Leverage Multichannel Engagement to Boost Customer Experience

Harriet McNaughton EMEA Marketing Manager Airship

A multichannel strategy has become essential for brands that prioritize customer experience. During a panel discussion at our Mobile Leaders Forum in London, challenges and strategies for maintaining a seamless multichannel approach that adapts to changing consumer behavior and drives greater engagement were discussed by leaders from three companies with billion-dollar plus revenues:

  • Sam Hopkinson, Group Head of Apps & Customer Loyalty, JD Sports
  • Dafydd Lewis, Marketing Technology – CRM & CX, Kindred Group
  • Lesley Kettle, Mobile App Marketing Lead, The Very Group 

Below, we share some of the key themes emerging from the discussion as well as important operational details on how each company: 

  • Encourages web customers to adopt the app
  • Gathers data and approaches personalization across multiple channels
  • Organizes internally and drives collaboration to improve customer experiences
  • Gains agility to more rapidly optimize customer journeys and manage the customer lifecycle spanning data strategy, experimentation and GenAI

Challenges in Maintaining a Seamless Multichannel Strategy

Kindred’s Dafydd Lewis emphasized that while Kindred focuses on transforming their approach as a leader in the entertainment and betting industry, leveraging each channel is crucial for delivering the right content to the right customer. Creating compelling content at key moments is their priority, but multichannel integration is becoming increasingly important.

Very’s Lesley Kettle highlighted that the company’s current challenge is managing siloed channels. As a leading online retailer, Very is working towards a unified strategy to prevent over-contacting customers and ensure communication happens through their preferred channels.

JD’s Sam Hopkinson discussed how siloed platforms and messages could damage engagement due to overwhelming communications across different channels. A sports-fashion retailer, JD launched a loyalty program focused on improving data across digital and in-store experiences to create seamless customer experiences.

Changing Consumer Behaviors Require Greater Investment in Mobile Customer Experience

The shift towards greater privacy awareness and end-user control over their data means that JD collects minimal initial information, opting for progressive profiling to gather more relevant data over time. This approach has positively impacted opt-in rates, as customers appreciate the contextual timing of data requests and subsequent personalized interactions. 

Lewis noted Kindred’s emphasis on technological transformation of all platforms to ensure a smooth and efficient customer experience.

Moving customers from web to app has proven highly valuable for Very, with in-app customers being 70% more valuable. Despite resource challenges, partnerships with brands like Lego, Disney and Barbie have helped drive this transition. Very’s focus remains on app engagement due to its superior ability to foster customer loyalty. 

Tips on Driving Customers from Web to App:

  • JD: Utilizes app-exclusive offers and orchestrates customer journeys to track and measure user conversions and value.
  • Very: Email and SMS campaigns are hugely successful in driving web customers to the app.
  • Kindred: Focuses efforts on email marketing to drive app adoption.

Customer Experiences Drive Active Engagement and Monetization

JD’s loyalty program is critical to understanding customer behavior both online and in-store. By integrating data from these touchpoints, JD can identify lapsed users and drive engagement through targeted communications.

With a substantial acquisition and CRM strategy, Very targets content based on customer behavior and status (e.g., active or lapsed). In-app initiatives, such as prize draws and targeted offers, have successfully retained and grown the customer base.

Giving customers compelling reasons to engage, combined with data-driven strategies, ensures high engagement and monetization for Kindred.

Measuring the Impact of Customer Experience 

JD focuses on maintaining their premium product positioning in a competitive market without pushing excessive discounts. Their loyalty scheme aims to present the right products to the right customers, driving engagement and conversion while proving the incremental value of moving customers from web to app.

By focusing on core fundamentals like frequency, coverage and activity, Kindred tracks the customer journey from acquisition to lifetime value. This macro-level analysis helps them maximize the impact of their initiatives over time.

To encourage more website visitors to download its app, Very utilizes A/B testing and sometimes monetary offers or prize draws featured in email and SMS campaigns — tracking the resulting impact on customer lifetime value.

Collaborating for Innovative Execution

The pace of innovation and evolution of customer expectations is so rapid that the question is, how should teams collaborate across the business to implement new ideas quickly and effectively?

For Very, prioritizing a single plan and key objectives across marketing teams helps streamline efforts to achieve business goals. Cross-team forums and a customer-centric approach, especially during peak shopping times like Black Friday, ensure that all teams are aligned and focused on common goals.

Collaborating with partners and a large team of marketers presents challenges for Kindred, but they noted that they maintain uniformity through coordinated efforts with Airship.

Product squads that span different departments help JD move forward quickly. Early involvement of partners like Airship and clear roadmap discussions ensure that updates and innovations are implemented efficiently. 

On Trend Marketing 

Looking ahead, the panelists shared their excitement and concerns regarding the future mobile marketing trends.

JD: The focus will be on first- and zero-party data, moving away from reliance on anonymous and third-party data.

Kindred: Generative AI presents both opportunities and challenges. With content becoming ubiquitous, creativity and compelling messaging will be key differentiators in a cookieless future.

Very: Innovative campaigns marry messaging and no-code experiences such as Scenes to ask customers about their interests and how they’d like to receive relevant offers. They take a cautious yet creative approach to data challenges, gathering customer data and ensuring it’s handled with care.

Changing the Game: No-Code, Low-Code

As Airship clients, all panelists embrace the flexibility of “no-code, low-code” solutions, which allow for instant idea implementation without requiring developer resources. JD sees this agility as a “game-changer,” while Kindred and Very appreciate no-code native experiences they can test and iterate quickly. 

By leveraging multichannel engagement strategies, leading brands like JD, Kindred and Very are enhancing customer experiences and driving more active engagement and monetization. Staying ahead with innovative solutions and collaborative efforts will be key to maintaining a competitive edge as consumer behaviors continue to evolve.

If you’d like to learn more about leveraging multichannel engagement to boost your customer experience, just get in touch