We live in a highly sophisticated technology era, where customer data is the key catalyst for increasing customer retention and satisfaction. However, even with highly personalized and relevant customer data, how can you guarantee that customers will buy your product? And how can you bridge the gap between online and offline interactions?
This month we’re excited to have Abdullah Daoud, vice president of technology for Silverpop partner Digital Bungalow, discuss ways to turn your customer data into an optimized customer experience.
In the past few years the major focus for online retailers was providing personalized experiences for users shopping for products online. Technology allows us track our customers’ site usage, analyze their purchasing habits and use this information to lavish our VIP customers (for example) with deals, coupons and special offers. And while this heavy focus within the online channel certainly pays off, brick-and-mortar stores still account for a healthy portion of overall spending. This is true not only for retail but also for travel, food and services.
In 2014 we’re seeing the focus shifting toward using the personalized data captured online to create an experience that translates to the physical world, offering a personalized experience online AND in-store. Through recent smartphone and location marketing technology advancements such as Apple’s iBeacon and NFC, merchants can identify when key influencers and VIP customers enter their store.
Building the bridge between online and offline helps retail brands better serve their customers and makes the cross-channel experience more valuable, personalized and enjoyable for customers. This in turn builds an even stronger loyalty in customers — something that all brands strive for.
Let’s take a movie theater as an example to illustrate how using online data to drive a superior “offline” experience might work. The movie theater has a comprehensive loyalty program that’s typically accessed and tracked online, giving it a solid database of information about an individual user like John Smith. Here are some ways the theater might interact with John personally based on the data:
- The theater knows that John is a “social influencer” online because it has incorporated data from a tool like Klout. When John walks into the theater he crosses a geofence, triggering a notification to a theater employee that someone with a Klout score above “X” has entered the theater. Employees should give him special, personalized treatment, as he’s the type of person who would be apt to share about this experience.
- Since John uses Facebook to sign into the loyalty program on a site (which also leverages a data-gathering tool called Gigya and Google’s Double Click) the theater can begin to build a profile on him with multiple inputs. From this data, it knows that he has a child and he likes to go to the movies. From the minute John and his son walk in the door they could be treated with a personalized experience like being greeted by name, being handed a flyer for an upcoming promotion for kids, and directed right into the movie.
- John goes into the bathroom and finds it dirty, then Tweets a comment and photo to his followers. The theater should be listening for this kind of feedback in real time and go into the bathroom to take care of the issue. A personalized push notification or a tweet could be sent back to John saying that the issue is resolved.
Do we have your wheels turning yet? There are many, many ways brands can use data to personalize an in-store experience; these ideas only scratch the surface.
Our major point? Merchants have a significant amount of data in their hands that they may not realize they have because it’s tied up in systems that don’t talk to each other. As we move toward using more open systems, the data will manifest itself in more useful ways. The world is shifting to using more and more of this data to create a unified, personalized experience for each customer.
So, how are you currently using data for your business? Have you thought of ways it can be used to create online and offline experiences for your customers? Share your thoughts and questions below.
Digital Bungalow’s goal is to make your digital goals achievable in the most effective, seamless way. You get best-in-class creative, marketing, development and analytics experts – all under one roof, and all working passionately to deliver amazing ongoing results – on time and on budget. For more information visit www.digitalbungalow.com.
1) Blog: “Location Marketing 2.0 Arrives: The Impact of iBeacon”
2) Video: “iBeacon and the Next Generation of Location-Based Marketing”
3) Blog: “5 Cross-Channel Use Cases for Universal Behaviors”