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Deconstructing the Modern Consumer

Changes in diversity, individuality, mobility, and connectivity created a consumer persona that is ever-elusive. Four CRM leaders tell us how they still win them over

“Always on.” Digitally enabled.” “Diverse.” “Expect personal interactions and treatment.” “Trust Word-of-Mouth over brands.” “Prefer buying from cool companies.” “Convenience as the new loyalty.” “Driven by technology and on-demand culture.”

These quotes – either from general business/finance sources such as Forbes, Kellogg, and Deloitte, or from more niche blogs such as Visual Capitalist, Equities, SmarterCX, and Steven Van Belleghem’s – all paint a very similar and clear picture of The Modern Consumer.

These days, the majority of consumers (=spenders) are either at the younger end of GenX (born mostly around the late 70’s) or are simply Millennials (born early 80’s to mid-90’s). There’s no surprise, then, to see that all those micro-definitions from the opening paragraph are how professionals describe today’s leading purchasing powers. These are the first generations in human history who grew up into digital adulthood.

After all, “we are what we buy,” as York University professor Colin Campbell told The Guardian almost exactly 19 years ago to the day. “It is not that we “buy” our identity through what we purchase,” he further explained, “but that we discover what we are like by exposing ourselves to a wide range of products and services.”

The question is, how do marketers deal with the changes in diversity, individuality, mobility, and connectivity? What do they do to face this challenge, especially in CRM – where relationship/retention marketers find themselves stuck between the rock of rising acquisition costs and the hard place of ever-elusive consumer habits and shifting preferences?

A few weeks ago, we hosted Louise Mian, Director of CRM at Lifesum, Alan James Mansfield, Head of Casino Operations at Funstage (a Novomatic company), Michelle Fischer, Director of Digital Merchandising & eCommerce at Rebecca Taylor, and Arie Tom, SVP Marketing at GlassesUSA, on a panel at PostFunnel Summit 2019. It dealt with deconstructing the modern consumer and the professional superstars mentioned above shared how they manage to create continuous, revenue-generating relationships with these bouncy consumers.

MOTIVATION AND HOW TO SPUR IT

“The modern customer has a lot of options but not a lot of time,” opened Tom with a very catchy declaration, “and so we must make the shopping experience as easy as possible” – alluding to the “convenience=loyalty” equation. But even though people love to compare prices, Tom thinks that “sometimes, not every purchase has to come after a very long thought process,” so quickness is a critical factor in motivating users to become repeat purchasers.

“To address that, we have more than 7000 different personalized views of our site”, he revealed, “this is a major part in how we recommend products that we believe will make it easier for the user to find their next glasses.”

“For us, we also add tonality to the voice we use when communicating with our consumers,” added Mansfield. “We speak differently to different markets, some more skeptic, others allow for a more fun voice, and add that as a layer of personalization on top of other data points.”

Fischer said that because the clothes Rebecca Taylor sells are priced higher than “opening price,” customers shop with them for significant life events – from first job through engagement and others. These are all emotional moments, “and so we had to create a long-lasting emotional connection with her (i.e., the customer)”.

THE LOVE YOU TECH

“For us, customer centricity means trying to think for our costumer for both the pre- and post-purchase experiences. We really are making sure to simplify it for her,” continues Fischer to describe how, as an organization, Rebecca Taylor is geared towards motivating shoppers to come back. “If something is going to be harder, we need to figure out how to reduce friction for her using technology,” she said, “so we did something in terms of the post-purchase experience, for example, and introduced new tracking subsystems – so that she always knows what to expect. These expectations on her side don’t come from other retailers, but from Uber, where the customer knows exactly when their car is going to arrive. We have to meet these expectations too”.

“There is a large variety in how people are using our app, said Lifesum’s Louise Mian, “and one way we leverage tech advancements is by combining real-time messaging with pre-scheduled campaigns to deliver messaging to over 1700 micro-segments”.

To make it easier for users to track their meals, Lifesum is also putting Voice into action. “We integrated with Google Assistant to reduce friction to make it easier to use the app,” added Mian. “We see a drop after they go to track their first meal, so we use these real-time touchpoints to interact with them and to strike the iron while it’s hot.”

“We released an FDA approved product, it’s a mobile app where users can scan their existing glasses at home for free, and they get a prescription,” shared GlassesUSA’s Arie Tom as another exciting way to put tech into use at the hands of retention. “And now we are launching home-trying program. We are constantly testing new innovations in helping our customers to buy again”.

Another original use-case for how to use tech to improve segmentation and make communications more relevant and personal was shared by Alan Mansfield, who described how at Funstage, they also segment players according to their most recent experience. “People tend to remember bad experiences. We are always very aware of the history of the client’s experience, and it helps determine the kind of communication this client will receive”.

TO AMAZON, AND BEYOND

What’s next? “Our customers will continue to expect less and less disruption in their lives, as technology advances. They will expect all services to provide them with a seamless, relevant, personalized, and predictive experience” is how Mian sees the consumer’s evolution unfolding.

“It’s really about voice,” Fischer built upon previous comments from Mian, and added that “Voice is a channel we will have to figure out because when your users use their voice to interact with you, you become really top of mind and become part of their lives.”

And while different CRM leaders use different channels and tech, there was one thing everyone agreed on: “Amazon is setting the bar,” concluded Fischer, and everyone nodded, “they don’t question the customer.”

The on-demand generation is the one with the buying power, and it’s the one setting expectations. It’s just that kind of relationship.

Watch the entire panel here

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