The 3 golden rules of consumer engagement: essential steps to connected product success
In a recent study, 67% of consumers that engaged with connected products from a range of fashion and luxury brands, using the Certilogo Connector, claimed the experience improved their perception of the brand and considered it cooler than before.
Whatever the business objectives of a brand’s smart product strategy, consumer engagement is ultimately the most powerful factor that will determine success, and it should become a central objective of any strategy. But while applying a smart tag to a product may bestow immediately the product a ‘connected’ status, it certainly does not guarantee consumer engagement. If the consumer is unaware that the product is a connected product, doesn’t understand why or how they should interact with it, then the consumer simply will not engage with the product.
The most successful projects employ consumer-centric strategies built on three key ‘golden’ pillars which deliver them the greatest engagement with their consumers through their products. Successful brands focus on building an offer of meaningful experiences, leveraging multi-channel communication strategies to drive awareness of them amongst their consumers, and focusing on making the experiences ever faster and easier to use.
Insights harvested from managing over 500,000,000 connected products, have informed this simple approach to designing ‘smart product’ experiences. We have created this simple three-step process to help both those brands accelerate consumer engagement, and optimize a product’s ability to acquire, convert, retain and turn customers into advocates.
1. Relevance: Be Valuable
Even if the consumer is aware of a product's connected features, if they don’t find them of interest, they simply will not engage with the product.
This is why the first step to successfully creating connected product engagement is to consider which would be the most useful services, compelling experiences, and relevant information your brand can offer your consumers. Create a range of experiences that respond to both rational needs and also create an emotional connection and sense of belonging to the brand community.
Brands that have the best understanding of their consumers, and put the consumer's needs first and foremost are the ones that succeed in creating the most engagement.
When a consumer engages with a connected product, brands have the powerful insight to know who has shown interest, where they are, and which specific product the consumer they are interested in. Put this powerful insight to good use, to deliver the most specific and relevant information to the right person, at the right time and place. Think ‘granular’, and aim to deliver information right down to the product level, with different experiences specific to key milestones along their journey.
While authentication remains a significant motivation for engagement, 25% of consumers are expecting more. Warranty, repair, and resale services, richer product information, and matching products to complete a look topping their list of desires. The opportunities to create value for both brand and consumer are endless.
Products can themselves convince the consumer it is the right product for them, by bringing to life the story behind the product. If it doesn’t quite meet their needs, then the product could help them find a product that does. Connected products can assist their owners long after they have been bought, and even help with reselling or recycling once the time has come for the owner and product to part ways.
2. Visibility: Be Seen
So you have created an exciting and highly desirable experience. Great start! But if the consumer is not informed about it, then they are not going to connect with it.
Naturally, it is fundamental to ensure that smart tags are highly visible on the product, but communication must reach far wider than the product itself. Brands with the highest consumer engagement are those that communicate their smart product benefits across a broad range of communications channels. High-performing brands are achieving exceptional results, with up to 50% of consumers that engage with their connected products for the first time being already aware of the smart functionality.
Product hang tags, and other in-store communications tools should be used to inform and educate on why and how to engage with the product. But don’t limit consideration only to the retail environment. Best performing brands leverage a complete ecosystem of communications channels including brand websites, websites of wholesalers, social media, and brand newsletters. They are also customizing the message to focus on the most relevant reason for the consumer to engage with your products, depending on where the customer is in their pre or post-sale journey with the product.
Make the experience iconic, useful, and inspiring. Consider incorporating it as an integral part of the product design and product experience. Creating a unique experience that will set the brand apart and motivate consumers to share it with their social network, helping to further drive awareness and esteem for your brand.
3. Usability: Be Accessible
Congratulations, you have captured the consumer's attention and interest in an experience that they want to engage with. All that remains is for your experience to deliver on their expectations.
The top-performing Brands using the Certilogo platform are achieving an average 93% customer satisfaction rating for their connected product services. These brands all share the same dedication as Certilogo to making their consumer's experience as easy, fast, and reliable as possible.
Did you know that the average bounce rate for fashion websites is circa 47%? What this means is that for every 100 visitors, 47 will leave without exploring beyond the homepage. Of the 53 people that went on to explore the site, some will find a product that they are interested in, fewer still will make it to the checkout, and of those still remaining, only 1 or 2 will actually make a purchase. Up to 99% of people that started the experience, will not complete it.
Getting a person to engage with a connected product, does not mean they will complete the experience. The goal now is to ensure the greatest number of consumers complete the experience.
Focus on making the experience removing any friction, by making the user experience design as accessible as possible. Adopting web apps to enable immediate app-free activations from all smartphones, localization in multiple languages, and registration with social login to gather user data and allow for an even faster and personalized experience for returning consumers.
Apply special attention to understanding how people are using your experience and identify any factors that may cause them to abandon the experience along the way. Adopting a process of continuous ‘micro refinements’ will deliver compounding results that deliver significant increases in engagement and value-driven KPIs.
Make the experience magic-like and exceed their expectations and people will keep coming back and will tell others about the experience, which will increase brand awareness and value.