London firm GDR Creative Intelligence help companies find new ways of interacting with their customers in order to create relationships that will increase sales. They are more than willing to share their best examples with the readers of Ecomony.
The company work with serveral global customers and helps them with ideas on how to improve their strategies towards their customers.
- The best way to interact creatively with customers is to observe how they prefer to behave and communicate, and enter their slipstream. For example, a hotel that wants to attract local residents will reach out and cater to these customers’ needs. The Rosewood Hotel in London did this by opening a weekly farmers’ market that both residents and tourists could enjoy together. Likewise, Domino’s Pizza recognised the growth of communication online with emojis, and made it possible to order pizza using them on Twitter, Martin Reid, Innovation Researcher at GDR Creative Intelligence, explains.
According to Reid, the context of customer’s lives is the key. He gives another example on how the sunscreen brand Vitality find ways to ensure their products stay front of mind by connecting them to apps or other devices to give alerts and offer complementary advice to extend or enhance the customer’s experience with the product.
"The Entitled Customer"
Why is it important for companies to find new ways of interacting with their customers?
- The new generation of consumers is different to their parents’ generation. They are the first to grow up with the Internet and they communicate in an abbreviated way. This entitled customer, as we call them, is more resistant to traditional advertising and more responsive to interactions that are contextual, two-way, collaborative, bottom up and co-created. Therefore, new marketing techniques have to adapt and stay alert to customers’ changing needs.
Martin Reid and GDR Creative Intelligence do not have any doubts. It is no longer enough for a brand to just provide a good service or product - it must appear to be ethical, authentic, and most importantly, personalised.
- For example, thanks to in-store music services like Rockbot or smart speakers like Prism, you can walk into a store and the music will change to suit the customer’s individual tastes while staying within the brand’s style parameters. A sense of personalisation should be at the heart of every brand’s offering; it may require restructuring the company with the individual customer at its heart.
"Avoid Second Life"
Are there any marketing ideas that you would not recommend, or is it always a good idea to try new methods?
- There’s nothing a brand or retailer shouldn’t try as long at it’s on an ‘always in beta fail fast’ basis, and remains true to the brand’s core values. A good way to try new things is to test out ideas with a network of startup partners. Having said that, one thing to avoid is virtual shopping worlds similar to Second Life as they don’t have a good track record for success.
Martin Reid advises e-commerce companies in general to be experimental, seamless and personalised in order to provide a feeling of human interaction. He says the customer journey needs to be kept frictionless and that companies can benefit from providing unified commerce across all channels.
- Shop Direct’s website for very.co.uk is a great example of this as it reorganises its homepage to prioritise categories and sectors based on a user’s purchase history and preferences. To see a ground breaking approach for service in e-commerce, watch out for the expected launch of North Face’s integration of artificial intelligence into its e-commerce web chat offer later in 2015.