The modern retailer or vendor is often seen as a faceless entity which provides a uniformly good, but mostly impersonal service to all its customers. Perhaps it’s this perception that makes most consumers nostalgic for the days of Mom & Pop stores when the consumer-retailer relationship was a little more personal. Service might have been patchy or slow, and not all the desired products might be available, but an exchange of smiles and a few friendly words would make the shopping experience more memorable. Whether this is a likely hypothesis or not is, of course, debatable, but there is one cold, hard fact that all retailers and brands need to face: consumers are increasingly demanding more personalized services. As is usually the way with markets, some vendors are responding more quickly than others.
Personalized marketing, or ‘one-to-one marketing’ as it is called, has already made a big impact in the United States. Vendors are recognizing that customers are all different from each other and that each demands a unique response. Amazon provides one of the best examples of one-to-one marketing: with its personalized book and music recommendations, the e-commerce giant changed the way people approached personalized marketing. Another good example of a simple yet effective means of personalizing customer engagement is provided by NYTimes.com, which allows readers to receive personalized news articles tailored to their interests.
Some companies take the personalization even further. Mojo Motors sends ‘thank you’ notes to every customer who buys a car on their website. Telecommunications giant Sprint is also pushing its employees to send handwritten ‘thank you’ notes to customers, which can later be brought in by them to receive a 25 percent discount on an accessory. This shows customers that the company they purchase from is not only paying special attention to them individually, but is also rewarding them for brand loyalty. The companies themselves benefit from this, as happy customers return to them again and again, and also ensure a regular inflow of new customers, who are brought in by positive word-of-mouth marketing.
It is precisely in this matter that a platform such as QlikTag can help companies. Using the QR code and NFC technology, brands can direct their customers to personalized and mobile-friendly websites loaded with information, or can offer them customer-loyalty vouchers, as well as special discounts and offers. A winery can send its customers harvest notes, taste notes and pairings for wines, while a shoe brand can send the latest catalogues and designs to its loyal customers. Customers who scan a QR code on a cosmetic they purchase, could be offered invitations to special trials or launch parties. The possibilities for personalization, especially in mobile marketing, are endless and any company which engages with its customers in this manner is likely to receive high returns for its modest, yet thoughtful, investments.