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Keeping Your Retail Customers at The Center

Customer journey mapping is an invaluable part of any retail organization’s future strategy. The fast shifts in technological advancements, as well as the aftermath of COVID-19 have both resulted in brands revisiting their customer journey maps. When creating a customer journey map, an organization is navigating how a customer behaves each time they connect with the brand through the digital world and real world. To have an in-depth view of the customer, the organization must utilize existing customer data to map out various behavioral scenarios.

When looking at customer journey analytics, it’s not just about how much traction you are gaining on your website, but also what meaningful actions customers are taking to buy your products or services online. Translating these actions into steps of a customer journey map from start to finish is one way to keep the customer at the center of the equation. COVID has created a new environment for customers today, and one prominent player in retail – the automotive industry - has adapted to this change successfully by creating personalized online experiences.

Personalized Online Experiences

Digitalization of marketing has evolved the customer journey where there is no specific medium or platform that fits all. As a result, investing in an omnichannel presence has become an innate need for retailers in categories such as automotive. For example, within the automotive industry, dealerships have been focusing on creating a seamless customer experience by personalizing campaigns across email, mobile, and social channels. For them, it’s not about just selling a vehicle, but more so giving customers the power to choose when engagement with the brand starts and through which channels - whether it’s using an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot to ask questions or viewing vehicles through a virtual showroom. Creating these various forms of touchpoints allows for brands to access their customers while creating a personalized buying experience. After all, according to Salesforce, 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services. By closing the gaps between physical and virtual experiences, automotive dealerships can digitalize car purchases while keeping consumers satisfied through a personalized experience.

Using Data to Go Digital

Going digital is not a strategy, but rather a way we use technology and data to bring the end product or service to the intended consumer in an efficient and personalized manner. With the wealth of data available today, organizations can easily gain quick insights into customer needs and determine ways to help the consumer reach their desired outcome. For instance, the automotive industry heavily focuses on utilizing internal databases, such as the Customer Data Platform (CDP) to help create predictive models of customer behavior.

These predictive models can help marketers determine when the customer plans to return to market to purchase a vehicle, or even what vehicle the customers may be most interested in purchasing next. Understanding these factors in customer behaviors allows for marketers to send personalized communication at appropriate times to each target audience. In fact, the automotive industry has improved its customer experiences by layering back-end data, such as CDP data, with channel marketing data to personalize across hundreds of customer segments and send optimal messaging. Without data, no retailer could truly understand their customer or deliver the personalized experiences that consumers expect today.

Final Thoughts

Understanding your brand’s customer journey and how it has evolved over time using analytics is essential for long-term growth. Customer journeys are constantly evolving, and brands must ensure they are meeting customer preferences and creating a connection with their audience. Personalization is just one way that brands can create valuable experiences when trying to build connections with their customers.