Merkle introduces new customer experience products for contactless shoppers
Customer experience management company Merkle debuted two new products today at CES that are aimed at improving the contactless shopping experience, both in-store and on-delivery, as health and safety concerns persist with the ongoing pandemic. In an effort to make the shopping seamless, neither product requires shoppers to download a separate app.Scan & Know allows shoppers to get more information about a product in-store by scanning the product directly with their phones. Without downloading an app, the consumer can find out product details and pricing, order the product to be shipped, or add it to wish lists or wedding registries. The experience integrates with a retailer’s website, loyalty programs and customer profiles. It’s also compatible with ecommerce platforms, including Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce and Shopify.UnboxIt is a QR-code-enabled customer support product that gives customers instant access to instructions and related support content via a QR code located on the product’s packaging. Using this technology, retailers can update information instantly, giving customers the most current support about a product that was shipped to the home or picked up curbside.Both new products join Merkle’s ShopNXT suite of digital and customer experience solutions.Why we care. This tandem of products focused on experience can help retail marketers navigate two challenges. First, the pandemic is still unresolved, and behaviors like increased dependence on mobile and contactless shopping might likely continue even after a so-called return to normal.Secondly, although mobile devices are ubiquitous for shoppers, downloading an app remains a stumbling block for frictionless commerce. Retailers that can bring more of an “app-like” experience to a mobile browser, email or SMS avoid this barrier to speedy sales, effective customer service and, ultimately, loyalty and CLV.Read next: 2022 Predictions: Customer Experience & Digital ExperienceNew on MarTech About The Author Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.
Apple’s ATT Continues to Chomp Down on the Digital Ad Industry
3 Min Read “What we’ve been all about is putting the power with the user. We’re not making the decision, we’re just simply prompting them to be asked if they want to be tracked across apps or not. And, of course, many of them are deciding no,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said on CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’ segment last week. Apple’s privacy updates, which came into effect in April this year, gave users the option to opt out of app tracking on their phones and was one of the biggest headlines to hit the digital ad industry. Of course, we were quick to provide our take on it before its launch, and then forecasted doom and gloom for the tech giants in May. However, that was mere speculation – until earnings reports started trickling through and confirmed its true impact. Data Privacy is the Norm, Not the Exception. As CNBC revealed, the majority (62%) of iPhone users are opting out of app tracking. The results? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snap lost 12% of revenue in the third and fourth quarters (equivalent to $9.9B). Digiday reported that “Snap bore the brunt of those losses as a percentage due to its prevalence on smartphones, while Facebook lost the most in absolute terms because of the size of its mobile business.” Then, there were brands whose app downloads were a part of its bread and butter, like Peloton. Not only has the on-demand fitness brand come short of its annual revenue forecast (missing by as much as $1B), it’s market cap dropped by nearly 40%. Don’t expect mobile privacy policies to be scaled back anytime soon either. Brands may be forced to rethink their business model entirely. “If personal information is no longer the currency that people give for online content and services, something else must take its place,” the New York Times reported. “Media publishers, app makers and e-commerce shops are now exploring different paths to surviving a privacy-conscious internet…many are choosing to make people pay for what they get online by levying subscription fees and other charges instead of using their personal data.” Survival of the Fittest…or Survival of the Savviest Marketers? Peloton lowered its projection for subscribers and profit margins, to account for the higher customer acquisition costs resulting from Apple’s ATT, since paid social has taken the biggest hit out of them all. Similar brands will likely do the same. But, there are alternatives for advertisers to consider that aren’t beholden to these issues – and can actually result in better performance than you had imagined. For example, Adweek reported that “ATT had a minimal impact on The Trade Desk [since] much of the traffic it helps marketers bid on doesn’t cover in-app ads, which is where ATT hits the hardest.” Then, there’s Connected TV (CTV) advertising platforms like MNTN Performance TV, who have mitigated ATT’s impact, since it serves ads directly to Connected TVs and not mobile devices. It avoids all the issues associated with mobile app data tracking, and still delivers strong direct-response ad performance that advertisers are used to getting from paid social channels. It’s a direct hit on performance marketing and branding, served on a high-impact format (the biggest screen in the house) that brands should consider adding to their omnichannel digital strategy. While it’s not impossible for brands to side step data privacy, thinking outside of the box (and beyond the mobile phone and laptop) has its benefits that are built to last into the future. By looking to channels like Connected TV that aren’t beholden to mobile app data tracking, advertisers can still generate solid returns without missing a beat. Sign Up for the Connected TV Report Subscribe to the report Apple, Amazon, NBC and more use to get their CTV news.