Data & Analytics: Gaining a Pulse on Today’s Spontaneous Shopper

4/8/2020

From online and mobile shopping to brick-and-mortar options, consumers have a bewildering amount of choices, and their buying habits are just as extensive. 

Customer loyalty is not what it used to be. Above all, today’s consumers are spontaneous and look not only at deals and offers, but their experiences within the stores. One survey showed that 68% of consumers would choose to shop at a store that offers personalized promotions and discounts vs. one that doesn’t. 

At the other end of the spectrum, a poll by CreditCards.com found that impulse purchases are high — almost 50% of shoppers, particularly online, are driven by deals and offers — whether discounts or free shipping.  

Given the level of spontaneity of consumers, and the overwhelming amount of choice, retailers need to capture the pulse of shoppers and stay ahead of consumers’ thinking. Data and analytics can be key to ensuring successful initiatives: Retailers need to both capture consumer shopping data, and make sense of it all.

Concurrently, retailers have to capture consumers’ interest to win their loyalty and develop and maintain an ongoing dialogue that keeps them coming back for more.

So how do you run retail programs and get these aligned and tied to a CRM system?  

Retailers need to embrace strong tech thinking and leadership, along with investment in new tools that are bringing data-driven innovation in products, services and education to the in-store experience. Solutions that blend a physical experience with a digital one allow retailers to optimize insights about shoppers and enable them to connect with shoppers in new ways that can drive purchase. 

A recent example comes from The Vitamin Shoppe, which has begun rolling out digital kiosks that add data analytics to customer sampling. These interactive kiosks feature a touch screen, video, surveys and quizzes that engage consumers and provide them with instant gratification in the form of a sample product in exchange for opt-in data. 

The retailer uses the kiosks to 1) drive the purchase of new products, 2) encourage customers to engage more with new wellness solutions, and 3) build relationships with its new prospects.

In grocery stores, and in particular with wellness solutions, it can be hard to obtain detailed information, so these kiosks deliver useful information to the shopper that can help demystify the offerings. This provides an opportunity for the retailer to create innovative, attention-grabbing experiences that guide customers toward new offerings and to better gauge how they can engage on a continual basis.

Solutions that blend a physical experience with a digital one allow retailers to optimize insights about shoppers and connect in new ways that can drive purchase. 

Unilever’s Magnum ice cream brand ran a program at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan last summer where consumers could customize their own Magnum bars that were both Instagram-able and delicious.

Following the creation of the elite treat, participants headed to a digital kiosk where they took a visually engaging ice cream survey that informed the brand of shopper habits and consumer preferences in return for a coupon that could be used for the next purchase of Magnum.  

This creative and highly integrated brand experience gave Magnum’s brand marketers new insights into shopper purchase habits and access to opt-in consumer data.

Both program examples represent new ways to reach and engage more intimately with shoppers at the right time and place — in store and in buying mode.  

The opt-in data captured enables the marketers to track customer engagement and KPIs as well as access the name, location, purchase pattern and detailed demographic information of each consumer. 

Based on the impulsivity of today’s shoppers, smart retailers will look to capitalize on reaching consumers in the places they go. By analyzing data that consumers provide while engaging with innovative digital experiences in-store, and aligning this with their CRM system, retailers gain the insights they need to be able to maintain an on-going dialogue with customers online or on premise. 

The key here is to attract and to better understand the mindset of today’s spontaneous consumers and turn them into valuable customers.

Marci Weisler is chief commercial officer at Vengo.

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