The beginning of the year is a time of great momentum and in our evolving industry, you always have to be prepared for what’s coming down the pipeline.
We’ve seen a significant shift in retailers using technology to create more meaningful and personalized engagement strategies to inspire customers to take action. It’s a shift that will continue to grow even bigger because retailers must be laser focused on providing an ultra personalized experience that delights every customer.
Heading into 2023, we foresee other trends gaining more traction and catapulting some retailers above the rest based on their foresight and innovation-focused strategy.
Here’s how you can stay ahead of the curve:
#1: Don’t Let Disparate Data Sources Slow You Down
Data’s quality will be a major focus for retailers in 2023. At its best, data empowers retailers to move faster, work smarter, and transform how they serve their customers. However, data can also create inconsistencies, redundancies, and even confusion. This is often the case with disparate data sources because massive amounts of information come from different data processing systems that don’t speak to one another. Small businesses use 14 apps, on average, and this number only gets bigger for larger enterprises. The more systems you have, the more difficult it is to centralize and make strong data-driven decisions.
Through strong partnerships and innovative technology, many retailers are moving from legacy loyalty providers to customer engagement ecosystems that unsilo growing amounts of customer data. Sparkfly launched our consulting arm to help our customers use this data to its fullest potential. Our research, strategy, and design creates a frictionless ecosystem that enables all of their platforms to work in concert. This collaboration empowers our partners — Chipotle,Texas Roadhouse, Bloomin’ Brands, and more — to connect, innovate, grow, and do what they do best: provide premier experiences for their customers.
#2: Create a Frictionless Customer Experience
The harder something is, the more people will avoid it, and that basic human behavior extends to the type of experience you offer. That’s why it’s imperative to create a frictionless experience at every part of a customer’s journey. Realizing the customer experience will continue trending toward ease, many retailers have changed their tune on automation. While automation used to evoke feelings of dread, many revere this technology’s ability to create a seamless experience for customers, such as how they conduct payments and earn loyalty points.
Without these tools, customers had to share their phone number or loyalty number with retailers’ staff to earn points. Now, earning points is as simple as having a customer pay with their credit card. Because their cards link to their personal information, retailers can automatically capture and allocate that information. You no longer have to worry about operational or training gaps to manually collect that information, and your staff can focus on providing a great experience knowing your guest will receive an automatic credit for their purchase. This technology optimizes your time, improves accuracy, and delights your customers.
#3: Flex With What Makes You Unique
Customizable customer loyalty programs will become absolutely essential for retailers’ success. A plug-and-play approach to customer engagement doesn’t allow you to authentically connect with customers. Going forward, the more personalization, the better. Customers crave personalized experiences and a lack thereof may turn them off your brand:
- 80% of frequent shoppers only purchase from brands that personalize the experience
- 63% of consumers say they’ll stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics
- 66% of consumers say receiving non-personalized content would stop them from making a purchase
Part of Sparkfly’s mission is to empower retailers to create unique rewards programs, which is why our customer engagement ecosystem replaces rigid point-based programs and unlocks levels of personalized engagement. Through this flexible approach, our partners experience significant increases in customer frequency, spend, and brand affinity.
We are passionate about accelerating meaningful digital innovation for retailers, and we do it by staying laser focused on our core competencies and innovating in our swim lane. Oftentimes, tech companies flounder because they’re going too far outside of their niche. We’re seeing all-in-one generalists realize the ill effects of their shotgun approach to technology, such as the inability to partner with large enterprise brands who look to these partners to be SMEs in their respective areas. Leaning into where you excel doesn’t equate to being stagnant. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sparkfly’s tight focus on where we provide unique value allows us to go deeper, serve our clients better, and position our business for a fruitful future.
This year is a big one for retailers. Facing intense competition, a shaky economy, and rising customer expectations, success hinges on your ability to innovate and evolve. We’re excited about the steps we’ve taken to elevate our businesses and partners to that next level, and we look forward to sharing what’s next.