If You Want to Improve the Consumer Experience, Focus on Personalization

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Consumers have high expectations from the companies they choose to engage with. If your business doesn’t live up to these expectations, you risk losing them.

However, by focusing on improving the overall consumer experience, you can boost consumer retention and, in turn, marketing ROI. After all, a number of studies suggest that it costs anywhere from five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

What Is the Consumer Experience?

The consumer experience starts the moment a person first interacts with your brand. Each interaction someone has with your company builds the consumer experience, influencing their feelings about your brand. Everything from one-off interactions with employees to product quality can make or break your CX.

PwC research found that 32% of consumers will leave a once-loved brand after a single bad experience, and almost half will leave after multiple negative experiences — which is why it’s critical to understand the consumer experience.

So, what do consumers want from their experiences with brands? The short answer is personalization. The importance of personalization in marketing has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. COVID-19 forced shoppers to interact with brands online more than ever before, sparking a rapid evolution of a great consumer experience.

According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers now expect personalized interactions from companies. People don’t want to be sold to. They want to build relationships with brands. If organizations fail to develop those relationships, consumers will quickly take their business to ones that will.

Benefits of Improving the Consumer Experience

Providing exceptional CX isn’t just about making your consumers happy. It benefits your company, as well. Taking the time to truly understand the ever-changing consumer experience and act on those insights helps you better determine what consumers want.

In turn, it’s easier to deliver highly relevant experiences that build strong consumer relationships and boost revenue through increased engagement, sales, and brand loyalty.

In fact, 86% of buyers will pay more for a great experience. This means that improving the overall consumer experience and building relationships are even more critical for your brand.

How to Improve the Overall Consumer Experience

The digital age blurs the line between the offline and online worlds. As a result, the consumer journey isn’t as linear as it once was, and the number of touchpoints consumers have with brands is drastically increasing. Furthermore, every consumer journey is different, so it’s critical to dig into the data to understand each unique touchpoint your consumers experience.

Determine how consumers interact with your brand across every channel and which points along the journey are most relevant. For example, if someone researched products similar to yours and saw one of your paid ads on Google, is that what led to a purchase?

As consumer shopping habits change rapidly, the key to effective CX is an omnichannel approach that provides personalization every step of the way. Omnichannel marketing integrates digital and physical touchpoints to create a consistent brand experience. By taking an omnichannel strategy, you can ensure personalization across all channels, including brick-and-mortar stores, app-based options, online platforms, and social media.

The largest West Coast alcohol retailer understands the importance of the consumer experience. It optimizes its loyalty program to get buyers to make purchases in-store and online. The retailer recommends products based on in-store inventory and trends, so folks are always informed with up-to-date recommendations of in-stock products. It also sends in-store coupons to consumers via text. It then tracks the coupons and loyalty QR codes, bringing in-store purchases back to online channels and providing a true omnichannel experience.

Historically, companies provided personalization by creating different experiences for different consumer segments. However, brands now understand the consumer experience through a one-to-one, rather than a one-to-many or one-to-few, lens.

This level of personalization is most easily created by AI-driven marketing technology that predicts what content (such as product recommendations) consumers want to see in real-time using historical and contextual data.

Amazon and Netflix are probably the most well-known examples of using AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to personalize the consumer experience. When you pull up your Netflix account and your friend’s account, for example, neither of you would have the same homepage or recommendations. Each of your accounts would be personalized to your unique interests and preferences. Netflix uses your viewing data, search history, and rating data — along with the date, time, and type of device you’re using — to predict what to recommend to you.

Consumers have more options today than ever. Failing to meet their expectations can cause your company to lose out on integral relationships. However, if you spend time building consumer relationships and understanding the consumer experience on a deeper level, you’ll be able to take a consumer-centric approach with your digital marketing. This will enable you to deliver better, more highly personalized experiences to your consumers, showing them you care and creating brand loyalty and improved ROI.

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