Industries across the world have seen rapid digitalisation and have had to adapt to shifting consumer behaviours and preferences. The retail sector is a key example which had to rethink its customer engagement strategy during the rise of online shopping in the early 2000s. To efficiently deliver products across multiple channels, they developed ‘omnichannel’ retail – a seamless online and offline experience.

Today retailers that embraced this approach have flourished. New technology gives them more insight into customers, since they can track customer interactions across each touchpoint, enabling personalised marketing, efficient customer service and a cohesive shopping experiences.

This article will discuss what the retail sector can teach financial services (FS) (i.e. investment advisors, wealth management and asset management firms) how to effectively blend in-person and online engagement.

Creating a fulfilling experience that communicates value to customers

Whilst the retail sector has significantly transformed, it has created experiences that communicate value to customers – something that financial services can also learn from. Additional to blending online and offline interactions, brands need to leverage the strengths of each domain to enhance the overall customer/client experience.

Take the innovative retailer, AO, for example. It transformed delivery services from a literal product drop-off to a more personalised experience, demonstrating how online insights can enrich in-person interactions. Delivery personnel can now use data on customer preferences for offering tailored recommendations or special touches that elevate the overall brand experience.

QR codes in physical locations are another successful example that use immersive online content to help simulate in-person interactions, whilst apps provide a bridge between the digital and physical realms. If FS brands implement similar technologies, then they could also create a fulfilling interconnected journey for their clients and customers.

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Gaining more insights into your customers

Retail teaches us how valuable data-driven insights are for gaining a deeper understanding of customer behaviour and how to boost their engagement. Similarly, FS firms can utilise analytics, AI-driven technologies, and harness the abundance of data to create more personalised services, anticipate client needs, and deliver targeted recommendations. Data-driven personalisation can also enhance the overall customer experience and ultimately lead to deeper relationships with clients.

Integrating valuable information and insights into online environments (i.e. educational events, webinars, podcasts or videos) can also build a stronger sense of belonging, comradery, and community among clients. Companies that also find a shared purpose with connections and potential investors will benefit in the long term.

Adapting to the retail sector’s evolving consumer behaviours highlights why companies must be innovative in the current dynamic market landscape is crucial. To stay competitive, you should experiment with new technologies and business models, especially when it comes to offering digital hospitality – a seamless digital experience that is on-brand, personalised, frictionless and engaging.

Just like face-to-face experiences, meetings need to be just as good digitally. For example, holding seminars for investors to share expertise, should be held digitally where you can dial into live and have recordings made available for anyone who can’t attend.

Hosting meetings on the standard video conferencing apps is no longer good enough, but there are now ways to create white-glove online experiences online that allow you to keep clients and potential clients engaged and see how they are interacting with your content.

Creating an engaging experience

As customer engagement in retail continues to evolve in an era of rapid change and unprecedented uncertainty, FS can learn how to successfully enhance their own strategies. That way, they can prioritise branded experiences, leverage data-driven insights, cultivate a strong community, and create a white-glove experience whilst also building more meaningful relationships with their clients.

Matt Ryan is Chief Transformation Officer at Reef, Powered by Totem.