Consumers want personalized experiences. That seems like a new phenomenon, as marketing in the past was only able to reach broad audiences. However, as I noted in my recent interview with SAP Game Changers Radio, personalization has always been a desire for a shopper.
On that show, I provided the example of the old record store—where a customer would trust the person at the counter to provide better and more personalized recommendations as they continued to return to the store. In that case, the record store employee was using their own built-in database—their brain. Now, we can try to replicate those personal recommendations through the SAP Marketing Cloud.
Customer Expectations Change Over Time
When a person decides to visit a store, that beginning with a basic need. They want to purchase something—like a record. Over time, the customer may come to expect more, beyond that initial need, and into things they could live without.
The key for retailers is to move beyond that second level, and eventually identify the shopper’s unarticulated needs by identifying things they would value that they didn’t think of themselves. At the record store, that would be helping someone find a new artist, or even genre of music, that they never would have discovered on their own.
While that expectation isn’t explicitly stated by the consumer, it’s likely that most that interact with your organization will ultimately want that level of interaction—and reaching that level is how you truly build loyalty. You can manufacture other things that feel like loyalty and are branded as such—like a card or points system—but the real loyalty is ongoing trust and mutual commitment between the shopper and the company.
Building a 360-degree Customer Profile
In an era where the customer isn’t walking into your store every day, but rather is engaging you through multiple means, be it in-person or on a device, it becomes more challenging to get to know them on that “unarticulated” level.
In order to capture that 360-degree profile of the customer, a company needs to know demographics, browsing interests, product preferences, locations visited, shopping history, and social media sentiments.
Bringing all that together requires technology with capabilities in customer master data enrichment, customer activity tracking, customer insights, customer segmentation, targeted campaign management, pricing and offer management, recommendations, real-time tracking, and customer analytics.
While that sounds like a lot to build and capture, the good news is that SAP provides software that can integrate all that information to build that total customer profile.
SAP Marketing Cloud + Actionable Data = Success
The SAP Marketing Cloud provides capabilities in customer profiles and data enrichment that track activity and customer journeys. It also allows for segmentation with ad-hoc analysis, real-time exploration, and visual target groups. There’s also campaign management for scheduling multi-media offers via third-party applications and predictive scores for product and offer recommendations.
These are the types of capabilities that can come together to not only build a customer profile, but act on it. This can’t be done without the right data, and that’s where the SAP Customer Activity Repository (SAP CAR) implemented on SAP HANA steps in.
SAP CAR provides that foundation of customer data with real-time analytics, an omni-channel view of transactions, real-time view of inventory, and sales audit information via POS data.
Finally, to ensure that the consumer is getting the right offer in a way that they can use it, the Omni-Channel Pricing and Promotions (OPP) solution helps centralize omni-channel pricing and promotions, distribute pricing and promotion data to support real-time look-ups in stores, and allows for real-time coupon redemptions.
Treat Customers Like Individuals
Whether it is a customer making repeat trips to an old record store, or a customer who frequents your online and brick-and-mortar locations interchangeably, the experience needs to be the same.
It’s important to keep in mind that loyalty is not a rewards system, but a relationship. The ability to build a 360-degree customer profile helps you build that relationship and offer the customer products and services they will find valuable. The retailers who get this right will win.