Global retail communication and marketing strategies are undergoing a transformative shift. The reliance on email as a medium of customer engagement is waning as its effectiveness to reach customers diminishes. As our inboxes become junk repositories, emails from retailers with no perceived significance to us are left unopened, deleted, or, worst still, remind us that we need to unsubscribe.
The future of digital, direct response marketing is taking hold where customers can actually be reached: on their phones via messaging applications that beep and buzz and prompt responses and actions. Chat messaging has become an integral part of our professional and personal lives; brands that want to bring their businesses into the future must be prepared to meet customers where they are doing the bulk of their communicating – on messenger apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and SnapChat. But a new medium always demands a new way of communicating, and adapting to a new technology requires that you learn its quirks.
Scalability Demands Artificial Intelligence
The chat medium is one of dialogue and conversation, which is how retailers need to be approaching all customer communications. To scale such an operation to millions of users on chat, brands will need to adopt machine learning and AI, which will become increasingly important aspects of this new frontier of marketing. Retailers also need to be on messaging channels the right way. And the better the AI, the more precise the insights will be for the shopper.
Mobify’s recent acquisition of Pathful addresses this new need in marketing and allows brands to maximize the effectiveness of their engagement efforts. As Fortune points out, Pathful “doesn’t just look at ‘vanity metrics’ or the sheer number of people who reach a given site or read a given piece of email but how many of those prospects actually interact with a given part of the site or app and (fingers crossed!) buy something.”
A Vehicle for Contextualization
The real departure from the marketing of yesteryear is the amount of authentic content and personalization – tailored to shopping habits, location and interests – that retailers will need to deliver in order to be relevant on this new medium. Messaging coupled with AI will allow brands to deliver contextualized messages that actually mean something to the user. The AI will recall what the customer is looking for, and know how they can get it in the most convenient way. The future of marketing will demand and deliver precise targeting for a unique customer experience. And isn’t that what we’ve always wanted to give customers, anyway?
There is a sea of change ahead of us in the world of retail marketing, as users shift away from traditional web to more mobile-oriented channels. No doubt there will be some choppy waters along the way, but it opens to a vast reservoir of opportunity – the space to dream up a customer engagement strategy that rewards brands with loyal relationships. Make the messaging leap to say goodbye to undelivered emails and unsubscribers, and hello to a new kind of customer conversation.