Gone are the days when businesses viewed customers as disposable, one-time transactions. Instead, forward-thinking companies recognize the immense value of fostering lasting connections with their clients. By cultivating engaged customers who return time and again, these innovative brands stand to benefit from a significantly increased lifetime value, sometimes even reaching ten times the initial value.
With the decline of cookies, the power of connections has become even more important. By connecting with customers, businesses can build a relationship with them, resulting in a more personalized and memorable experience.
So, what is a connected customer? In practical terms, it's a customer who is registered and logged in to an account on a business's website or application. This connection allows the business to track their behavior and tailor their experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
In this article, we detail some of the current brands and industries that are working hard to keep customers connected. Then we’ll explore the benefits of connecting with customers.
Encouraging Digital Connections
You’ll find examples of brands encouraging users to connect in the food and beverage industry, the sports and leisure industry, and the hospitality industry.
Let's take McDonald's for instance. You've probably seen those big touch screens they have at their fast food joints, right? Well, before you can even start your order, they ask you to either log in or skip the login altogether. It might seem like a hassle, but there's a good reason for it.
McDonald's knows that keeping track of their customers is key to their success, so they make sure to identify them right from the start. By doing so, they can offer personalized deals and experiences, which helps build customer loyalty and drives more business.
Fitness centers provide another example. When you visit the website of your fitness center or check in at the front desk, you'll likely notice a big "login" button staring back at you. That's because fitness centers are increasingly encouraging customers to create an account and log in during their visits or online.
By doing so, fitness centers can personalize the customer experience, track behavior, and provide targeted offers and promotions. Logging in also makes it easier for customers to book classes, check schedules, and track progress.
But personalized experiences go beyond just the basics — fitness centers are now using data and technology to really understand their customers. By analyzing workout history, fitness goals, and even heart rate, fitness centers can create custom workout plans and provide tailored nutrition advice that meets each individual's unique needs.
Another example can be seen in coffee shops, like BlueStone Lane, which uses QR codes to initiate a connection before customers can even see the menu and place an order. This shift towards connecting with customers is a clear indication of the value they hold.
Marriott Hotels is another great example of a business that recognizes the importance of connecting with its customers. The initial screen of their WiFi network requires guests to log in before they can access the Internet. By doing so, Marriott can collect valuable data about their guests, such as their browsing behavior, preferences, and travel patterns.
This data enables Marriott to provide more personalized services and tailor marketing efforts based on individual preferences, enhancing the overall guest experience. Additionally, by analyzing guests' browsing behavior, Marriott can offer targeted recommendations and promotions that align with their interests. Prioritizing the customer relationship in this way allows Marriott to establish a strong sense of loyalty among its guests, which is crucial in the highly competitive hospitality industry.
These are just several examples of the many brands that concentrate on establishing a connection with their customers, even at the expense of delaying a transaction.
So, why is connecting with customers so important?
This factor is perhaps the most important when connecting with customers. Personalizing the offer and experience for customers has proven to effectively increase conversion rates and customer satisfaction. By connecting with customers, businesses can personalize their experience by recommending products based on their previous purchases or sending targeted emails based on their preferences.
For example, Amazon is famous for its personalized recommendations, where customers are shown products based on their purchase history and what they've viewed in the past. This personalization not only results in increased customer satisfaction, but also leads to more sales.
A major benefit of connecting with customers is the opportunity for businesses to create loyalty programs. These programs can include rewards or exclusive offers for frequent customers, giving them reasons to come back and encouraging repeat business. By establishing a strong relationship with their customers, businesses can increase customer retention and overall satisfaction.
Another significant advantage of connecting with customers is the ability to implement remarketing strategies. Remarketing involves using data collected from customers and users to target them with advertising or personalized promotions, with the goal of convincing them to return to the website. This approach can be particularly effective in bringing back customers who might have abandoned their shopping carts or stopped visiting the website altogether. By focusing on these tailored communications, businesses can increase the likelihood of re-engaging and retaining their customers.
Establishing a connection with customers provides the advantage of streamlining transactions and minimizing friction in processes such as check-out. When the required data is already stored, customers do not need to fill in their details, making the check-out process faster and more efficient. By streamlining transactions, businesses can improve the customer experience, increasing the likelihood of customer retention and repeat business.
Customer Behavior Analysis
Additionally, collecting data on customer behavior and preferences can inform businesses on how to improve their products and services. By tracking customer activity and understanding their needs, businesses can create better customer experiences and strengthen relationships. While this aspect is not directly related to reducing friction, it does contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the customer base, which can be valuable for growth and development.
The Demise of Cookies
Cookies are small files that websites store on a user's device to remember their preferences, login information, and shopping cart items. They also enable businesses to collect data on user behavior to improve products and services. However, concerns related to data privacy and security have led to a decline in their use.
There are two types of cookies: first-party cookies and third-party cookies.
First-party cookies are created by the website itself to track the user and their behavior, and are still in use but more restricted in most browsers. For example, Safari deletes them seven days after the last time the user visited the website.
Third-party cookies, on the other hand, facilitate the transfer of information across websites and allow businesses to learn more about users who visit them. These cookies generate revenue for third parties, which in turn exchange data collected across the internet. However, due to privacy concerns and new regulations, third-party cookies are dying out faster than first-party cookies.
Connecting with customers can help businesses overcome the challenges posed by the demise of cookies and continue to deliver the personalized experiences that customers expect. For example, businesses can use customer data platforms to collect and unify customer data from multiple sources, including first-party data, to gain a better understanding of their customers and deliver personalized experiences across multiple channels.
Overcoming the Login Challenge
As we've explored the benefits of building connections with customers, it's clear why companies prioritize the login. One of the biggest challenges facing businesses today is the friction caused by the login process.
Customers are often hesitant to register or log in, as it requires them to enter personal information and remember yet another username and password. This friction is where OwnID comes in. OwnID is a secure and easy-to-use solution that eliminates the need for passwords.
OwnID allows customers to easily connect with one tap and no password. This means that the next time they return, they can easily log back into their account using their device unlock mechanism. It provides a frictionless, secure, and seamless solution to the login problem, making it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. By eliminating the need for passwords and streamlining the login process, OwnID helps businesses build relationships with their customers and increase their lifetime value.
The Value of Connected Customers
Connected customers are worth their weight in gold. By connecting with customers, businesses can create a personalized experience, build a relationship with them, and ultimately increase their lifetime value. So, the next time you're at McDonald's, your fitness center, or a hotel, take a moment to appreciate the power of being a connected customer!