Emerging markets, in the currently vibrant business environment are considered to be a large platform for enhancing customer relationships. These markets are growing at an extremely fast pace and are of tremendous interest not only to business houses but also for the government. Study conducted by PwC in the year 2017 predicts that emerging markets will account for almost half of the Global GDP by 2030. The challenges these markets offer are significant for the business houses. The growth surge of smartphone users in India, paradigm shift in the consumers’ shopping pattern with the growth of digital communication channels, services market expanding to a new height as well as the Indian retail sector earning its own name in the global retail map proves that the companies offering these products and services in the emerging markets are reaping in good monetary returns. With such ignition and developments, consumers in the emerging markets are encountering diverse marketing experiences and involvements of varied degrees at each PoS. Practitioners and academicians are keen to understand the apt tactics. The consumers could also identify the differences in their marketing experiences over the last few years. The marketers are increasingly concentrating on innovating and enriching the customer experience so as to create a positive WoM and customer engagement with their brands.

Customer engagement is a strategy between a brand and its external patrons, i.e. consumers which helps brands craft relationship and build awareness and retain loyalty from their external patrons. It is communicated to the patrons through various available channels. Over the years, it has been observed in the emerging markets that brands are continuously making efforts to enrich the buying experiences through ‘out-of-the-box’ services at bank terminals, retail outlets, airport lounges, in-flight services, or even entertainment platforms to name a few. Companies are investing huge amounts to enrich customer experiences and enable the consumers to engage themselves with the brands across different sectors using both, offline and online channels.

In today’s extremely dynamic business milieu, firms are increasingly seeking customer engagement with their brands which plays an important role in the co-creation of customer experience and value. In emerging markets there is significantly more room for the brands to converse and shape consumer decisions at the moment of purchase. With the developments in the digital technology, business houses are turning towards digital channels in-order to improve sales and marketing efforts as a cost effective and wide-reaching medium to engage customers.

In the Indian retail sector, customer engagement is the final goal of every retailer be it in the ‘brick and mortar’ format or ‘an online platform.’ This involves delivering an extremely inimitable experience for their respective consumers enabling them to create a distinct position in the global retail map. With the rise of media proliferation retailers need to connect with customers across channels while keeping an eye on value, brand consistency and the overall customer experience. Business houses are increasingly adopting engaging marketing communication leveraging the social media platform and also through interactive ‘Out of Home’ media or self-operating kiosks. Moreover, these platforms also provide an easy access to obtain the ‘Voice of Customers’ enabling them to collect meaningful customer insights. With the shift of WoM towards ‘Click of the Mouse (CoM) consumers too spontaneously interact on such digital platforms. Further it has been witnessed that marketers, in order to retain consumers and maintain their engagement, strictly stick to deliver consistent product/service quality across physical outlets as well as online channels. And to ensure consistency, it is vital to have an employee-friendly organization

Dr Joyeeta Chatterjee

NLDIMSR | Professor & HoD Marketing

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