Yet Again, Personalization – and Simplicity – Save the Day

Working desk overhead view with laptop computer, eyeglasses and plant pot, wooden table in vintage tone.

This week in retention, a clever thinker unearths new possibilities for customer engagement, a radically simplified web site design boosts unique users by double digits and hammers bounce rates; and still more evidence that one-size-fits-all loyalty programs, at least for the mass affluent, are on their way out.

New Opportunities for Post-Purchase Engagement

No matter how fast your fulfillment, there’s always a period of time after a customer has purchased before they’ve received their items. That’s an ideal window for customer engagement, writes Amit Sharma, CEO of post-purchase experience platform Navar, in the Harvard Business Review. The timing makes customers unusually receptive. “Providing a positive experience at this time of anticipation is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to deepen their relationships with customers and build loyalty for their brands,” he writes. Here’s how to make the most of this unique window:

  • Rather than simply sending a link to UPS or FedEx tracking, offer customized package tracking and SMS messaging that maintain the branded experience.
  • Use personalized communications between purchase and delivery to preview the purchased items or promote other products.
  • Use post-purchase messaging to capture customer satisfaction at the time of delivery and then take action to solve any reported problems.

Visitors Up, Bounce Rate Down, Thanks to Washingtonian’s Home Page Redesign

In January 2016 the Washingtonian revised its home page with the intention of making it easier to manage and update. A traditional design that included varying content types, such as news items, links to special features, and the print issue,  was replaced with a simple news feed, or so-called river. Four months after the new homepage went live, the publication got a big, unexpected surprise: Bounce rates declined by 30%, and the number of unique users jumped 18%.

“When I ran the numbers, I was really surprised,” senior editor Andrew Beaujon told DigiDay. Because most of its traffic had been coming from search and social, the publication’s home page had been considered a secondary tool for reader engagement.

Here’s why the new home page works:

  • The newsfeed style makes the home page look as if it’s offering more content, which draws readers in.
  • The reverse chronological presentation encourages readers to click through an article.
  • Busy home pages get “abysmal” clickthrough rates, because users have decide ignore an item as often as they decide to click on one. Simple is better.

Wait! Aren’t These the Customers You Really Want?

Bad news for loyalty programs: Over one third of mass-affluent customers (those in the top 10 to 15% of earners) just “can’t be bothered” with loyalty programs, according to a recent study from U.K.-based Collinson Group. Just two years ago, only half as many of the mass affluent were apathetic about loyalty programs. Not surprising, then, that membership in leading, traditional loyalty programs for supermarkets, airlines and credit cards has declined by 6 to 15% during the past two years.

“Our research is a wake-up call to brands in every industry where points-based programmes offering generic rewards are still being used,” says Collinson director Christopher Evans.

The key to engaging these affluent but apathetic consumers? Personalization. When asked what would turn the tide on their attitude, 50% of the 6,125 people surveyed wanted loyalty programs that make it easy to earn, redeem, and adapt in accordance with their personal preferences.

Related Articles