Clients demand trust, particularly in times like this where the digitization process that was already in place has been sped up and has embraced all generations.
The increased number of people accessing digital content combined with more free time during the Covid-19 pandemic led to a deeper awareness among consumers of how companies operate and the strategies they use to communicate with their clients.
Due to the closure of stores, some sectors have suffered a dramatic decrease in sales while others have seen their numbers rise thanks to e-commerce platforms. Despite the end of the lockdown, the ethical question of how companies should interact with consumers and what kind of relationship they should build with them in a time of emergency remains topical.
To name just an example, companies are not currently boosting repeat purchases because it would mean encouraging clients to visit high-density places. It is therefore necessary to develop communication strategies that support entirely digital customer journeys for both products and services. For this reason, loyalty strategies must not be based on customers’ repeat purchasing power but on their level of interaction with the brand, across all touchpoints. In other words, brands need to shift their focus from transactions to relations.
The companies who have better responded to the new needs of clients are the ones who already had solid and responsive customer bases. They were able to interact directly with their clients and ask them about their immediate needs and future expectations. Such a listening and care-oriented approach, regardless of how many purchases clients make, can only generate strong and positive feelings of trust that positively impact sales.
A big number of companies have not been able to sell their products nor to communicate with their clients because they had never considered the option of developing alternative communication channels and proprietary customer databases. Building a solid customer database requires the ability to interact with clients over time while launching engagement activities that enrich user profiles. Understanding clients and implementing targeted communication strategies is key to ride the change and not be ridden by it.
Food brands have massively pivoted towards e-commerce platforms and fashion brands are currently developing digital proprietary sales channels to be utilized in addition to existing large marketplaces. Additionally, they are adopting tools to launch engagement campaigns aimed at improving customer care and increasing lead generation. This strategy involves taking advantage of the visibility already in place in their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) to redirect users to proprietary platforms where engagement and loyalty strategies are implemented.
Over the next months, the real challenge for marketing experts will be to adopt the necessary technical tools like the Customer Data Platform to provide a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. The aim is to define new personalized customer experiences based on client behavior as the foundation of solid brand-consumer relationships where customers’ needs are met. To this end, new loyalty strategies cannot only be based on point collections and miles, but they must offer value, points and prizes, even when customers demonstrate loyal behavior like engaging in viral branding, involving friends in group purchases (member-get-member) and suggesting new products or services to the brand (crowdsourcing).
This is what will make the difference in a future when clients are willing to give value for value. Now more than ever, brands need to keep their promises, they need to clearly state what they plan to do and follow through with their actions.
The companies who have better responded to the new needs of clients are the ones who already had solid and responsive customer bases. They were able to interact directly with their clients and ask them about their immediate needs and future expectations.
Fulvio Furbatto, Advice CEO & Founder