Words by Alasdair Kilgour, Strategic Partnerships CEEMEA at Tealium
While it might be tempting to consider that the boom in online shopping – enforced through Covid-19 restrictions – may wane significantly now that stores are opening its doors once again, I believe, there’s instead a trend where both will flourish. This brings huge opportunities to retailers (and their holding companies), in the Middle East.
Undoubtedly, a regional mainstay of ‘destination’ shopping offline will return, but it won’t be at the expense of online shopping, as habits born during the pandemic will remain in place. Instead, a combination of both digital and physical will bring a fresh opportunity to create a more detailed understanding of each shopper.
In doing so, holding companies can drive multi-brand loyalty through connecting the dots across multiple touchpoints of the customer journey. Walled gardens will be broken down, enabling retailers to better understand the buyers in different contexts, predict behaviours across their customer base, and anticipate upcoming changes.
Most importantly, it will allow retailers to achieve the level of personalisation that can start to mirror the 1:1 customer understanding that exists (and fosters the passion for) in-store. This will allow brands to underpin long-term loyalty, through hyper-personalisation developed from 360-degree customer understanding.
Fundamental to this success is the integration of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) such as Tealium’s AudienceStream, which is capable of handling people’s data across different brands, providing significant returns in the long run. The built-in Predict Machine Learning subsequently enables marketers to quickly unlock machine learning insights and turn these to their advantage when planning marketing programs.
Ultimately, the winners will be the retailers who best analyse, manage and implement insights from the data they collect from their customers, which will keep them coming back again and again (and recommending the brand to friends and family). I can’t overstate how important this will be going forward and it will be up to that retailer to adapt to the changes that are coming.
This report will discuss how these changes are inevitable due to a wholesale shift in shopping models and habits across the region. But this brings a huge opportunity to collect rich data, especially across different brands within the same holding company, and turn it to the retailers’ advantage, without exploiting customer trust.
It’s time both to respond to what’s needed now, as well as plan for the future and not be left on the back foot again.
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