Today’s consumers are spoiled. They have everything at their fingertips. With a single click or tap of a button or one voice command, they can get anything they want in seconds. A chauffeur, dinner, clothes, books, mattresses, all delivered straight to their doorstep, or wherever they want for that matter. Smartphones are now the remote control of our digital lives. And they have tipped the scales of power in favor of the consumer forever.
But the flip side of this power is the dizzying access to a pool of infinite options. With an ever-increasing number of products and brands available online, combined with gazillions of distractions like push notifications, tweets, text messages and so forth, each consumer is now like a goldfish in a digital ocean of noise. As a result, their attention span is shrinking and so is their responsiveness to brand messages.
So, as a marketer, what can you do in this hypercompetitive, oversaturated digital world full of busy and empowered consumers? First, you need to accept the fact that you no longer dictate the pace of play. Second, you need to understand the new levers of consumer power to be more attuned to them and adapt your playbook. Let’s break it down:
Attention has truly become the currency of the digital world. Competing for consumers’ attention is no small feat, especially on a playing field where Fortune 500 companies are going head to head with fledgling ecommerce startups that can set up a Shopify store and start selling goods almost overnight.
With infinite products and brands to choose from, consumers inevitably end up with the upper hand. But this also results in a struggle on both sides: Consumers are dizzy with options, and brands must find a way to cut through the clutter and outwork their competitors to be top of mind for consumers.
So how can you be worthy of their attention? Better yet, how do you sustain it once you’ve gained it? The answer is simple: Create value at every turn. Be a helping hand. Leverage every micro-interaction to build affinity and position yourself as their trusted advisor. Consumers are desperately looking for shortcuts in their decision making. Positioning your brand as a helpful digital guide can help you reap big rewards in the long run.
Data not only helps you to better understand your customers, but it helps you remain timely, relevant and adaptable. Better yet, it can help you anticipate needs and become more proactive. With the right data, you can recommend the right products at the right time and adapt your tone and experience to each and every customer and audience segment. Data is the supreme fuel of your brand’s personalization engine, which is all well and good, but how do you get it?
Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their personal data, and they are increasingly cautious and selective with how they share it and who they share it with. They won’t grant an exclusive look into their psyche for just anyone. However, if you reward them with delightful, personalized experiences, that’s another story. The crux of getting your hands on this declared data rests on simple value exchange.
In a recent survey of more than 7,000 consumers, 57% said they were willing to share personal data in exchange for offers or discounts. Similarly, 52% of consumers would share personal data in exchange for product recommendations, and 53% would do the same for personalized shopping experiences.
Conversational channels are a powerful tool to get access to this precious information and insights. By enabling 1:1 customer conversations at scale, conversational artificial intelligence (such as chatbots and messenger marketing) can help you unlock this compounding competitive advantage for your brand, one question at a time.
Eventually, the more declared data you get, the more personalized and seamless you can make your customer’s journey. And judging by the recent news of McDonald’s acquiring big data and personalization engine Dynamic Yield for a whopping $300 million, data is definitely a golden strategic advantage to add to your digital arsenal.
According to a 2017 State of Personalization Report, 44% of consumers said they’re likely to “become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.” And almost half of the surveyed consumers said they bought a product after a brand personally recommended it, even though they initially had not intended on buying it.
The fact is, once you show your customers some love, they’ll reciprocate. By personally assisting them with their every need, you can exponentially increase your ability to win prospective customers’ hearts and dollars.
Don’t try to force the sale. Instead, focus your efforts on easing the sale.
“Assistive selling” can help remove friction in the customer journey and make your customers feel more valued.
From instant service and personalized product recommendations to abandoned cart recoupment and reengagement, you can provide customers with the level of service and immediacy they’ve come to expect while boosting sales at every turn.
At Heyday.ai, we’ve witnessed, on average, a 30-50-fold increase in clickthrough rate for in-chat product recommendations compared to traditional ad banners. And sometimes it can even be higher!
Shifting The Consumer Power Balance
In this new era of consumer power, if you’re not at your customers’ disposal, you’re disposable. Loyalty stems from genuinely valuable relationships and exceptional customer service. Customer-centricity is just table stakes: The best brands are now customer-obsessed.
Even if it might feel counterintuitive, they understand that giving up some control to consumers is actually the best way to restore their power, especially in the digital age.
So open your brand up to them, let them dictate the pace of play. Treat them like royalty, and you’ll be rewarded with their loyalty. At the end of the day, turning attention into conversion is all that matters.