In the eCommerce marketing space, consent is everything. Now that POPIA is in full place as of 1 July 2021, online retailers will need to put more emphasis on consent-based marketing than ever before. This Act applies to how all customer information is collected, stored, managed, and used. Although it will affect every business across South Africa, it will play an especially big role within the eCommerce space. Penalties for non-compliance are serious, with fines of up to R10 million and even jail time in some instances.
But consent-driven eCommerce marketing is not only about compliance. It is also about providing customers with a better experience when shopping at your store. The better experience you can provide your customers, the more likely they are to become repeat shoppers.
Keep reading to find out how consent helps to improve the customer experience.
How Opt-In eCommerce Marketing Improves the Customer Experience
A wide variety of data is collected by companies of all industries and sizes. In some cases, this data is very minimal, with only the most basic of information required by customers. In the case of online and physical retail stores, a lot more data is required. This includes extremely sensitive information needed for billing purposes. Although the majority of eCommerce stores use payment gateways that protect financial information such as credit card details, others may require financial information in order for customers to manage their accounts. It is vital that this information is protected. On top of sensitive data, online stores require additional information for eCommerce marketing campaigns. To run campaigns, basic contact information is needed along with demographic information and other data.
This is where consent-based marketing becomes so essential. Customers today have high expectations of the stores they use and trust is often implicit. This means that customers expect stores to use their data in an ethical way. When they sign up for an account at your store, they expect to receive certain information. They may not expect to be spammed with endless emails and SMS however. What they want is a choice on what they would like to receive – newsletters, special offers, emails, SMS, or all types of communication. Consent-driven marketing gives your customers this choice. It also helps to provide a better level of experience from the moment customers are first introduced to your store. With this in mind, here's how consent affects the customer experience.
It gives customers control over messaging they want to receive
As we mentioned earlier, customers expect to receive some information when signing up for a store account. This could be confirmation emails or SMS, order updates, satisfaction surveys, thank you notes, or other information relating to their new account or their order. Customers may also expect messages reminding them of products still left in their carts or relevant offers that are not sent out constantly. What they do not expect is daily messages bombarding them with specials, new products unrelated to anything they have shown interest in, referral bonuses, and other constant messaging. Even receiving messages one or two times a week can get annoying.
Empowering customers by giving them control over what type of messages they want to receive is the best route for a better customer experience. This can be done by offering checkboxes on content that is relevant (newsletters, special offers, news, or any other applicable content sent via email or SMS).Allowing customers to choose their preferred channel for communication can empower them even further. Some customers prefer email. Others prefer SMS. When you give customers choice in what messages they receive and how they receive the messaging, you will greatly improve their experience.
It builds trust and reputation
Consent marketing and trust go hand in hand. If a customer makes a purchase at your store and then gets spammed with messages they do not want to receive, it is unlikely that they will want to return. If their information is added to a larger database used by your retail group and customers end up receiving email and SMS campaigns not only from your store but also from your sister stores, you will break trust instantly. Although trust takes time to build, setting a foundation for trust happens from the very first interaction customers have with your store. Simply having a statement saying that you take their privacy seriously is not enough. You need to make it extremely easy for customers to choose exactly what they want to receive. Trust and reputation are also closely linked. Showing customers that you are committed to transparent, permission-based marketing shows them that you care about them on a deeper level. They are not simply numbers in a spreadsheet or a lead in a database. They are people who want to have a choice in the campaigns they receive. Over time, this helps you build a reputation, providing an established customer experience rooted in trust and transparency.
Flexibility and convenience
Permission-based marketing helps to improve flexibility and convenience, too. Through a communications preference centre, you will have the chance to give customers more control over communication channels. In addition to empowering them, this also helps to make communication easier. Customers can choose channels that meet their needs. They can get the benefit of tools such as automated billing and statement delivery through their chosen channel. This takes away a lot of the time and effort spent on trying to pay bills or finding invoices.The easier it is for customers to take any type of action on your store, the better experience they will have when shopping, paying invoices, receiving statements, or taking advantage of campaigns. You want to remove barriers to purchase. This ensures a more streamlined experience from start to finish. Achieving a smooth, flawless customer experience will increase customer retention, reduce churn and provide a higher level of satisfaction.
Grapevine Interactive offers all the tools you need in a fully compliant omnichannel digital communications platform that improves the customer experience on a deeper level. Contact us today to learn more about our digital communications platform that simplifies your eCommerce marketing strategies.