The 3-Second Challenge to Omnichannel Engagement

The rise of connected devices, social media, location-based awareness and other technologies are transforming the retail industry. These innovations are generating a wealth of new information which retailers can leverage to enrich their marketing efforts and influence consumer behavior.
Retailers everywhere conduct dynamic mobile marketing campaigns using NFC tags activated by consumers' mobile phones, so that retailers can directly engage with them and drive a new level of brand loyalty and trust. 
For example, "Karen" is a loyal customer of her retailer-of-choice. While at the mall, she enters the store and checks in by tapping her phone at the store entrance. Her near-field communications (NFC) mobile interactive app is linked to her shopper's card and by tapping her phone on various items she can pin it to her Pinterest site or check coupon availability. These 'taps' are also leaving behind customer footprints, providing critical insights on her purchase path and preferences.
But how can retail marketers meet the new imperative to not only deliver interactive experiences such as the example above, and also capture and execute on game-changing insights from consumer data?
Marketing That Isn't Just On, But On-Demand
In this data-driven age, retailers have three seconds to inspire a consumer, who is judging a retailer by its ability to deliver rich interactive experiences that are easy to access, highly customized and available anywhere.
For retailers to be successful with on-demand marketing there are four key areas to address:
  • Engage with Interactive Technology – Implementing an omnichannel approach to reach the consumer – through mobile apps, NFC tags, social media and websites – enables them to truly engage with the customer in his or her world.
  • Organize Unstructured Data – Look beyond the routine interfaces available today and capture interactions in the form of structured and unstructured data sets. Best-in-class big data platforms and data scientists enable retailers to manage these datasets.
  • Integrate Predictive Analytics – Responding to on-demand marketing requires real-time decision making. Analyze the organized unstructured data using predictive models to sense and respond to user behavior.
  • Provide Seamless Usability – All consumer interactions must be easy and fast. A carefully designed customer experience strategy, omnichannel methodology and a partner with technology expertise can create a seamless user experience.
In order for marketers to be reactionary at an emotional level they need insights into consumer behavior across various marketing channels. Retail marketers are using a number of tools to follow the digital footprints of customers prior to the shopping cart that is linking them to a predictive purchase path, and identifying areas in which they can influence others to go to the same destination.                   
Employing innovative mobile platforms and big data analytics, retailers are able to go where they never went before, interacting relevantly with customers in real-time and successfully converting window shoppers into buyers.
Punit Kulkarni is director of marketing for Symphony Analytics. As retail solutions leader, Kulkarni has helped Fortune 500 retailers build customer loyalty programs, business analytics and optimize customer interactions.
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