t just result in gaining repeat shoppers. Loyal customers will also advocate for your brand and bring new customers to you.
Retailers must understand what makes an excellent experience. This is especially important in a high-competition market. Is it personalisation in retail? Is it self-service technology? Ahead, we’ll break down the answer and explain how companies can improve customer experiences to keep them coming back.
The best customer experiences are personalised. And this is one way retail businesses can stand out from the competition. Creating unique experiences for individuals is a valuable point of differentiation. Competitors can create their own personalised customer experiences, but they’re unlikely to copy your business’s approach effectively. This is because customer personalisation often relies on proprietary data.
The major benefit of personalisation for customers is receiving relevant offers and communications. This goes beyond getting messages aimed at a group they fall into. Highly personalised experiences are tailored to the individual. Pets at Home, the UK's leading pet care business, sends sentiment cards to customers who’ve contacted its service centre and shared about a big moment in their lives. For example, a customer who is getting married or moving house will receive a card and feel recognised by the brand.
Customers are looking for personalisation across all touchpoints. For large businesses trying to personalise at scale, the in-store experience is especially important. It can make customers feel appreciated and help create a relationship. Speaking with Salesforce at World Tour London, Pets at Home’s Group IT Business Partner David Carline shared, “If you come into our stores and meet our colleagues, it’s that personal relationship.” Retail colleagues will know you and your pet, creating a better experience all-around.
Businesses can also offer in-store personalisation on a product level. For example, some retailers allow shoppers to customise their purchases. Customers get a personalised experience and can create unique items that help the retailer stand out from the competition.
Retailers can enhance personalised customer experiences with data. One way to collect this data is through loyalty programmes. These allow retailers to gather a wide range of data on participants, such as names, buying habits, and purchase history. All of this data can be used for better interactions in the future. For instance, retailers can offer customers tailored recommendations based on their previous purchases.
Customers are increasingly independent when shopping. As a result, self-service technology has become more important. For Pets at Home, this has meant introducing a chatbot to resolve customer concerns and questions. This includes online order and subscription help, store enquiries, pet and product advice, and more. Pets at Home has also given customers the ability to buy items and have them delivered, all with the goal of being more convenient.
The retailer has even created a content hub for customers where they can find support. With advice and information broken down by type of pet, it’s easy for customers to self-serve and understand what they need.
There’s a strong link between technology and personalisation. For example, you need technology to collect the data that informs personalisation in retail. One example is sending digital surveys to customers. The company can then use the data gathered to create personalised shopping recommendations.
Technology for customer experiences can also involve showing online shoppers products that are often bought alongside the items they’re already viewing. Once a sale is made, the confirmation email can include additional recommendations. Plus, retailers can create new tools and apps that send strategic offers. For example, some offer discounts to shoppers as they pass by physical locations.
Pets at Home is able to know and understand its customers based on the data it collects with technology. Lisette Boyd, Pets at Home’s Head of Customer Care and Retail Ops, told Salesforce at World Tour London, “We’ve got 23 million Service Cloud records, so we know who our customers are. When you contact us, we know if you’re using our Groom Room or our vets. We know who your pets are; we know the ages, the breeds.” Based on this information, Pets at Home makes recommendations to the customer. The pet care retailer also contacts them at key stages of their pet’s life.
In addition to helping enhance customer personalisation, data can also show whether customers are becoming loyal. If they aren’t, the customer experience may need improvement. The retailer can identify problems and areas to work on and evolve its processes.
Pets at Home has upgraded its personalised customer experiences to gain and maintain loyal customers. The retailer continues to evolve its processes and invest in self-service technology to benefit customers. New technology is also helping support contact centre and in-store associates. David shared that Pets at Home colleagues are able to have great conversations with customers about their pets in a way that’s never been possible before. Working with Salesforce has allowed this and transformed how the retailer serves its customers. According to Lisette, the company now signs up around 25,000 new customers per week.