Future of Retail — Omnichannel

issue 03

Brands are increasingly having to overhaul and re-educate themselves in order to keep up with the pace of what has been a rapid pivot in consumer behaviour and preferences.

years later, only one option was trusted by more than 60%: ‘personal recommendations’, which totted up an 81% vote of confi dence. To place that in context, ‘consumer opinions’ came in second, at 58%. Personal recommendations didn’t just edge out all other options — it blew them out of the water. For most modern marketers, reports such as

these merely confi rm what we’ve suspected for a while: the digital economy has permanently changed the dynamics of communication between brands and consumers. Old-school ‘push’ advertising and sales

techniques no longer cut it. In today’s hyper- connected, social media dominated landscape, consumers crave authentic, trustworthy experiences — delivered by human, believable, and value-adding brand voices. It’s what’s been driving forward a quiet ‘trust marketing’ revolution in recent years.

ADAPTING TO CONSUMER DEMAND FOR AUTHENTICITY Brands are increasingly having to overhaul and re-educate themselves in order to keep up with the pace of what has been a rapid pivot in consumer behaviour and preferences. Customers not only overwhelmingly expect authentic peer-to-peer led introductions to products, they also expect to be engaged with across multiple online and offl ine channels, seamlessly, as standard. For brands needing to tap into the networks

of the ‘what’s in it for me?’ savvy consumer, the challenge is two-fold. First of all, companies long used to one-way broadcast models of paid advertising, are fi nding themselves traversing pretty untrod territory when it comes to things such as customer referral campaigns. Simply put, though many of us are increasingly

aware of the power of leveraging our customers’ web of social infl uence, we’re not necessarily fully equipped with the resources, tools and expertise to do so to greatest effect. Add to that, the rapidly expanding

omnichannel landscape in which we’re operating, and we’re talking about the need to deftly navigate an ever more complex ecosystem of consumer touch points in order to do achieve truly seamless product recommendation experiences that our customers crave. It’s no walk in the park. However, shying away from the challenge

isn’t an option. For all marketers, adapting our understanding and approach in order to become more led by the voice of the customer, is an increasingly urgent and necessary journey. Customer referrals are key to that.

Specifi cally, customer referrals delivered across a range of online and offl ine touch points, tailored to the habits and preferences of our particular audience, are the holy grail of the new trust marketing world. In order to get there, we need to

understand both the psychology of referral, and how to translate that into great cross- channel referral experiences that speak to customers in the right places, at the right time, in the right ways.

UNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF REFERRAL Referral marketing, done well, creates a virtuous chain-reaction of quality interactions between people who like, trust and listen to each other. They’re a win-win for all concerned. Brands who run referral campaigns can

typically experience between a 10 to 30% increase in customer acquisition. But these aren’t just any old new customers.

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