Know your customers, wherever they are

Know your customers, wherever they are

Jane wants to buy a TV and starts her shopping process with a Google search. She finds a user review site for electronics, clicks on a banner ad, reads about the product details and decides to go into the store to see the model. She speaks with a sales associate and posts a picture of the TV on Facebook to get feedback from her friends. She also uses her smartphone to do a quick price comparison, and scans the TV’s quick response code to get additional information.

Welcome to problem number one for retailers: a company knows that potential customers can interact with it across a lot of touchpoints, but it has no idea that all of those interactions could be with a single customer like Jane. And since each touchpoint yields a particular piece of data, this can quickly become a significant data management challenge.

Retailers are desperate to unlock this intelligence so they can make more personalised sales offers. Research shows that personalisation can deliver five to eight times the return on investment for marketing and lift sales 10% or more.

Here are four keys to tracking today’s multichannel customers.

1. Be systematic

Many companies assign their customers unique IDs but lack a systematic way of enriching these IDs to form an integrated view of their channel-surfing customers. A systematic approach requires you to identify and evaluate all of your customer touchpoints. Too many retailers miss out on valuable insights by stopping at either the data that’s at hand or the data that’s easily matched with a customer, such as purchases across multiple credit cards. When building your enriched customer views, start with priority customers or segments (big spenders, loyal spenders, future spenders and so on).

2. Focus on the important data

Even though the goal is to track all touchpoints, don’t worry about harnessing 100% of the data. Most companies already have plenty of customer data – what they don’t have is the ability to tie them all together to create a richer picture of their consumers. In our experience, the most fruitful insights come from combining transaction data (such as purchase amounts over time), browsing data (including mobile) and customer service data (such as returns by region). Focus on data that will help you achieve specific marketing goals. For example, if you need to build customer loyalty, concentrate on gathering data from post-purchase touchpoints like customer service logs or responses to up- or cross-sell emails.

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