Pieter Pieters, Canon South Africa B2B Business Development Manager – B2B Pro Print and LFP, writes that in a digital age, brands need to think about choice when it comes to fostering customer relationships offline.
Just like most other purchases, consumers now have so much choice, be it online or a more conventional approach, and it’s easier than ever to click or ‘swipe’ brand promotions.
Accelerated by the pandemic, more and more consumers are shopping online and are inundated with the number of e-shops available. In 2020, 71% of the population bought from e-commerce retailers, up from 66% in 2019, and 64% in 2018 (E-commerce Europe – 2021 European e-commerce report – 2021). When we buy online, it’s transactional – a small commitment or connection. Our brand experience only comes alive at the point of interaction with the product. This is the moment when companies need to capitalise on customers’ attention, make them feel valued and nurture the relationship beyond a single purchase.
So, how can brands keep the buyer engaged beyond an individual purchase of a product? This is where creating a more ‘personal’ experience at the point of physically receiving and opening that item is key, through more targeted customer communication.
In the e-commerce era, it’s imperative to think about how to leverage all touchpoints, which could explain why a 2020 survey of businesses who ship products to customers found that 77% of companies producing packaged products are now focused on the unboxing experience (Keypoint Intelligence – Vertical Industry Views from a Socially Distanced Perch – 2020). Brands must captivate the customer’s sustained interest and turn a single interaction into a meaningful relationship.
This opportunity for targeted customer communication isn’t limited to big brands or e-commerce giants. Even small businesses mailing or delivering products to customers can maximise the engagement opportunity with thoughtful enclosures that build a more personal connection between producer and buyer. For example, Swiss company Wander, which distributes tea to catering companies, uses a cloud solution to produce individualised tea recommendation cards enclosed in their deliveries, depending on the season, location and past orders.
As a print service provider, the key to helping brands build a personalised customer approach is in your ability to be creative and to ask open questions. By being more consultative, looking beyond standard print marketing collateral and developing a full understanding of what they want to achieve with their customer communications, you have the potential to make more strategic recommendations to help them develop a long-term relationship with their targets. With great ideas, customer insights and excellence in execution, print could well be the magic marketing ‘secret’ tool.