I think it’s safe to say that there are at least two thousand fifty-four point seven initiatives that retailers are planning and budgeting for. But there are a few that stand out: 1) Micro-moments, aka what everyone knew about already but Google coined into one phrase, 2) Mobile payments, or trying to reduce that forsaken cart abandonment rate, and 3) a 360° customer view, or making sure Jon, John, and Juan are just one Jon who’s interested in your suits.
Ray Wright, our Director of Demand Generation, and I teamed up to discuss what we thought should be the top priorities for retailers in the near future through the lens of those three focuses listed above. And of course, we brought it back to data quality because that’s what we do best.
We first hit upon Google’s micro-moments. Today, most of us like to back our decisions up with research or proof and what we are increasingly turning to as the device of choice in helping us make these decisions is our smartphones.
They’re versatile, fit in our pockets, and have lots of nifty apps that we can turn to while we’re in the middle of doing something else. The addiction to instant gratification fueled by social validation is another tangent entirely, but the point here is that smartphones are our best friends.
While we’re on the move, waiting in line, or wanting to prove our friends wrong in a particular moment, it’s much more likely that we’re carrying a smartphone than a tablet or laptop. There are countless micro-moments being fulfilled at a certain time, but they’re being filled by the businesses who are able to get into the minds of their target market, think of what they could possibly be interested in, and then provide value to address that exact need.
Mobile is this huge money-pot sitting in the middle of the room just up for grabs by the retailer who manages to do it right. But no retailer does it completely right.
According to a new Forrester research study about the U.S. Online Retail Forecast: 2015 to 2020 released this past Monday, 78 percent of consumers find their phone screen too small or loading times too slow.
That doesn’t sound like an optimized mobile experience to me. Some people swear that mobile purchases will soon surpass, or have already surpassed, desktop purchases. Others say that mobile is still used mainly as a research channel (I’m in this bucket).
But whichever bucket you fall in, we can all agree there’s work to be done. A huge pain for retailers is cart abandonment. A lot of the times when consumers are using mobile to interact with a brand, there are annoying pop-ups, too many fields to fill out, and long waits for pages to load. If a customer is on his or her way to checking out, but is forced to type in his or her contact information in multiple small fields and then wait 10+ seconds to get to the next step, there is a very good chance they’ll abandon the process right there, leave a handful of items in your shopping cart, and even if they do end up buying the products in-store, you’re left with one stat higher on your cart abandonment rates.
A 360° customer view
A 360° customer view is known by many other names, but this is an initiative that almost all retailers are working towards. Everything revolves around the customer; that’s why, being able to create a complete image of the people who shop or interact with your brand is so important. No one can know everything about a consumer, but using the digital footprints they leave behind, you can better communicate and market to them.
But here’s the thing—people are finicky. They can stop, leave, and resume their customer journey at any time and through any digital channel they want. And they all have different quality standards for entering in data, meaning that there are differences in the way people spell, type, and check for their own mistakes. The human element makes duplicate data and inaccurate data a pretty big roadblock a single customer view.
Having a 360° view of your customer means a holistic understanding of their wants, needs, and personalities—and that’s absolutely necessary for effective loyalty programs, win-back programs, and personalization efforts.
And before I forget, it’s also important to remember that personalization efforts can get pretty creepy pretty quickly. Consumers don’t need to know you know when, where, with what, and how they ended up at your brand.
And as a final recap, here is a list of the top six priorities retailers should be focusing on right now:
1. Maximize short term revenues
Back-to-school and holidays are coming so make sure marketing campaigns are as effective as possible
2. Update POS for EMV and NFC
EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, who are the three companies that started the chip-and-PIN standard for credit cards
NFC stands for Near Field Communication, which involves wirelessly transmitting data from one piece of hardware to another. In retail, this is the beacon technology everyone’s talking about.
3. Create a loyalty program that works and can overcome the loss of customer data that comes with EMV and NFC
4. Implement a mobile strategy that is as frictionless as possible to attract millennials, reduce cart abandonment, and provides the ability to maintain the customer’s purchase history
5. Work towards creating a 360° view of the customer that includes not only purchase histories but that is augmented with data that can help to understand lifetime value and future store or fulfillment center locations
6. Finally, implement a unified commerce system that pulls together all of the different aspects of the business and enables true optimization across channels
There are many branches that stem off these three goals, but at the root of it all (you’ll have to pardon my tree-related puns, we just got a bunch of saplings to celebrate Arbor Day), is good data. You’re collecting customer data from an average of three channels; marketing teams are now taking ownership of data, not just IT; both the technical and business side of the brand must work together to bring a superb mobile or web or in-store experience—all of these goals right here, they depend on you validating, deduplicating, and managing your data.
Find out all the ways we help top retailers proactively manage the quality of their customer contact data.