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Personalization and loyalty are the keys to omnichannel success

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Connecting the dots

Our recent State of Omnichannel report—The devil’s in the retail—found retailers have much further to go when it comes to omnichannel. We surveyed over 2000 US shoppers and found that, despite omnichannel being discussed for more than a decade, many retailers are failing to live up to consumer expectations.

Creating connected experiences requires a deep understanding of both customer needs and data, and organizations that get these right see huge results. Our survey discovered that 66% of consumers have spent more time and/or money than intended in a retail store that gave them an immersive experience.

So how can retailers connect the dots to deliver the multilayered digital and physical experiences that retail consumers love? The answer to this question may start with a tried and true marketing play—the loyalty program.

Our report found that the majority of respondents (93%) had active memberships in loyalty programs, but that figure is at risk of falling if retailers don’t tackle data disillusionment.

Retailers must optimize loyalty programs to harness the behavioral and consumer insights they contain. Those who use loyalty app data effectively are likely to build deeply connected, personalized consumer experiences that empower them to bring omnichannel to life.

Offer a fair value exchange

Customers understand the value of their data better than ever before, and they want real value in return for providing it. It’s no longer enough to provide an online space to store receipts or to offer complex points programs that deliver little real-life value.

Only about a third of the consumers we surveyed are happy with their current loyalty programs, and 36% feel that the value they get doesn’t reflect what their personal data is worth.
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Results around which, if any, of the following statements would consumers use to describe the retailer's loyalty program of which they're a member.

Nathan Ley, Kin + Carta’s Senior Director, Portfolio Lead, believes the relationship between shoppers and retailers has transformed. In a recent article (authored with Mark Collin— Managing Director, Experience and Product) he explains, “Loyalty is no longer about rewards programs and discounts; it’s about building relationships that reflect real-world needs and individual wants. The key to this very human desire for connection lies in data”.

29% of the US consumers we surveyed believe the offers they receive aren’t personalized enough. Retailers must ensure data is stored securely, used ethically, and harnessed thoughtfully to link in-store and online experiences. Perhaps an in-store purchase triggers an online discount or online browsing drives an in-store app notification to highlight a relevant discount or offer.

The relationship between shoppers and retailers has transformed. Loyalty is no longer about rewards programs and discounts; it’s about building relationships that reflect real-world needs and individual wants. The key to this very human desire for connection lies in data.
Mark Collin and Nathan Ley

Build connections through loyalty experiences

Loyalty apps are the most popular way that US consumers interact with loyalty programs. 59% of shoppers in our omnichannel research told us that apps are how they access loyalty programs, closely followed by websites (41%), and information provided on store receipts (24%).

However, the retailers that are leading the pack are connecting experiences across all channels. Nike is an example of a brand that uses loyalty app data to inform exceptional physical store experiences. They use information from across their apps to influence everything from where a store is located and the products they sell to delivering personalized sizing recommendations both inside the app and at brick-and-mortar locations.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Heidi O’Neil—President of Nike Direct—explained that "with machine learning and AI, we're able to have every digital experience at Nike be unique and personal."

Retailers who don’t have an app are missing out on a significant opportunity and are unlikely to build true multichannel experiences.

Interested in starting your journey to hyper-personalization?

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The challenges of bringing omnichannel to life

The road to omnichannel isn’t easy or comfortable. We know many retailers struggle to create a single source of truth for customers. Frustrations around siloed data and lack of connectivity are common, and it can be difficult in an enterprise organization to bring different strands of consumer data together meaningfully.

Retailers can’t afford to stick their heads in the sand; the painful reality is that getting omnichannel wrong comes with serious consequences. Customers are ready to walk after a bad experience—50% of consumers in our global survey have been so frustrated by a retailer’s digital channels that they decided to stop shopping with them altogether

“Personalization is now table stakes,” says Matthew Hildon, Retail & Travel Portfolio Director, Kin + Carta, in our recent commerce-focused edition of Thread Magazine. He explains that market leaders have already raised the bar with hyper-customized offers, but stresses that retailers have to respond to consumer wants and needs. “The next frontier of personalization will also be about flexibility. Customers want control over how brands engage with them.”

We help some of the world’s most pioneering retailers build compelling and intelligent retail experiences. These organizations have seen firsthand that a fully data-driven organization requires a new way of thinking about data.

Kin + Carta’s data strategy workshop is designed to meet the unique needs of retail stakeholders by accelerating your speed to hyper-personalization, identifying where digital and data products can deliver the most value, and define key starting points in your omnichannel journey.

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