6 Ways to Drive Growth with Experience Transformation
While close to 9 in 10 brands listed customer-facing digital experiences as a top strategic priority for 2021, 58% of customers believe that most brands’ digital experiences have little to no impact on what they end up buying, according to a Gartner survey.
Most of the companies we talk to are well-aware of the urgency to redefine their customer experience (CX) for the digital world, and the necessity to ditch the traditional approach where CX was tailored to individual, disconnected touchpoints. But with a raft of data waiting to be leveraged and hundreds of technology and automation tools available on the market, the complexity of closing the gap between what consumers are expecting and what brands are delivering is only growing.
Below we look at 6 of the most common challenges faced by marketers in China as they strive to better meet customers' needs, with case studies showcasing how to define, design, build and operationalize growth-generating customer interactions.
1. How to design a CRM/loyalty program and increase customer lifetime value?
Chinese consumers are hungry for novelty and interactivity when it comes to loyalty programs, and a classic retention-focused point-based approach will likely not make a lasting impression. Accurate, data-informed membership-tier and benefits design are essential to ensure the success of Chinese loyalty programs; brands also need to infuse creativity into the type of rewards they offer their members, going beyond the traditional coupons to include limited edition samples, access to VIP service, lucky draw, or pop-up offline event.
—— CASE STUDY ——
A leading Internet company came to us as they wanted to increase owned channel sales, repeat purchase rate and consumer lifetime value. One of the major challenges holding the business back from achieving these goals was the lack of a data-led, integrated membership experience rewarding users for each of their interactions with the brand across various touchpoints.
We designed a full loyalty program, using a 360-degree engagement model where members are not only rewarded points for purchases, but also for following the brand on social media, writing product reviews, or how often they use the brand’s smart hardware. Based on interviews with key stakeholders to identify key business and consumer expectations, we built the overall loyalty program architecture, including member tier classification, omnichannel credit earning and rewards mechanisms, as well as customized membership communication. 5 months after launching, the new customer engagement program counted over 9 million members.
2. How to improve existing customers’ conversion and retention to boost business growth?
Earning Chinese customers’ loyalty means breaking through the noise with superior digital experiences that keep them returning to your brand. This starts with a thorough member segmentation and journey analysis that will inform engagement tactics, activation program design and personalized communications.
—— CASE STUDY ——
Our client, a leading insurance provider, embraced a customer-centric marketing approach years ago by developing its own wellness app. However, user stickiness was relatively low. To help our client boost retention and drive business growth, we elevated the internal engagement mechanism and integrated data from multiple touchpoints to transform the original app into a comprehensive, one-stop daily health companion.
We first designed a task-oriented engagement program, giving a reason for users to come back to the app daily to track their sleep, mood, diet and overall health, and offer them relevant healthcare advice and insurance product recommendations. We then revamped the member engagement strategy, introducing membership levels and rewards to incentivize referrals and in-app activity, strengthening the bond between customers and the brand to unlock lifetime value.
This approach resulted in an increase of active app users, with members continuing their insurance policy at a 200% higher rate than non-members.
3. How to shift marketing and sales operations to brand-owned channels? How to divert Tmall customers to private domain traffic pools?
Private domain traffic is virtually on every China-based marketer’s lips, and for a good reason: as competition for users’ attention on large eCommerce platforms like Tmall and JD.com is getting fiercer and costlier, by funnelling traffic to their own platforms, brands can regain control over their customer data, and adopt a community-based engagement approach that significantly lowers the average acquisition cost while effectively strengthening the emotional connection with customers.
—— CASE STUDY ——
Our client, a cosmetics brand known for its anti-ageing products, had to reinvent its customer engagement model to reduce soaring new user acquisition costs and ensure the steady growth of members sales contribution.
Understanding the key role of consumers as a powerful marketing engine, we designed a member engagement platform within WeChat to act as a core connection hub and deliver insightful engagement-based experiences across all phases of the customer journey. Member sign-up was incentivized through various mechanisms, each unique to different channels (cash coupon for registrations from a livestream session, multiplied reward points after completing campaign-based H5 activations, free product samples for member to member referral etc…), to attract Tmall purchasing users onboard. Through this approach, the brand was able to attract 2.5 million new members into its loyalty program over the past 3 years, with members now accounting for 62% of sales.
4. How to leverage word-of-mouth to increase referrals and rapidly acquire new users?
With eCommerce growth plateauing and customer acquisition costs showing no sign of slowing down, mastering word-of-mouth marketing has become imperative for brands, especially in China where consumers are more inclined to base their purchase decisions based on family and friends’ recommendations.
—— CASE STUDY ——
The Chinese online retail scene has become a highly-competitive battlefield for fashion brands. For our client, a well-established fashion label, we led a digital transformation project designed to leverage the power of private domain traffic and enhance their customer engagement through targeted social content.
During the first phase, we conceived a virtual personal stylist powered by an intelligent algorithm that analyzed millions of multi-channel data points in real time and translated customer insights into personalized product suggestions. We then focused on building a one-stop branded ecosystem on WeChat, starting with UTM parameters and mini-program tags definition for data tracking, followed by customer segmentation, AIPL and RFM analysis. We then integrated transactional (POS, Tmall flagship store, website, APP) and behavioural data into a single profile, and deployed an automated journey within OneX for customized content delivery to let the young Chinese audience share all things fashion, mutually engage and inspire friends.
The approach generated an average 4.2 million monthly conversions, with orders worth USD 11 million attributed directly to the brand’s WeChat platform.
5. How to encourage my online customers to visit offline and vice-versa?
According to forecasts from eMarketer, China could this year become the first country where eCommerce outstrips in-store sales. Brick-and-mortar is being reinvented, and it is imperative for brands to leave the traditional siloed channel approach behind to design and deliver frictionless, memorable O2O experiences.
—— CASE STUDY ——
Our client, a leader in the instant coffee segment, had to adjust its strategy for the Chinese audience, for whom coffee is more part of an aspirational lifestyle rather than a simple on-the-go beverage. Based on this insight, we helped them redefining their positioning as a contemporary, innovative business by crafting unique online and offline experiences to reinforce the emotional bond with local coffee lovers.
We developed a one-stop WeChat mini-program with a built-in loyalty membership scheme where users could unlock benefits and collect points by engaging with educational coffee content and interactive games. Users could also get priority access to offline pop-up events where they could taste in real life some of the beans they learned about through the WeChat-based digital activations and tease their senses with creative coffee mixology recipes.
The mini-program had a 45% engagement rate, with average browsing time nearing 4 minutes.
6. How to integrate data from different channels into a single customer view?
With the overwhelming amount of data available at businesses’ fingertips today, SCV (Single Customer View) is often perceived as an out-of-reach marketing holy grail. However, it does not have to be - SCV, with proper time and human investment, can be achieved in a few steps, from identifying high-quality data and structuring it with adequate tags to aggregating it from disparate sources into a holistic view.
—— CASE STUDY ——
For a global association providing financial education and certifications, we developed a centralized lead management system to nurture engagement and improve conversions. We first conducted a digital ecosystem audit to assess which platforms our client’s target audiences were using to inquire about professional certifications. Having identified their website, WeChat corporate account, mini-program and Zhihu as key interaction channels, we defined an omnichannel data collection process, and integrated it into a single customer view within OneX.
A unified tagging system and marketing automation enabled for personalized engagement and increased user satisfaction, specifically tailored to the needs of Chinese users.
The unique specificities of every industry and the fast-changing expectations of consumers mean that the right experience solution is going to look different for each brand. But great customer experiences all have this in common: they generate greater awareness, greater interaction, greater commitment and greater loyalty – which all amount to business growth.
Whether you’re just getting started and need strategic advice on understanding your customers and driving loyalty; bring your vision to life by designing and deploying a modern customer-focused experience journey; or want to superpower your existing customer acquisition and retention programs to drive further business and brand impact; our team can help you assess your Experience maturity to craft a tailored transformation solution.
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
> Gartner, May 2021, Marketing Research Shows 58% of Customers Believe Most Digital Experiences Don’t Impact Their Purchase Decisions
> eMarketer, February 2021, In global historic first, ecommerce in China will account for more than 50% of retail sales