In a recent case study (MassMutual’s Customer-Led Marketing Revamp) by Direct Marketing News, the VP of consumer experience marketing at MassMutual Retirement Services, Kris Gates, said “The only thing that you can do to differentiate yourself with now is service and experience.” Although she was speaking in the context of retirement planning, I believe her words hold true for all other industries, especially when it comes to retailers.
A couple of years back there was a polo I wanted to buy. When I researched it online, I found that the price for this polo remained the same at Nordstrom, Saks and Burberry. Because price was not a factor, I had to decide where I was going to make this purchase. Typically, I would purchase at Nordstrom due to their customer service and great shopping experiences I have had in the past. But, because I was in Chicago and had the opportunity to visit the Burberry store, that is where I made my purchase; the great service Nordstrom always gave me was outweighed by the lure of the big city shopping experience. This got me thinking about ways that retailers can use their data to encourage loyalty and offer a positive shopping experience, while maintaining a high level of service.
Here are my top three tips on how to collect, leverage and use your data to offer the best shopping experience:
1. Know your customer – Regardless of how your customer comes to you (i.e. mobile device, iPad, visiting a retail location, etc.) they have information to give you. If they are buying a pair of jeans in your store they are giving you their preferences, such as color, style, waist/length size, texture, amount they have spent, brand affinity and if they responded to a promotion. Without a way to capture this information and quickly append the data to their profile, you may be losing valuable information that you could use to better know them.
2. Monitor Behavior – Observe closely how your customers are interacting with your brand. When do they open your emails? What links/images do they click on? Do they redeem your coupon codes only near the holidays or do they respond better to free shipping advertisements? Do they prefer to shop in-store or online? By learning the moves your customers are prone to make, you can create extremely personalized messaging tailored not only to their needs, but their behavior which you can connect back to their profile.
3. Reward them for Loyalty – Show your customers that you care based on their shopping behavior. Although the relationship you have may only be virtual, show them you appreciate them by creating a loyalty program flexible enough to accommodate what interests them most. In my experience, I find the best loyalty programs are simple, upfront, consistent and relevant. When I go to Starbucks, for example, I know that I get one free drink after twelve paid drinks. Furthermore, this offers a unique identifier to know your consumer regardless of their channel preferences.
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