The Key to Lasting Success for a Brand is Strong Customer Relationship

Date:   Wednesday , August 31, 2016

Headquartered in Germany, PAYBACK is a multichannel marketing platform for the retail businesses that communicates with the customers at right time and place via online, offline and on the move, while providing optimum combination of coverage and personalization that result in high ROI.

The Indian Retail Industry has undergone a paradigm shift from a product-oriented industry to a more marketing focused industry with the \'customer\' taking center stage. The customer today is spoilt for choice owing to diverse factors like multiple brand choices, extremely attractive value propositions and availability of content 24x7 due to various social platforms and technological access.

Also, there are radical changes and explosion in the retail landscape with the emergence of new age e-commerce players giving the larger organized players a run for their money. All this explosion is resulting in mad rush for new customer acquisition. However, the same is fuelled largely by deep discounting, which in the longer run is unlikely to be un-sustainable. As discounting is very transactional in nature and does not build any engagement with the customer over time, competition can better the discount the next day and acquire the same customer. So, the real challenge is to build strong customer relationships which eventually drive sales, sustainability and growth, post the initial acquisition run.

Retention and customer stickiness can potentially be achieved through the following means:

a) Strong product differentiation: This is largely limited to manufacturers and has a limited role in retail/ service industry

b) Service level differentiation: Given the competition most top players are at parity in terms of the services they offer

c) Rewards/Loyalty Program: Given service and product parity, airlines and credit card companies realized the challenges they faced in customer retention decades ago and embarked on having loyalty programs as a means to drive customer engagement and stickiness. As the retail industry matures, they are now being forced to look at ways and means of retaining customers and rewards/ loyalty program based retention approach is the most appropriate way forward.

Additionally going forward, brands also need to ensure that marketing is more personalized, contextual and targeted, focusing on sharply segmented relevant prospects instead of a single, large audience. Brands are engaging in different strategies to personalize their customers shopping experience. From SMS to email and push notifications, retailers and consumers have diverse options for interacting with each other.

Furthermore, it is important to create a loyalty program which is best suited to customers as well as the business based on the strategic insights into the customer behavior. This would be the differentiator and help to engage with the customer for a longer period of time.

In such a scenario, coalition loyalty programs can be a deal clincher over traditional schemes as customers have an opportunity to engage with multiple product and service categories through a single program and yet maximize their potential rewards and benefits, thus, enhancing their shopping experience manifold.

Going forward, customer engagement is being driven more and more by brands ability to personalize a customer\'s experience. And, it is those retailers who leverage multiple marketing tactics based on user preferences and needs that are ensured the best returns and success in the long run.