In today’s retail world, consumers buy the items they need in a variety of ways. They can purchase from a brick-and-mortar store or an online e-commerce retailer, and they can use any variety of devices to complete a purchase. With commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart offering a wide array of products, consumers benefit from a convenient one-stop shopping experience. However, if we aren’t careful, we miss out on the thing that matters the most: a direct relationship with the customers who buy our products.
As marketers, building those relationships should be our number-one priority, and we can’t risk letting large retailers tend to our relationships simply because a website or retail store gives us distribution and reach.
So how do we build those direct relationships when our customers are purchasing through someone else? We have to be creative and look for ways to connect with customers, no matter where they are. Mobile is—of course—a huge opportunity for us. Mobile device usage is up, and just over half (51 percent) of consumers have used their smartphones to make a purchase. And that number will only continue to grow. With the help of creative, attention-grabbing mobile strategies, we can ensure that we market to the very people who benefit from the products we offer.
Toro embracves the Internet of Things
Take a lesson from Toro, a leading provider of landscape maintenance equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and snow blowers. Toro recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary, yet the company is far from getting comfortable with old ways. When Brian Ries, Senior Manager, Data Technologies, spoke at the Sitecore Symposium in October, he summarized the business challenge as, “Given the changing customer and retail landscape, we recognized the potential risk of fewer customers buying Toro solely because it’s the brand that their parents trusted. To foster loyalty, brands actually need to establish a direct relationship with the people who use their product.”
That’s exactly what Toro did. The team re-imagined the customer experience, developing a mobile commerce app, called MyToro®, that allows its products to communicate directly with end-customers. Imagine your lawn mower communicating with your smartphone and providing you a notification that it needs a new cutting blade or oil change, all of which are orderable with just one click. Toro embraced the Internet of Things and connected, convenient mobile commerce to deliver the speed, convenience, and personalization that delights a digitally native generation. And, with the help of all that incoming data, Toro has a better understanding of its customers, which allows the team to create the richer, more personalized experiences that customers want.
Re-imagining the customers experience
What Toro did was to re-imagine the customer experience in order to directly connect with its customers. As consumers have more buying options and communication channels than ever before, maintaining that connection should be every brand’s top priority. We must find ways to ensure that we keep our customers buying from us, not just from any website or retail location. That means figuring out where our customers are, their preferences, and, ultimately, how we can better meet their needs. Whether it’s keeping pace with the mobile consumer or offering great personalized experiences when our customers need us most, we have the opportunity to build direct relationships that will cement our place at the top of our customers’ lists.
Scott Anderson is Chief Marketing Officer at Sitecore. Find him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @ScottsVoice.