Powering Loyalty With Your Customer Engagement Strategy: 3 Tips from JCPenney

Ariane Sedghi
Ariane Sedghi
Senior Product Marketing Manager

For large retail brands housing multiple product categories and numerous customer segments, customer loyalty is not defined solely by a stellar loyalty program. True loyalty ultimately relies on a holistic customer engagement strategy that demonstrates value across all touchpoints throughout a customer’s journey.

Acquiring new customers is up to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. In contrast, existing customers are 50% more likely, on average, to purchase new products compared to new customers. (Learn more by downloading our guide: How to Save Money & Retain Customers With Your CX Strategy.)

Designing the optimal customer journey requires a deep understanding of how customers interact with a brand and where they get value. Especially since a loyal customer’s purchasing habits go beyond that of the typical buyer: they buy more frequently, make larger purchases, purchase products in new categories and even become brand advocates.

In our recent webinar — How JCPenney is Building a Better Customer Experience to Drive Loyalty — we spoke to Roger Worak, Vice President of Customer Engagement & Insights at JCPenney, about the brand’s philosophy when it comes to driving lasting customer loyalty and leverage ActionIQ to fuel both acquisition and retention strategies. Here are the top three takeaways from that discussion.

Acquiring new customers is up to 25X more expensive than customer retention. And existing customers are 50% more likely to buy compared to new customers.
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Powering Loyalty With Your Customer Engagement Strategy: 3 Tips from JCPenney

Create a Full View of the Customer

The best customer experiences are built on a comprehensive audience view, otherwise known as a customer 360. Unified customer profiles are the foundation of everything that follows, including audience segmentation, journey orchestration and real-time experiences.

According to Worak, “audience- and customer-centricity are of paramount importance in the retail space. This means having a consistent message across multiple touchpoints within a customer’s lifecycle at the right time, whether they’re a new or old customer, and then also being able to ensure that that’s sustainable throughout your company’s lifecycle.”

The instrumental first step for JCPenney in order to achieve this was centralizing their data.

“We began our CX transformation by centralizing our customer data across all internal and external channels to get a full view of the customer to outline the most suitable journey for each new customer,” said Worak.

With over nine divisions, JCPenney needed the right solutions to enable this hefty initiative and strengthen its customer engagement strategy.

“We work with a lot of different partners and vendors and ActionIQ really knows how to centralize and tap into data and also understands JCPenney’s specific needs,” said Worak.

Lean Into First-party Data Strategies

First-party data is the ultimate key to agility — particularly with the death of third-party cookies — and is ultimately what enables marketers to unlock insights around their best customers to inform a powerful acquisition strategy.

“Customer loyalty and engagement is all about first-party data,” said Worak, “You start with the customer, and then use modeling to find similarities and derive valuable insights to understand what customers need and what can help them purchase products across multiple categories — to retain customers and drive up engagement. In other words, how do we find the adventure that’s best for that particular customer, and then identify lookalike audiences and apply that knowledge to them.”

First-party data allows visibility into the behaviors and attributes of a brand’s most engaged customer base.

“We strive to understand what drives our customers, how JCPenney resonates with them and how our products add value to their lives,” continued Worak, “[we] then apply those insights to acquiring new customers.”

Operationalize Your Marketing Team

While innovative products and low prices may grab consumer attention, more and more brands are realizing that personalization and the customer experience is the ultimate differentiator.

In fact, 58% of consumers say that when a retailer recommends options based on past purchases, they are more likely to buy.

We know exceptional CX happens when data is put into motion — and collecting that data is only half the battle. It’s important for brands to be able to zero in on different audience segments to ensure they reach them with the right messaging in the right channel at the right time as part of a robust customer engagement strategy.

“Working with ActionIQ, we were able to centralize all our customer data very quickly, and then operationalize our marketing team so they could see that data and activate it,” said Worak.

Enabling marketers with the right tools to independently create audiences and activations across all brand touchpoints is the key to optimizing organizational resources — ultimately allowing technical teams to regain control of where data lives and how it’s used.

With ActionIQ, enterprises have the ability to connect their first-party customer data and leverage an easy-to-use interface for business users to access customer insights and enable CX orchestration across channels. This is critical for brands like JCPenney that manage numerous product categories and different types of shoppers.

58% of consumers say that when a retailer recommends options based on past purchases, they are more likely to buy.
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Learn More About Executing a Customer Engagement Strategy

Download our 2022 Holiday Readiness Guide to learn how ActionIQ’s CX Hub can help you double down on first-party data to deliver superior customer experiences as a retailer during the most valuable time of year and beyond.

Ariane Sedghi
Ariane Sedghi
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Ariane is a dynamic product marketer supporting enterprise businesses in delivering authentic customer experiences. She drives impactful customer programs and thought leadership across ActionIQ’s expansive client base — educating the market on the value of ActionIQ that has powered growth for brands including The Washington Post, Michael Kors, Docusign, Conde Nast, Hertz and more. Find her on LinkedIn.

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