Real-time Marketing is the Key to Retailer Success

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mark-gallyBy Mark Gally, CEO, ZAIUS

Picture this: You’ve carefully developed a behavior-based campaign. Crafted a relevant and personalized message targeted to a user’s specific actions. But by the time the message is delivered, the customer has already left the session – rendering your message (and your brand) ineffective.

To many marketers, this situation is all too familiar. But what if it were possible to make contact during a consumer’s web session, or even deliver a message or coupon instantaneously following their online interaction, while the consumer is still mentally engaged? According to the 2015 Wayin real-time marketing report, 98 percent of the brands that are actively employing real-time marketing efforts saw positive increases in revenue – but despite their customers’ need for immediate engagement, not all marketers are optimizing their real-time abilities. The same report states that 41 percent of consumers expect an email response within six hours. Yet only a third of top retailers are able to respond that quickly – with the vast majority erroneously believing that responding within 24-48 hours is acceptable.

It all comes down to putting yourself in the customers’ shoes and having a deep understanding of their needs as they surface. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll have what it takes to actively strengthen the brand-user relationship. Below are some benefits marketers can expect upon implementing real-time marketing efforts.

Combat Shopping Cart Abandonment

Seventy-five percent of customers abandon carts under the pretense that they’ll “come back later”. Sometimes they do (because they can’t forget about those amazing shoes), and sometimes they don’t (because they decided they should save their money). But when you’re able to view abandoned carts in real-time – and potentially take an action that might encourage them to finish the transaction – you can more easily encourage customers to buy before their desire to purchase has dissipated. It’s much more difficult to convince a customer to purchase once they’re no longer in the mood – when you engage in real-time, you can determine what’s preventing your customers from completing a purchase, and resolve it before they walk away.

Track the Customer Buying Journey

Having a view into where each user is in the customer journey is critical to attracting and retaining them. You can help them move along the path to purchase by sending them targeted content while they’re in session and engaging with your brand. A recent Econsultancy study reported that 83 percent of online customers require some form of support or guidance during their online buying journey, regardless of whether they’re anonymous users or loyalists. When you work in real-time knowing that some customers need that guidance, you’ll be able to more effectively influence your users – maximizing not just conversion rate, but time to conversion and time to repeat engagement.

Drive Future Engagement Across Channels

Some channels are more “real time” than others, and most marketers still live mainly in the slower channels. For example, most email is sent on a set schedule, not immediately in response to a specific action. Social channels on the other hand (where 72 percent of consumers age 25-34 go for recommendations, according to Mintel) are by their nature “always on” and where marketers should be looking for insights and acting right away to not lose that customer while they’re in the moment. So if your marketing is based around set schedules, you may be missing some great opportunities, or worse, looking like the turtle as the hares go speeding by.

What’s Next?

Given the small timeframe of each customer’s peak engagement or “buying moment,” (which could be anywhere from two to four hours) real-time marketing is no longer a nice-to-have– it’s a necessity for truly capturing every signal of intent and staying ahead of the competition. A recent study revealed that effective content recommendations can result in up to a 50 percent increase in an average order’s price tag and an increase in conversion rate of up to 150 percent – when you’re able to capture every customer action, you’ll be more equipped to respond across channels with exactly the kind of message, recommendation, or promotional offer that your customer needs in that moment.

About the Author:  Mark Gally is the CEO of Zaius, a behavioral marketing engine that provides marketers with a complete understanding of customer behavior across all channels, and the campaigns that will drive more revenue. As a Senior Executive with over 20 years’ experience leading software companies, Mark has scaled and managed companies with exponential annual growth. He has been responsible for sales and service organizations for high-growth companies in business applications, analytics and IT infrastructure.  Mark served as Zaius’s Chief Revenue Officer before becoming CEO in December 2015. Previously he was the VP of Sales and Marketing at NetSuite, leading global sales and marketing for the Human Capital Management product line. 

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