Product Release

Braze Spring 2021 Product Launch: Customer Engagement in the Next Normal

Haley Trost By Haley Trost Apr 27, 2021

Every time the seasons change, there's a subtle feeling of surprise. Are the leaves always this color? Is the weather always this nice? As life starts to look "normal" at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are having a similar experience when revisiting once-familiar activities: Were live concerts always so crowded? Was visiting a bar with friends always so fun?

"Normal" isn't what it was a year ago. It's tempting to think you can resume the strategies that worked in 2019 and see the same success you once did, but the reality is more complicated. Marketers can't think about customer engagement in terms of the old normal and the new normal; you need to plan for the next normal if you want to keep pace with changing consumer expectations and behaviors. According to the Braze 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review, the next normal will see marketers increasing focus and spending on customer engagement. You’re seeking new ways to expand your reach across channels, and you're searching for proof that your tactics are moving the needle on business outcomes.

The new and updated features in the Braze Spring 2021 product launch are designed to help marketers meet the needs of the next normal. So let's explore how these features make it possible for you to deliver brilliant customer experiences seamlessly across channels and tangibly impact the bottom line.

Power Personalized eCommerce Campaigns with Shopify

Ecommerce brands have seen rapid customer growth in the past year, with sales growing 27.6% in 2020. Marketers need to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships with these new customers while also keeping up with shifting consumer behaviors.

  • Drive revenue and retention with the Braze platform’s new Shopify integration. Coming in Summer 2021, the integration enables you to grow your brand’s online business faster while building customer relationships that last. Brands using Braze and Shopify together can take advantage of real-time Shopify data to deliver more personalized cross-channel experiences through Braze. Real-time segmentation, campaign and Canvas triggers, and dynamic personalization empower you to successfully execute on strategies for acquiring, upselling, and winning back customers.

Make Better Decisions with Advanced Insights

New customer behaviors will continue to emerge in the coming months as we shift our thinking from the new normal to the next normal. Marketers must equip themselves with the right tools to uncover valuable insights and act on customer intent if you want to improve core metrics like retention, conversion, and revenue.

  • Identify future customers with Predictive Purchases. Drive conversions and increase customer lifetime value (LTV) by targeting the right people with the right message. Predictive Purchases help you uncover powerful insights about your customers to understand who is—and isn’t—likely to make a purchase. Use this information to differentiate discounts, promote relevant products, and engage customers based on their likelihood to make a purchase. Expect to see loyal customers make bigger, more frequent purchases, while casual browsers may be nudged into action with the right promotion.

  • Optimize customer journeys with Canvas data in Report Builder. Build customized reports to understand and compare customer journey performance directly within Report Builder. Learn how different customer journeys move the needle on key metrics like engagement, conversions, and revenue, then drill down into performance metrics by variant, step, and message. With the right insights at your fingertips, you can quickly make decisions about the next best step.

  • Refine SMS strategies with SMS keyword analytics. Last quarter, we introduced SMS custom keywords to encourage personalized SMS engagement between brands and their customers. You can now analyze keyword performance at a glance by tracking total inbound interactions with required (e.g. “opt-in,” “opt-out,” “help”) and custom (e.g "promo") keywords. See how many new subscribers are gained or lost, determine if customers need support, and continuously optimize SMS campaigns based on how users engage with campaign keywords.

Execute with Easy, Flexible Tools

Brands need to be able to evolve their customer engagement strategies just as quickly as customer behaviors shift. These new features prioritize simplicity and efficiency so that marketers can move at the speed of their customers.

  • Create personalized message paths in Canvas with Audience Paths. Braze Canvas continues to evolve each quarter with new options for creating engaging customer journeys. This latest Canvas step, Audience Paths, offers a new way to personalize and streamline customer journey paths. Add an Audience Path step to a Canvas to send customers down the most relevant path based on audience membership. You can even rank audiences in priority order to further fine-tune who goes where.
    • Extend your reach across paid channels using the Braze Audience Sync. Audience Sync to Google is the newest Braze Audience Sync step, following last year’s release of Audience Sync to Facebook. Add this step to a Canvas to dynamically sync first-party user data from Braze directly to Google for use across Search, Youtube, Gmail, and the Google Display Network. Use Audience Sync to Google for ad retargeting when owned channels aren’t working, ad suppression when you need to save on ad spend, and lookalike modeling when you want your acquisition efforts to be more efficient.

    • Design emails quickly and efficiently with our Drag-and-Drop Email Editor. No HTML experience? No problem! Creating beautiful and engaging emails in Braze is now as simple as dragging and dropping content within our Email Editor. Collaborate on email design with the rest of your team using integrated features like Content Blocks.

    • Easily retarget users with Email Link Aliasing. Get even more precise with messaging by seeing which specific links customers click in an email and using these insights to retarget users in future campaigns.

    Final Thoughts

    There’s a feeling of optimism and opportunity in the air as this season ends and a new one begins. We’re all eager for the next normal to arrive, and when it does, marketers that have embraced a forward-thinking customer engagement strategy will be well-positioned to make the most of it.

    Start identifying opportunities for change today by reading the 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review. In the review, you’ll discover the best-in-class tactics leading brands like NBA, Grubhub, Headspace, Payomatic, and GOAT use to drive stronger LTV, retention, and revenue.

    Haley Trost

    Haley Trost

    Haley Trost is a Product Marketing Manager at Braze and a new New Yorker. She spends her weekdays creating new Canvas content and her weekends hiking, skiing, and mastering the Sunday crossword.

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