Five Actionable Tips to Build Closer Customer Relationships

Teradata Mobile director of customer success Einat Dror shares the finding of the companys recent study into the top shopping apps in the UK, and what we can learn from them.

TeradataDid you know that 96 per cent of the UK’s top retailers have mobile apps? Did you also know that only 21 per cent of these apps sent push messages during a four-week period? Seems shocking, right?

Our study monitored apps offered by the UK’s top 50 online retailers. Push notifications, individualization and special offers were observed over a four-week period. According to Criteos Q1 2015 State of Mobile Commerce Report, mobile shopping is becoming increasingly popular among consumers with 46 per cent of all ecommerce transactions now coming from mobile. Retailers in the UK have clearly picked up on this trend and are recognising the important role of mobile apps – but the million dollar question is, are retailers getting everything they can from apps?

Let’s take a look at five lessons on how to increase your customer engagement that we learned from the study.

1. Communicate with your customers
Communication is the key to keep your customers engaged. How do you do that? When it comes to mobile, Push messages is the key.

During the course of the study, only 21 per cent of the apps sent out push messages. It is puzzling to me why you wouldn’t use push notifications.  You might be afraid that by sending push messages you will make your users uninstall your app, and indeed sending push apps is an art and needs to be executed correctly. How?

Send relevant information, vary your messages, send messages  when your customer is most alert, and personalize your messages. The point here is to engage your customers, not annoy them. Keep in mind that customers are viewing these messages on the go. If you don’t peak their interest immediately, you lose out.

An example of how not to send push messages – vary the content
An example of how not to send push messages – vary the content

2. Give them control
Give the user control of their push notifications by using a push preference center. To make sure your customers use the push preference center, make sure that it opens upon the initial activation even before the operating system message pops up. Allow your customers to be in control of their push notifications, enables them to control what and how often they want to receive notifications. This will increase your push opt-in rates since users are more likely to opt into push messages once they know they will receive only the content they’ve signed up for.

In the research, we observed that 56 per cent of the apps indeed use a push preference center. While this is encouraging, when adding this to the data we mentioned before, that only 21 per cent of them actually sent any push during the course of the study, this is confusing. As a user, if I sign up to specific push messages, I expect to receive those messages, and not getting them is a missed opportunity for the company to engage me.

Teradata content marketing manager Yael Kochman says that offering the user to choose which messages he or she wants to receive, while ultimately not sending them these messages, can be a very disappointing experience for the customer. See the full interview with her:

3. Ask them to sign in
Providing a sign-in option allows you to connect the user profile with the information you have on this user in your CRM. This is advantageous as it gives you first-hand information for the user himself and not just from data you have collected from app activity. 50 per cent of the shopping apps in the study utilsed this feature, however the majority of them made this option mandatory, by that potentially driving users off if they are reluctant to sign in at that point. My recommendation is to make the sign in optional and re-enforce it only if the user wants to actually make a purchase.

4. Remind them to finish their purchase
A surprising finding in the study showed that none of the apps sent an abandoned cart push message.  Sending these reminders has shown to generate a higher conversion rate for our customers, as well as improving customer retention and the customer’s long-term value.  Ideally, you should send out a reminder 24 hours after an item was added to the basket to encourage the user to complete the purchase. For your most valued customers a coupon or special offer can be sent out but it is not advised to do this every time as the customer will come to expect it.

5. Speak to each customer individually
Sales people are taught to use their customers name during the sales call as much as they can. People like hearing their names and they are more likely to buy from someone using their name.

Similarly, when sending any communication to your customer, you must individualize the communication by using customer’s name as well as any other data you have (for example, the last item they  looked at). We were surprised to find that only 13 per cent of the apps individualized messages by name.

Another way to keep your customer close is to remember the dates that are important to them – birthday, anniversary.  Only two per cent of the retailers sent a birthday message during the time of the study. Who wouldn’t feel good about receiving a birthday greeting from their favorite retail store, maybe even offering you a birthday discount?

Connect with your customers, tap into their personal lives in a non-intrusive way. Send out messages which include their name. People react better if the message is made out to them and not just mass message.  Our top 50 UK online retailers study showed, that there is a 40 per cent increase in open rate when the messages are individualized by name.

According to our study, retailers still have a long way to go when it comes to fully leveraging the power of mobile apps. They should increase the amount of individualization and improve their outreach to customers by using strong calls to action.

Adopting this type of approach has been shown to substantially increase customer engagement and lead to higher revenue and brand loyalty.  It is important to keep the users interests at heart while customizing mobile marketing strategies. As they say, a happy customer is a loyal customer – and that is ultimately the goal, am I right?

For more insights and actionable tips you can download the complete study here.

Einat Dror is director of customer success at Teradata Mobile