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5 Ideas for Connecting In-Store Data to Your Marketing Automation Platform

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by: Todd McCormick (@TMcCormick2011)
27 October 2015

Digital shoppers gives marketers plenty of data to work with. By using the right tools in your marketing automation platform, you can merge behavioral data from multiple marketing channels with ecommerce data, giving you a complete overview of each customer's unique buying journey. You know what engages them, what they're interested in buying and which items they ultimately purchase. These insights help you personalize marketing for individuals, drive higher conversions and evaluate campaign effectiveness.

The challenge: Many consumers still buy in stores, where point-of-sale data is often anonymous. This leaves a huge blind spot in the customer journey.

In a recent blog post, "What Marketing and Sales Alignment Means for B2C Companies," I explain why it's important to align marketing and sales strategies. But to effectively do that, retailers must also find creative ways to align marketing and sales data.

The Price of Anonymity

Mobile has forever changed the way people shop. In fact, 42 percent of mobile users say these devices are the most important resource in their buying process, according to a 2014 xAd/Telmetrics study that includes Nielsen data on more than 6,000 U.S. smartphone and tablet users. However, only one-third of these shoppers complete the entire buying journey online. Fifty-two percent visit a physical store, and 64 percent ultimately make their purchases offline.

This creates two challenges for digital marketers:

  1. Unless you can assign purchase data to individuals, you can't evaluate how effective your marketing tactics are with those shoppers. You have engagement metrics that show whether you've piqued their interest, but no conversion metrics.
  2. Knowing what people buy can help you deliver relevant content and personalized offers. Without this information, you're less likely to engage customers and more likely to make unfortunate marketing mishaps, like sending email promotions for items they've already purchased.

So, how do you get in-store sales data into your marketing automation platform? One strategy is to encourage and incentivize brick-and-mortar customers to identify themselves.

5 Ways to Put a Name with the Face

Different data-collection methods work better for different types of businesses, but here are some ideas for inspiration, bearing in mind that they will require varying degrees of system integration:

1) Start a Loyalty Program

Store rewards programs don't just drive foot traffic, they also make it easy to identify shoppers. Loyalty program members are also often more likely to engage with your marketing. For example, Moosejaw Mountaineering found that its rewards program members have 125 percent higher open rates and 168 percent higher click rates than nonmembers.

2) Ask Shoppers for Their Email Addresses

Train your sales associates to collect this data at checkout. People are more likely to share their email addresses if you give them a good reason, such as a weekly contest or giveaway.

3) Offer to Email Electronic Receipts

This saves paper, keeps customers from cluttering their wallets and gives you a key piece of data for linking sales data back to customer profiles.

4) Send Mobile Coupons

Embed unique customer codes on any mobile coupons you send to your database. This makes it easy to tie purchase data back to individual users.

5) Incentivize Customer Surveys

Offer store discounts or valuable content to customers who take a brief online survey and enter their receipt numbers. Be sure to offer something worthwhile in return and to optimize the survey for mobile.

These are just some of the possible ways to capture sales data for marketing. The key is to start thinking creatively about the challenge and find the best approach to connect with your in-store customers.

Want to learn more about enhancing your marketing automation efforts? Download our new white paper, "Marketing Automation Ebook: Best Practices Guide."

Related Resources:

1) Tip Sheet: “5 Challenges to Building a Loyalty Program – and How to Overcome Them

2) Infographic: “Building the Optimal Transactional Email

3) Ebook: “31 Tips for Building Your Database


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