We may only be a couple months into 2020, but we’re already well underway with making predictions and gathering insights about the decade that lies ahead — especially in terms of the future of marketing. Mid-January, the National Retail Federation (NRF) kicked off their 2020 Vision conference. Leading brands presented their outlook on what will change in the twenties and beyond, and how their brand is specifically leading that change with in-person experiences. This is only the beginning of collaborative learning and insights bound to surface in the coming months of conferences and shows.
At Blueshift we’re thrilled to hear that even more brands are talking about data activation and how properly utilized customer data can create amazing customer experiences. An emerging trend in marketing is the concept of using online (or digital) data to influence in-person experiences. Physical interactions are the new frontier of data activation — the next 10 years will be chock full of brands realizing the full potential of connecting digital data to more traditional avenues. While there’s so much innovation that’s yet to be realized, there are already several ways companies can utilize online data for in-person experiences.
1. Preference storage for a breezy customer experience
The in-store appointment experience rarely begins in said store. More often than not, brands that offer appointment slots (think hairstyling, cosmetic services like Sephora, or restaurant chains) do so through an online booking system. Customers will need to navigate to a brand’s site to book, and are therefore pulled into the digital marketing journey. With a holistic, single view of customers, this process becomes more seamless than ever before. Real-time customer profiles can populate dynamic fields on your site thanks to user tracking recognition.
Let’s say shopper Sally is looking to book a makeover at her favorite cosmetic chain store. Sally’s up-to-date customer profile (powered by Blueshift’s Predictive Intelligence Studio) will show Sally has an affinity for 1pm appointments that are an hour long with Stylist Sarah. Or, maybe Sally has historically browsed your website at 1pm searching for open makeup appointments more than any other kind. Now, with Sally’s customer data being properly collected and activated, information can be pushed directly to your website in real-time making her booking process easier than ever before.
2. Next-level loyalty programs that drive conversions
On the topic of activating customer data, did you know it can be used to level up rewards programs? With systems like Blueshift’s Customer Data Activation Platform, it’s simpler than ever to create rewards programs that go beyond point tiers. With AI-powered adaptive segmentation, in just a few clicks marketers can build out precise segments targeting customers who not only have high loyalty point values, but also show a high purchase-intent or engagement scores.
Segments are autonomously updated in the background, removing the need for manual updates or reliance on technical teams. Marketers can then ensure customers are always receiving the most relevant messages at the right time of the customer journey to drive engagement and growth.
3. Micro experiences
Finally, one of the biggest topics of discussion thus far in 2020 has been micro experiences. Representatives of FRCH Nelson defined these as,“a small-format, in-store activation that engages consumers in a meaningful brand extension that cannot be replicated online.” And although these experiences cannot be replicated online, they can still be informed by the fullness of a customer’s digital footprint. Drybar, at NRF 2020, describes how micro experiences have grown their footprint and in turn their customer database.
The 2020s will see digital data informing what kind of in-store experiences are offered to us — and the sky’s the limit. Geo-location data and browsing history might be responsible for push messages telling us which aisle our favorite product is in when we enter a store. Or, how VR glasses can be used to display deals that are unique to each customer when they browse in-store. The future of in-person experiences along with digital experiences are irrevocably linked and it’s up to forward thinking brands to ready their existing data for these upcoming trends.
Ready to invest in your brand’s future and get started with data activation? Book a demo with our team and experience first hand the power of AI-powered, 1:1 marketing. Or, learn more about how popular brands are using Blueshift to nail their most ambitious goals.