Across all aspects of a retail organization, executives are focused on gaining more relevant insights into their customers. Customer insight has always been a high priority; however, in the past year the mining and availability of such insight has changed materially. First, through “Big Data” there is an availability of copious amounts of “interaction” data, sometimes where the customer has self-identified him/herself, and sometimes when they have not. Secondly, this complete transactional + interactional view is no longer just valuable for segmentation purposes, but will power our ability to speak with, vs. promote to our customers.
It’s no longer just about selecting and promoting to the most valuable customers, now it is about understanding the customer’s interactive preferences with your brand. Customers are moving seamlessly across their communities, sometimes being in store, sometimes mobile, and sometimes tethered to the brand through an addressable mobile device. Specialty retailers are pivoting rapidly to adopt connected CRM processes and capabilities to allow them to provide consistent dialogue with their customers across all of these communities, fostering trust with their brand.
The good news is that after decades of talking about marketing to “segments of one” and “mass personalization,” the technology has finally caught up with the promise. Interactive marketing platforms possess the capability to recognize and associate customer transactions and interactions, irrespective of the media through which they are touching your brand. Embedded, real-time analytics can predict the next product your customer will want to buy, the optimal cadence, and contact media preference, all personalized at the individual customer level. And marketing automation is capable of managing this interactive “listen & respond” dialogue.
Marketers now have available the tools and platforms to perpetuate a unique customer dialogue, where trust is established, thus driving increased order size, increased shopping visits, and increased loyalty, as measured through retention and engagement over time.
It’s an exciting time to be retail marketer. Interaction data and platforms to leverage this new view of the customer are on the cusp of delivering the long sought promise.