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90pc of retailers to tap gamification for omnichannel CRM shift: report

Offering enhanced gamification features, incentives and loyalty programs are tactics that retailers plan to use in their mobile strategies, with 883 percent more seeking to identify consumers upon entry within five years, according to a new report from Boston Retail Partners.

Boston Retail Partners’ 2015 CRM/Unified Commerce Survey found that top American retailers aim to create or boost their existing CRM programs into a closed-loop system that identifies customers in-store, engages and analyzes them, and retains their business with a loyalty platform after point-of-purchase. Sixty-one percent of respondents also revealed that they have leveraged gamification features in their loyalty programs, which points to the increasing in-app engagement that consumers have come to expect from rewards platforms.

“The key takeaway from the 2015 BRP CRM/Unified Commerce Survey is that customer experience and engagement continues to be the top priority for retailers,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners, Boston, MA. “Consumers expect a personalized, seamless experience wherever, whenever and however they shop.

“Retailers need real-time retail capabilities to foster the spontaneity and intimacy that are essential to deliver the ‘Amazon experience’ at the store level,” he said. “The key to influencing a customer’s purchase and offering a personalized experience is to identify the customer early, when they enter the store.

“As soon as the customer is identified, sales associates should be supported with real-time customer information and analytics that enable them to tailor the experience to each customer’s personal preferences and recent purchases and online browsing history. Once customers opt-in or tune-in to your brand, retailers can create a level of intimacy never before possible.”

Gamification and loyalty
Gamification, which sees brands apply game-design thinking and concepts to non-gaming applications, is becoming a hot commodity for retailers to leverage when updating their loyalty programs.

Retailers that opt to reward their customers with badges or points for each level attained, store visit milestone, product video watched or purchase made can receive more information on consumer habits and the shopping cycle, which can in turn drive future sales.

This year alone, 31 percent of survey respondents used gamification in their loyalty program, with a projected 81 percent of retailers implementing this tactic set to rise over the next five years.

Overall, this will result in a 181 percent increase in brands tapping gamification over the next half-decade.

“Sephora, owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, provides a best-in-class model of an integrated in-store and e-commerce loyalty platform,” Mr. Morris said. “Their tiered Beauty Insider program boasts over 10 million members, offering compelling reward offers based on annual spend.

“Perks include first access to new products, advance access to sales, private shopping events, free shipping, unlimited access to the Beauty Studio, and Exclusive Events. Beauty Insider members can redeem their points for product samples, motivating future merchandise sales,” he said.

“Personalized product recommendations are also provided based on a customer’s past shopping history.”

Closed-loop systems
The survey’s findings discovered that retailers are extremely focused on strategies of CRM that will enhance the customer’s entire shopping experience from start to finish, as well as drive sales. Ultimately, 883 percent more retailers aim to identify customers as they walk in the door, while 100 percent plan to leverage analytics to better understand consumer purchases within two years.

The four key areas that brands are honing in on are identifying, engaging, analyzing and retaining the customer.

Forty-six percent of participants also claimed that a structured rewards platform is a top three CRM goal.

Offering in-store incentives such as exclusive promotions will be made easier once more retailers roll out beacon deployments, and can also help brands identify their customers, engage them by potentially providing them with a quick game or riddle to solve to receive the deal, and analyze shopping behaviors by pinpointing how many promotions are redeemed.

Mobile and tablet device are very well-suited to personalized offers and gamification features, and also enable marketers to collect invaluable data from their walk-in consumers.

However, as more bricks-and-mortar retailers employ mobile and tablet devices to augment consumers’ in-store experiences and drive point-of-sale purchases, they must also be aware of features which customers find helpful, such as product reviews, and those that individuals find abrasive, such as digital display prices, according to a new report from RichRelevance (see story).

“According to a recent study by Google, two in three shoppers who tried to find information within a store didn’t find what they needed, and 43 percent left frustrated,” Mr. Morris said. “If store associates, or apps, can identify customers as they walk in the door and provide them a customized experience with contextual information, they will turn more shoppers into buyers and buyers into more profitable customers.

“The sales associate of the future are in the customer’s hand.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York