Securing customer loyalty is becoming increasingly challenging for apparel brands and retailers as the sector becomes more competitive, but adoption of certain technology trends like blockchain and AI could hold the key, according to a new report from GlobalData.
Customers will quickly move on to a competitor if a retailer does not meet their expectations in terms of price, product, or experience, which is negative for retailers who depend on customer retention.
GlobalData has outlined five key technology trends that can help drive customer loyalty:
Many retailers are now embracing blockchain technology to solve issues such as low redemption rates, high costs, low customer incentives and security concerns by connecting retailers with users of multiple programmes. It allows customers to receive and redeem loyalty tokens that are interoperable across multiple programmes. Open systems, less clutter, more flexibility, lower costs, transparency, and security are some of the advantages of using blockchain technology.
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Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Several retailers, especially the e-commerce players, have been integrating deep learning into their platforms to predict output based on data input. AI enables retailers to categorise customers based on their behaviours and demographics, to provide a personalised shopping experience and enhance customer loyalty. Retailers also use data obtained through AI to offer customers personalised incentives and predict future purchasing behaviours.
Digital wallets (mobile wallets)
Retailers can capitalise on the growing usage of mobile wallets to enhance customer loyalty. Retailers are partnering with different digital wallets to provide store coupons, discounts, reward programmes, and loyalty cards to shoppers in a bid to enhance loyalty.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
CRM is a tool that is being used by several retailers to track and manage a customer’s entire shopping journey from a central location. The technology enables retailers to strengthen their relationship with shoppers by having a better understanding of their needs and requirements. Retailers can leverage the tool to obtain critical information on trends, consumer behaviour, and patterns of sale by gathering and evaluating sales data. Subsequently, retailers can collaborate customer information to formulate better strategies, make crucial decisions and develop programmes to enhance customer loyalty. Zara and Amazon are two of the retailers that use CRM technology in their operations.
Customer experience management (CEM)
CEM is the collection of processes that retailers use to track and manage all interactions that occur between them and a customer throughout the customer life cycle. CEM collects experiential data from customers and analyses their feedback to gain insights which can be used to optimise the customer experience. Common features of CEM include survey forms, A/B testing, customisation settings, and customer support.
Click here to access the report in full.
Some apparel firms are also tying sustainability efforts into their loyalty programmes, such as MySize which is rolling out a new virtual coins feature that will allow e-commerce retailers to provide consumers with incentives to make purchases with MySizeID in a move aimed at cutting down on costly returns and reducing carbon footprint.