Customer Loyalty at the Speed of Now: A Blueprint for CPG Brands
3 Minute Read
Traditionally CPG brands have relied on supply chains and various forms of advertising to raise brand awareness and connect with customers. Messaging is typically a one way channel, with little feedback that customers favor a particular brand other than total sales volumes. This presents a challenge for CPG brands because usually the only indicator of a decline in loyalty is a decline in sales, and often by then it’s too late to win back customers that have chosen an alternate brand.
The trend towards integrating intelligent digital experiences in the customer journey creates an opportunity for CPG brands to connect directly with customers rather than relying on third-party data and retail partnerships. This enables brands to respond faster to changes in the marketplace. It’s also an opportunity to leverage intelligent, personalized experiences to connect in ways most meaningful to customers and build more emotional experiences to foster greater brand loyalty.
Why emotional experiences hold greater business value
A recent Forrester report revealed that on average customer experience has declined across all industries. This indicates that while companies continue to invest in technologies and believe they’re making improvements, customers don’t agree.
Some would say that brands simply can’t keep up with increasing and ever changing customer expectations. But if that were true, it doesn’t account for how top brands who are doing things differently are outperforming competitors by at least 11%. According to the Forrester report, there is one thing that the top 5% of brands do differently. They have cleverly identified that the key to building customer loyalty is creating personalized experiences that are in tune with the consumer on a personal level.
There’s a huge opportunity for CPG brands to tap into this, especially with the nostalgia that aligns with a favorite brand. For most customers, just using certain products triggers a positive emotional connection - such as a fond childhood memory. By building on those memories, and by creating emotional experiences that link back to them, it’s possible to grow brand loyalty.
How intelligent experiences in digital channels help create emotional experiences
The key to creating meaningful emotional experiences is having accurate customer data. Traditionally this has been a challenge for CPG brands. But digital channels provide an opportunity to connect directly with customers because of all the data they provide in every session or visit. This in turn generates first party data that can be leveraged to create more engaging emotional experiences. It’s even more effective when coordinated with the features and benefits built into loyalty programs.
This is a departure from common CPG loyalty program approaches that are typically tied into coupons or points as benefits to customers. Discounts are nice to have but today’s customers are far less likely to change their behavior due to mass marketing approaches. Instead they prefer benefits that are personalized to their specific preferences and needs.
On digital channels it’s possible to learn from what customers respond to and then use this information to personalize experiences. AI-driven intelligent experience optimization does this by learning from how customers are browsing a website or interacting while using a loyalty app, and then in real-time, serving more relevant experiences that greatly increase the odds of a positive engagement, thus enhancing customer loyalty.
With loyalty programs linked to specific product categories, there’s an even greater opportunity to build emotional connections by leveraging the combination of real-time behaviors and first-party customer data to personalize offers. It’s a way to connect the customer story to the brand story and build on that sense of connection that can drive greater brand loyalty.
4 Ways CPG brands can leverage intelligent digital experiences to grow loyalty
Connecting directly to customers with a brand-appropriate personal context helps build a community around a specific brand. This generates more accurate information on customers which in turn facilitates more accurate targeting for paid advertising and social media campaigns, increasing the ROI of marketing efforts.
Leverage an optimization solution that allows you to combine real-time consumer behavior with first party customer data.. This will help you better predict shifts in shopping and buying behavior, which often affects brand loyalty. CPG brands can then be proactive in responding to these shifts and ensure all future experiences across the customer journey remain relevant.
Creating a brand community on digital channels can strengthen supply chain relationships. By increasing engagement for specific products through better customer experiences, it’s possible to drive demand on a retail level.
Learning about how customers engage with a brand highlights opportunities to cross sell or upsell and ensures that relevant products are promoted as part of a personalization strategy.
CPG brands are no longer constrained to engaging with customers through a retail supply chain. Direct to Customer (DTC) is a growing trend being leveraged across all industries. Leveraging first party data and using advanced technologies such as AI-driven intelligent experience optimization solutions creates opportunities for CPG brands to build stronger and more emotional connections with customers, by leveraging emotional experiences and serving relevant information at the right time to grow loyalty.