Customer engagement is the depth of the relationship between customer and brand, describing a connection between the two that can encourage awareness and brand loyalty. In an increasingly competitive business environment, improving customer engagement can become the defining characteristic of a successful retail or hospitality company.
One study found that a fully engaged customer is 23% more profitable to a company than the average customer. Broken down by industry the impact is even greater – for example, hotel guests that are fully engaged spend 46% more than those that are disengaged. 
Why Engage Existing Customers Instead of Gaining New Ones?
Improving relationships with existing customers is often a lower-priority metric than acquiring new customers. Traditionally, companies have focused their marketing efforts on expanding reach and awareness of a brand using new customers as a key metric, overlooking the value of investing in improving the engagement of existing customers as a measure of success.
However, today’s businesses are learning more about the value of retaining existing customers, and how improving relationships with those customers can drive tangible results.
For example, one study found that focusing on customer retention can increase enterprise revenue by up to 80% over an 18–24 month period, reduce customer acquisition costs by more than 30%, and increase total customer numbers by 1.5 times. 
The Harvard Business Review  noted that acquiring a new customer can cost anywhere from 5–25 times more than keeping an existing one, depending on which study is referenced.
Further, loyal customers are five times more likely to repurchase, four times more likely to refer, and seven times more likely to try a new offering from their favorite brand. 
How Can You Drive Customer Engagement?
Personalization - One of the best methods of improving customer engagement metrics is by creating a personalized experience. Personalization is the most exciting opportunity for marketers across industries, with 36% of companies and 40% of agency respondents saying real-time personalization is important (although 61% find it a challenge to execute). 
The emphasis on providing a personalized experience has increased in part because it generates results: 88% of U.S. marketers reported seeing measurable improvements due to personalized marketing efforts, and more than half of those experienced a lift of over 10%. 
Personalization also meets the expectations of an increasingly sophisticated audience, as 51% of consumers expect a company to anticipate needs and make relevant suggestions , while 78.6% said they are only likely to engage with a brand and activate a coupon or offer if the promotion is directly tied to previous brand interactions. 
Exclusive Offers - Exclusive offers rely on the scarcity principle to pique a customer’s interest, while tapping into the positive effects of belonging and feeling important, to reinforce positive brand experiences. For example, a discount available only to VIP members underlines the fact that the individual belongs to the VIP group while boosting the importance of belonging to that group with special savings just for them.
In a study by Kelton , customers said that 94% of them would take advantage of an exclusive offer and that the offer would make them feel:
- Excited (47%)
- Special (36%)
- Honored (34%)
Further, the Kelton study found that 82% of Americans would shop a brand more frequently if they were included in a special offer.
Which customer engagement tools should retail and hospitality brands consider?
- POS integrations that keeps track of customer purchase behavior and motivates them to come back and increase spend with automated personalized incentives.
- Targeting tools to distribute offers to customers based on many factors: purchase frequency, geographical location, and loyalty program membership; or store-related factors that may include moving overstock, or driving foot traffic during a slow time of day.
- Business intelligence and data analytics that can gather granular and accumulated data from a variety of sources, and use that data for actionable insights to apply to strategic business objectives.
- A variety of integrated channels for communicating with customers, including email, text, mobile app, web (via a dedicated portal) and in-store communications (via POS) to reinforce the relationship between customer and brand in an omnichannel experience.
- Como Sense helps your business generate growth with a set of data-driven customer engagement tools that do all of this, and more.
Improving customer engagement can have a positive effect on an enterprise: from increasing retention and referrals to developing brand awareness and reach, as well as growing sales, revenues, and the ROI and impact of marketing efforts.
Como Sense, the most innovative customer engagement toolset on the market, already integrates with 80+ POS systems worldwide. Start gathering actionable customer insights to help you bring them back while increasing their spend.
Contact Como to find out more about data-driven campaigns and loyalty activities that can help your business grow.
5. https://wwwimages2.adobe.com/content/dam/acom/au/landing/DT18/Econsultancy-2018-Digital-Trends.pdf - Pages 31, 33
Posted by Lina Hanin
Lina is in charge of Como’s product strategy and roadmap. She has more than a decade of experience in product management, as well as a vast understanding of international retail businesses. Most recently, Lina served as a Senior Product Manager at the retail division of NCR, a global leader in high-tech solutions for retail transactions.