In a data-filled world, collecting the right data from the right sources can be a significant challenge. As complexity in the customer journey grows, retailers are finding it imperative to deliver a consistent experience across channels, including in-store and online. Yet doing so requires collecting data that can enable seamless cross-channel experiences.
Research highlighted in a Retail Week article indicates that shoppers now expect retailers to “know” their digital journey when they enter a physical store. About one-third (32 percent) of shoppers in the survey said they expect the stores they visit to know what prior research they’ve done on the retailers’ websites and apps — including their wishlists, abandoned carts, and related social media activity — so they can receive better service.
For retailers like Home Depot, leveraging the virtual alongside the physical is critical to delivering the relevant experiences to their customers. But they can only do so when they have the right types of data — both real-time and cross-channel.
1: Collect and respond to real-time data.
Nothing is more powerful than knowing in the moment what your customers are doing, where they are, and what they want. Accurate customer profiles, powered by real-time data intelligence, allow you to respond in a more personalized and consistent manner — seeing what their need is and responding to it.
For Home Depot, real-time data has allowed them to quickly and inexpensively get feedback on what types of offers or content are most relevant to customers. It has also helped them to “know” what their customers wants in the moment. For retailers like Home Depot, their mobile device app could automatically sense that a customer is in the appliance department and tailor an experience based on location — perhaps offering free delivery and installation on appliances.
2: Identify customers across digital touchpoints.
The customer journey is a complex and winding road. According to Econsultancy, a full 40 percent of people who start a journey on one device finish it on another. What’s more, customers expect retailers to retain knowledge of who they are, no matter what device they’re on.
When a customer adds products to a shopping cart on a smartphone, they expect that the same browsing history and shopping cart will be accessible even when switching to a laptop or tablet. Yet despite consumer expectations for a seamless cross-device shopping experience, delivering on it is not so easy. Without cross-device data, retailers find themselves with inaccurate conversion data, poor conversion attribution, and incomplete segmentation groups — leading to inconsistent or depersonalized experiences for the consumer.
Retailers can overcome this hurdle in some instances. On sites that require the customer to log in or “authenticate,” it is possible to determine which devices connect to which customer. However, rather than create more authentication events, retailers can join a device co-op — where members pool their data on device usage. Such a resource provides retailers with a powerful opportunity to gain information about their customers, and not just the device they’re using. Equally important, because only “the link” between devices is shared, not user profiles or site-visit data, customer privacy remains protected.
A device co-op not only helps brands recognize familiar consumers using unfamiliar devices, it provides the ability to connect the dots between interaction points on a customer’s digital journey. As a result, retailers can deliver consistent and personalized experiences to a person, not a device.