The other day my wife was describing an after-hours event a local boutique was hosting – a trunk show with a visiting designer. She’d heard about the event through an email from the store, but when she arrived, instead of a mass of every shopper that had ever set foot in the store, it was an intimate group of VIPs in attendance. The boutique had communicated with its clientele who were not only loyal, but who’d indicated they’d like to be invited to such exclusive events. That clientele self-selected by stating their preferences online about experiences they’d like to have offline.
We’ve worked with companies that unrolled preference management techniques one at a time, and indeed, that’s what we recommend: initially offering opt-downs, then installing a website preference centers and eventually expanding with a limited-scope starter program. This step-by-step approach guides your company to successful preference management and ensures your customers have the ability to maintain and change their preferences and interests throughout their customer journey.
But to take a wider view, the companies who begin to see success with preference management don’t immediately see all its vast potential. Just 23 percent of worldwide marketers surveyed by Econsultancy were personalizing offline channels (compared to 88 percent who personalized emails and 44 percent to websites), yet 95 percent of those who implemented personalization via offline channels had seen an uplift in conversion rates.
Have you thought about how far preference management can go? When consumers are given the option to personalize their communications through preference management – the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication – they’re primed to continue sharing the ways in which they want their customer experience personalized, and that includes offline experiences too.
No longer are preferences just about what email to receive and when, but whether your customer wants to have a personal shopper session or if later in-store hours would suit them. Going from multi-channel to omni-channel, stated preferences are the key to tailoring seamless experiences from online to offline. A customer journey might begin with an opt-down on mobile, followed by an opt-in on email and then a conversion in-store thanks to meeting, and eventually exceeding, her expectations at every touchpoint.