We’re months past the winter holidays and sellers have a great chance to think about what we’ve learned, now that the dust has settled. Each holiday shopping season is an intense, focused study in what motivates customers to buy and brings many opportunities for improvement. Looking back, it would be too easy to think that a customer completing a long shopping list for gifts would be most motivated by price, but Forrester Principal Analyst Tracy Stokes says otherwise.
Stokes recently blogged her advice to big-box retailers, saying that superior customer experience is the differentiator for retail marketers.
Stokes uses the acronym TRUE to summarize the approach that she recommends, which stands for trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential. These are certainly great targets for any brand, especially one that wishes to avoid racing to the pricing bottom each season. But how does a brand interact with a customer in a way that meets those requirements both at the holidays and throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall?
Answering that question is more of a challenge than those four adjectives would imply.
Consumer expectations are rising fast in the digital age. Knowing where and when a customer wants to be engaged is an enormous part of being trusted. Unwanted or tone-deaf communication breaks trust.
Great marketing gets attention from the customer and, even more, makes them a brand advocate. An advocate tells their network about their experience because it was that good. But it has to be perceived as repeatable to be shared.
Being just another bright red flyer in the mailbox isn’t very unmistakable. For a brand to be set apart, it has to promise and deliver an experience that is very personalized and relevant.
Perceived as Essential
Being essential means there’s no competitor that can match a brand’s service or customer experience. A customer feels they have no alternative but to continue to do business with the brand because that’s the best path to satisfaction.
Savvy consumers increasingly using digital means to choose brands will channel their spending toward brands that can delivery on these concepts. Loyalty platforms are the essential tool that make being TRUE possible in a highly competitive marketplace. Are you ready to be TRUE to your customers? You have months before crunch time comes again and now’s the time to create your new plan of action.
This post first appeared on the Loyalty Lab blog and has been lightly edited.