Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We are transitioning to a post-pixel world.
Known to some as the cookie apocalypse, this shift has presented the opportunity to drastically change the way organizations operate, especially as direct-to-consumer brands.
After all, D2C companies rely on individuals for sales. In the absence of cookies, which gain valuable insights on intended consumers, how will you develop a go-to-market strategy?
Here are three things successful subscription and ecommerce companies are doing to come out on top in a post-pixel world.
Related: The Cookie is Actually Crumbling in Advertising: Here’s What to Know in B2B v. B2C
Come up with creative ways to gain data
The cookie apocalypse is a serious dilemma for brands. After all, they’re running ad campaigns on social media and they have no idea what their actual conversion numbers are.
To solve this problem, return to old-school tactics. Develop survey questions to ask your customers post-purchase. After they check out, seek information on how they heard about your organization and why they chose that particular product.
Don’t underestimate the power of first-party data. Look for ways to incorporate profile questions from the initial point of contact with the customer through the check-out process. That will arm you with the tools you need to dive deep into your consumer and their path to purchase.
The more you can absorb about your consumer, the better you’ll be able to understand and target them for future campaigns.
Related: Growth Hacking with Customer Feedback
Stop relying on email
Understanding your customer’s preferences begins with finding creative ways to reach them. Now is the time for ecommerce and subscription-based companies to focus on more than email. SMS and text messaging marketing campaigns have far better reach and are a more impactful way of communicating with your audience.
Research has found that SMS open rates can be as high as 98%, compared to a standard 20% for emails. So, make text messaging a primary target for communicating with your audience. But, be strategic about it and hone your message so the open is worth it.
Another tried-and-true — and ever-evolving — tactic is social media. Social media allows you to grow an audience organically in a way you could never do before. Utilize social media to showcase your expertise, knowledge and the “why” behind what you do.
Remember: The goal is to build connections. Focus on something more than the products you sell. Share your “why”, the story of your brand and tips and tricks in your chosen field.
Return to the customer experience
There’s never been more competition in the market. That’s even without taking into account the impact of Amazon.com on consumer trends and spending.
So many consumer brands are pivoting toward a subscription model because it prioritizes the customer relationship. Amazon can’t build a relationship with a customer because it sells millions of products. But consumer brands have the opportunity to build an experience, focused on interaction and engagement that connects to their clients.
To start, review your customer service model. Make sure you have an immaculate customer experience that a consumer can’t get anywhere else. Then, think about the types of content you curate for your customer. What is of value to them? What specials can you offer?
Continue to prioritize the relationship above all else. Know how much it costs to acquire a customer and how much each customer is worth. Dive deep into the quality of your subscribers and focus on retention tactics to keep them loyal.
Social media has opened up a world of possibilities. Pay attention not just to your own customer experience, but also the customer experience of others. Look at brands you admire and how they present themselves on social media. What are they saying? How are they replying to their consumer base? Taking this approach can help influence your customer experience and pay big dividends in the long run.
Subscription-based models allow regular interaction with your customers, understand their preferences and communicate with them in a unique and meaningful way. When you build that type of loyalty and trust (which doesn’t come from a one-off transaction), you’ll make a fan for life.
Related: The ‘Amazon Effect’: How Ecommerce will Change
How to execute in a post-pixel world
The news about cookies signals a substantial shift in the way many organizations go to market. But it doesn’t have to change the larger principles of how you do business.
Start at the foundation, identifying your goals and vision for your company. Employ people who have the same passion as you do. You can only execute a phenomenal customer relationship if the people behind the scenes are happy. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?
Finally, make sure you build a plan you can execute on. Ideas are cheap, but execution is everything. Stay focused on your goals and have regular check-ins to ensure progress.
In the end, the very best ecommerce and subscription-based brands will keep the customer relationship at the center of what they do. This will allow them to pivot regardless of when the next technology overhaul comes around.