Hyperconnectivity: Increasing or Decreasing Consumer Loyalty?

Retailers spend an enormous amount of time, effort and money getting consumers to step foot in their stores. And yet, for many brick and mortar retailers, getting potential customers in the door is no longer enough. In fact, for some it’s becoming a major problem.

“Showrooming” happens when someone visits a retail store to evaluate a product and then buys it online. According to a Business Insider article, 59 million Americans will engage in showrooming  in 2013. All thanks to the smart phone they hold in their hand.

Without even knowing the term, this practice saved me $20 on a microwave at Lowe’s. I remember thinking to myself, “my data plan is starting to pay for itself.”

According to Gartner, two-thirds of U.S. smartphone users will use their device to check prices or do product research and often times this research is being done moments before making a purchase.

Jake Sorofman in the Harvard Business Review, just published an insightful article that includes an intriguing question about a smartphone’s impact on the relationship between a retailer and the consumer. As someone is standing in a store, engaging their smartphone,  “Is he gaining conviction or changing his mind?”

In addition to this question, the article offers solutions to retailers that we can also benefit from, whether we are navigating the infinite dial or awaiting the launch of iRadio from Apple. After all, hyperconnectivity is not always negative. Think about restaurants. People use their smartphone to find an available table or a short wait, but nobody is negotiating the price of a steak or bottle of wine with the waiter. As we know, a great meal is about a lot more than a transaction, it’s something we experience.

Becoming Part of the Experience

The first step identified in the article is to “Develop customer intimacy,” which transcends simply knowing your target profile and requires connecting with them individually in a deeper way. For us that means helping stations identify the most valuable members of their audience and intentionally engaging with them off-air.

For example, if you have movie passes, are you simply making them available at remotes, putting them on Facebook or are you sending them to your best listeners as part of a surprise and delight strategy to enhance the relationship and become part of their movie going experience?

Another recommendation is to  “Integrate experiences across channels.” As simple as this seems, it requires a holistic approach to your marketing so that your audience has a consistent experience whether they interact with your station on-air, online, at events, at their mailbox, watching TV, seeing a billboard or reading the paper. Often times, consistent messaging gets overlooked, especially when a station is utilizing trade.

Sorofman next discusses the opportunity to “Deliver targeted experiences.” Data is plentiful and accessible, so one size fits all is no longer a viable communication strategy. This doesn’t mean gratuitous personalization or guessing their interests. It means collecting and analyzing data over time so that you can continue to build the relationship by offering personal experiences.

Last but not least, “Don’t forget the basics.” Although we live in an age of hyperconnectivity, it does not mean that you should ignore everything you knew previously. In fact, as we reported last year, in-person word of mouth still accounts for 90% of all recommendations including social media sharing. The fundamentals that previously drove success continue to be important today.

By transforming how you engage those who matter most, a mobility strategy can be implemented that makes hyperconnectivity an asset to your brand, rather than a threat.

To discuss an integrated mobile effort and how to fully incorporate mobility into your next campaign, please contact Andrew Curran, COO at DMR/Interactive.

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