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  • Can One Email Build Loyalty? #MYWESTELM

    Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series about retail CX during the holiday season. See the other posts in the series here and here.

    For retailers, the holiday season is make or break. As brands try to use their strengths to differentiate themselves in the crowded market space, winners and losers emerge. Today, we’re talking about one of the winners.

    As consumers, we are inundated by emails offering, countless deals, and discount codes during the holiday season. Few stand out.
    And even fewer integrate those emails into a sales campaign that builds long-term customer relationships and brand loyalty. But this Thanksgiving, West Elm did exactly that for me. And it occurred at the least likely touch-point of my CX journey.

    Make Social Connections Personal

    Last year, I wrote about the effect of social media on customer experience:

    “Social media is a collaborative space for the customer to engage with brands on products design and usability. Customers discuss product specifications and, in some cases, build their own products…Regardless of brand strategy, today’s engineers and designers must tune in to social media and allow the customer to co-create products and services.”

    My experience with West Elm shows that the company embraces this idea of using social tools to build customer engagement. Even more, the brand is maximizing those tools to create lasting loyalty.

    Create a Bond with Your Customer

    What the email makes clear is that West Elm understands the importance of brand management and relationship building in marketing and customer experience. The “Thank you” email I received does exactly that! Though the channel is not social media expressly, the content is personal. It evokes emotion.

    In the email, West Elm invites me to co-create my space with them and to share my fashion statement! Even the subject line – “From our home to yours, thanks for your purchase!” – shortens the distance between customer and brand.

    It removes the impersonal corporate image from the brand identity. Big, faceless corporations do not have homes.

    cx loyalty

    Invite the Customer In

    West Elm’s email campaign is a candid invitation to create a long-term relationship. This is exemplary management of the post-purchase journey touch-point.

    For years, this level of management has been non-existent. At best, it tends to come in the form of an email confirmation that purchased items have been delivered.

    But West Elm is getting personal.

    By getting personal, the brand is inviting the customer to start a conversation. By co-creating personal spaces and enabling customers to express their personal brands, West Elm makes the relationship even stronger.

    Beyond that, the company is transparent about encouraging the customer to read and participate in the brand story. This is important to remember. The brand itself has a story to share.

    Does your brand have a story?

    Are you sharing your brand story with your customers? If you are, you are taking a necessary step to build customer loyalty. On the other hand, if you are not, take note.

    If you want to build real relationships with your customers, get personal and create connections. It pays off in the long run. By getting to know each customer and his/her home decoration style, West Elm transformed the daunting chore of buying furniture to an intimate act of self expression.

    In so doing, the brand placed itself right in the middle of this personal moment to become part of each customer’s personal story. There is nothing more lasting than that.

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