The holiday season is always such a massively important time of year for loyalty marketers everywhere. For some, the holiday season represents the bulk of its annual sales so keen customer engagement and a superior customer experience are required to be successful.

Part of that equation involves an effective omnichannel strategy.

But, according to a new study from Zaius Marketing related to holiday marketing priorities, most B2C e-commerce leaders don’t have an omnichannel strategy.

Loyalty360 talked to Eric Keating, vice president of marketing for Zaius Marketing, to learn more about this revelation and more.

Why do you think so many respondents don’t have an omnichannel strategy for the holiday season?
 
Keating: Put simply: It’s difficult. A thoughtfully executed omnichannel strategy takes a lot of coordination. You need a combination of technology and marketing creativity to pull off omnichannel effectively. But what’s fundamentally holding B2C marketers back this holiday season is they don’t have access to a single view of accurate and complete customer data.
 
We’ve found, on average, that a loyal customer has six different identities in their systemincluding different devices, browsers, and channels. If you’re unable to stitch those fragmented identities to a single customer ID, you can’t know exactly how and when your customers engage with your brand, and you most certainly can’t create a consistent experience across channels.

How can this kind of strategy help loyalty marketers at this time of year?
 
Keating: Creating a consistent, relevant experience across channels isn’t just a cool new tactic, it’s proven to create customer loyalty. According to Accenture, 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history. This type of personalized experience is only possible with the right customer data collected across channels and devices and unified into a single customer view. If you’re able to offer your customers a personalized experience on email, social ads, push notifications and more, you’ll see increased customer loyalty.  
 
Relevant content seems to be crucial for loyalty marketers. How critical is it at this time of year?
 
Keating: In the next three months, many businesses will see more new shoppers than they have all year. Providing an outstanding customer experience during this time period is a huge opportunity to turn that influx of new buyers into repeat loyal customers. If you can increase your repeat purchases by just a few percentage points after the holidays, you’ll see a huge bump in revenue. In fact, 41 percent of total online revenue in the U.S. comes from repeat customers, even though only 8 percent of U.S. customers are repeat customers.
 
Why do you think so few are taking advantage of mobile push strategies?
 
Keating: Companies are too often treating mobile as a separate thing from the rest of their marketing strategy. It’s no longer about mobile marketing, it’s all about omnichannel. Unfortunately, not enough companies have pulled mobile into a unified approach. It’s actually quite similar to back when “digital marketing” was a new thing, and it was isolated from your company’s overall marketing team. Now they’re one and the same. When you pull them together, you’ll see mobile push is just another way to engage your customers. Repeat after me: it’s not about the channel; it’s about the customer.
 
Unfortunately, many consumers are opting out of push notifications as quickly as they’re opting in. That’s because many marketers are treating mobile as a silo and sending batch-and-blast messages to all of their shoppers. It’s not personalized or informed by the customer’s preferences and past browsing behavior on other channels or devices. But if marketers include mobile push in a personalized and targeted omnichannel strategy, it can be an incredibly effective channel.

What should brands be doing during the holiday season to optimize customer engagement and customer loyalty?
 
Keating: Segmentation and personalization are the two top tactics you can use to improve customer engagement and loyalty through your marketing communications. We know that outstanding customer experiences drive more loyalty, and we know that using segmentation and personalization drives that individualized experience. Your buyers will respond far better to an email message, an ad, or a push notification (or the combination of all three working together) that is tailored to their personal interests and preferences. If you prioritize one thing this holiday season, you can try a B2C CRM to gain a unified view of your customers and make your communications with each of them more personal and more relevant. 

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