Eighty percent of consumers will likely turn to another company as a result of poor customer service. That’s why it’s imperative that brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers alike use data to deliver a top-notch customer experience with every interaction. Yet, many brands don’t capitalize on the information they collect, ending their data journey long before deriving meaningful insights.
Retailers don’t have to freeze at the sight of data, however. To hone in on the best customer experience strategy, they should allow the following analytics essentials to guide them.
Don’t Target, Follow the Customer Journey Breadcrumbs
Foot traffic patterns, web click throughs, RFID, and emotion recognition technology – all of these data “breadcrumbs” are valuable to retailers but only if they are put into the context of customers’ journeys. Instead of fixating on individual metrics, retailers should take a bird’s-eye view of customers’ decisions, considering not just data points but also sequences to understand what entices customers. Amazon offers a brilliant example of how to leverage data breadcrumbs. Using data from its website and app, the company develops and shares custom offers, similar products to consider and other prompts that ensure customers continue coming back.
Craft an Exciting Experience
Retailers shouldn’t let customers view the store as simply a transactional environment – instead, they should gamify the customer experience. Think of traditional loyalty programs as the “base level.” Added insights from analytics can help retailers decide what goals and rewards will excite customers and create new and unique experiences. Consider Gilt and its app, which entices customers with flash sales, then generates future offers based on shopping history. Originally threatened by Gilt’s expertise, Saks chose to acquire the company (and its data) to bridge the customer experience from online to in-store.
Don’t Let Your Data Go Stale
Did you know that IDC predicts that there will be 180 zettabytes of data by 2025 – up from 4.4 in 2013? While admittedly not all of that data is retail-related, it illustrates the immense amount of information business across industries are creating at a break-neck rate. All of this data has a shelf life, though. It’s important that analysis paralysis does not set in, otherwise when data is finally analyzed the resulting insights might be outdated. Trends evolve – particularly in the fast-paced retail industry – and today’s secret sauce for creating great experiences may miss the mark tomorrow.
While it’s essential to pinpoint what customers enjoy about their experience, retailers still must be careful not to make customers’ journeys too predictable. Every trip needs to be an exciting adventure that still delivers what the customer wants and analytics let retailers determine how to strike this balance.
With so much customer data available, retailers can stand out among the competition – but only if they know how to maximize their data’s potential. Using the above considerations, retail professionals can implement analytics into their strategy to create trend-setting customer experiences and ultimately weave a retail success story.
-Dr. Rado Kotorov, chief innovation officer of Information Builders