I was once talking to my teenage son about his lack of gratitude for all that he had. I called him spoiled. His response? “Well, whose fault is that?” Did I give my precious child too much, too often?
Retailers are also training consumers to be spoiled. And again, that’s not on them, but on the retailers. As B2C companies, they’ve gone overboard to give consumers what they want, when they want it. Every innovation, from Lyft to Door Dash to StitchFix, raises the bar for convenience, personalization and value. Customers expect it now from every supplier. The market is spoiled.
There’s no putting that genie back in the bottle. Now that everything from food, to a ride, to a wardrobe is on-demand and personalized, all retailers can do is get good at being there when they are ready to spend, with the right stuff. They have to live with the heightened customer expectations that they’ve created.
But instead of playing catch up, there’s a way to get ahead of the curve. That’s through what Trend Watching, as one of its key trends for 2020, calls “relevance as a service.” This is where consumer expectations for convenience intersect with their heightened expectations for ever-shifting personalization. The “relevance as a service” concept delivers products, services and experiences that constantly adapt around the changing needs of the user, as they move through time, space and different contexts.
So how can a retailer supply relevance as a service? For one, using customer analytics and Internet of Things (IOT) software that takes advantage of the interplay between what happens inside an enterprise and outside, in the physical world.
Examples of Relevance as a Service
- If you can know a person is window shopping on a city street, you can offer incentives to walk into that store.
- If you know a vegetarian shopper didn’t buy yogurt last time, a store can inform them of a promotion for that brand.
- If you know someone is buying a car, you can deliver financing offers at the opportune time – like when they’ve completed a test drive.
- If you know they bought a fancy dress, you can offer ads for relevant accessories.
- If you know what is in their fridge, you can offer recipes that use up ingredients, and offer coupons on what they don’t have for the recipe.
- If you know a warranty is about to expire, you can offer either an extended warranty or dollars off on a new appliance.
- If you know they’re missing their health and wellness goals, you can offer gym memberships or diet programs.
Data is the key enabler of this “relevant” relationship between consumers and retailers, driven by the ability of software to learn and new sources of information from the IoT. Thanks to advances in software, retailers can learn what motivates individual customers, how they like to be treated and when the optimal moment is to contact them given their situation at a particular moment in time. They can spoil them with hyper-personalization, relevantly timed.
TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group offers Customer Intelligence & Insights (CI&I) for Retail, a customer analytics software solution that allows retailers to take charge of customer relationships by using insights from data to spoil customers — delivering relevance as a service. Check out the CI&I for Retail overview video here.