- 1 In 2020, a lot of things have changed dramatically in marketing. Five trends on how this change will continue:
- 1.1 1. Apps and mobile experiences are still on the rise
- 1.2 2. SMS is becoming more and more important in the customer journey
- 1.3 3. Brands need to think beyond the topic of “contactless”
- 1.4 4. A modern omnichannel approach is crucial in 2021
- 1.5 5. New technologies help retailers out of the crisis
- 1.6 Conclusion: Raise the bar
In 2020, a lot of things have changed dramatically in marketing. Five trends on how this change will continue:
The global pandemic has led to unprecedented changes in consumer behavior, including the acceptance of digital offerings. While the marketing plans for the first quarter of 2021 have already been made, many experts are wondering: How will customer engagement evolve in 2021? And how will the trends and methods that have emerged in recent months influence this year’s concrete engagement.
1. Apps and mobile experiences are still on the rise
According to a recent study by App Annie, a provider of data and analytics on the global mobile market, the amount of time spent on retail and financial apps has increased by 45 percent worldwide compared to the previous year, excluding China. The pandemic has put smartphones even more at the center of people’s lives, and we rely more than ever on apps and mobile experiences. Brands and companies should take advantage of this situation to anchor their connection to the customer and provide an experience that is both useful and enjoyable. This requires strategies that help personalize messages and seamlessly orchestrate interaction across all mobile and digital channels, so that the already high customer expectations are met or exceeded.
2. SMS is becoming more and more important in the customer journey
According to Forrester, email and mobile messaging volumes will increase by 40 percent in 2021. SMS and its almost 100% opening rate are an important channel for marketers to stand out from the unitary porridge and encourage purchases. Given the higher cost of SMS compared to email and push messages via apps, marketers should focus SMS communication on time-critical offerings that are of high value to both the recipient and the brand. By orchestrating channels according to customer preferences, brands can seamlessly integrate SMS messages into multi-channel campaigns, making the customer journey even smarter and more effective.
3. Brands need to think beyond the topic of “contactless”
The pandemic has forced many brands to take a step back and evaluate the customer experience from a new perspective. You have to think beyond the topic of “contactless”, because customers today want a thoroughly smooth experience. For example, contactless pick-up options on the roadside or buy online, pick up in-store have become standard, and it has only taken a few months for consumers to feel that they are not only very comfortable using these services due to pandemics. Today, the way customers and employees perceive these offers varies greatly from brand to brand, especially as consumer behavior changes so quickly. While technology integration, customer data, and real-time processing are at the heart of optimized experiences, ongoing testing can help optimize digital offerings and channels over and over again. The goal must be for the Customer Experience to work at every turn, no matter whether the retailer is small online florist or an international clothing merchant.
4. A modern omnichannel approach is crucial in 2021
A modern mobile-first omnichannel approach is critical to success in 2021, as customers will rely on brands that have well-interlinked their online and offline strategy and are always able to choose the right channel. Omnichannel customers are up to three to four times more valuable than single-channel customers – all the more important are cross-channel consistency and the insights gained from these interactions. Brands that are directly digitally connected to their customers and prioritize smooth omnichannel experiences can better understand their customers’ needs and add value throughout the customer lifecycle. To achieve this, brands need to use interaction data so that they can react dynamically to reach customers in the right context, through the right channel, and at the right time: this is the only way to optimize the experience.
5. New technologies help retailers out of the crisis
The ability to connect with customers at home has been the key to success in recent months. This will continue in 2021, as the evolution of retail technology ensures that retailers can deliver the kind of experience that customers crave. (New) Identifying and meeting customer needs shows that retailers – even though the traditional routes to the customer are currently on hold – still feel connected to the “core of the trade”: awakening loyalties and thus boosting sales.
Conclusion: Raise the bar
All the experts surveyed outline a bold vision for the future of customer engagement. The forecasts go beyond the pandemic period and show how mobile communication is moving even further into the heart of consumer lives – stimulated by the fact that online shopping is currently the order of the day. In addition, consumer expectations are evolving rapidly. They are influenced not only by competitors, but also by experience from other industries, from grocery stores and ride-sharing services to coffee shops and banks. It’s also crucial for brands to understand how expectations will vary from one market to the next in order to effectively localise their communications.
Proactive, even forward-looking service at an individual, one-to-one level quickly becomes a must-have for retailers. If you not only want to survive, but also want to prosper, you have to raise the bar now.