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Turning an e-commerce fling into a long-term relationship with personalised print

Canon spokesperson, Tunca Rodoplu, Senior Marketing Manager, B2B.

Swipe left, swipe right. Just like dating apps, consumers now have so much choice online, it's easy to click or ‘swipe’ brand promotions away. Once a dater has decided who they 'like', they then meet in real life to confirm that decision by getting to know the other person more, exploring more emotional and physical connections. And brands need to apply this same thinking when it comes to fostering customer relationships offline.

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.(1) When we buy online, it’s transactional – a small ‘fling’. 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 touch points, 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.(2) Brands must captivate the customer’s sustained interest and turn a single interaction into a meaningful relationship.

And 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 PSP, 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 aphrodisiac that turns a one-time fling into a loyal brand lover.

(1) Source: E-commerce Europe – 2021 European e-commerce report – 2021

(2) Source: Keypoint Intelligence – Vertical Industry Views from a Socially Distanced Perch – 2020 

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