How to personalize the in-store experience for customers
Marketers need to work to extend the data and analytics they are collecting and using to the store associates. This can be done through a clienteling solution.
In his role as Vice President of Marketing Technology & Support, Sal is engaged in managing a corporate-wide product vision and strategy to create and maintain leading-edge marketing products and services that are consistent across all divisions.
One thing that marketers, and any other “consumer-facing” organization needs to remember, is that clienteling doesn’t just extend to in-store. While certainly focused on the retail vertical, we can extend this thought of clienteling to other opportunities such as your concierge at your hotel, or your insurance agent. What clienteling conceptualizes is the ability to extend customer data, through technology to the customer-facing associates so they can better personalize the customer experience.
Consumers are connected in every which way imaginable. Whether it’s via desktop, smartphone, tablet, television or smartwatch, they are always plugged in and tuned in to what is going on in the world. Consumers can easily shop, compare products and prices with the click of a button. In order for retailers and other organizations to continue to drive interactions and transaction volume, they need to harness digital technology and utilize it to their advantage by providing a memorable in-person experience for their customers. By doing this, they will be better positioned to convert customers in-store, differentiate their brand from the competition, and grow long-term value.
Having a single view of your customer is important and addresses two of the biggest challenges marketers are facing today, that being: identifying and engaging your most valuable customer, and differentiating yourself from your competition by providing an exceptional and memorable experience in the store. Consumers today crave personalization, whether it is online or offline, they want to feel unique and having a single view will create a more targeted and relevant interaction. By bringing the data and insights you collect online to your store-level POS, hand held mobile devices and customer-service efforts, you can create more loyal customers through stronger engagement and help differentiate your brand by offering a unique customer experience – that being 1:1 engagement.
There are a few different things marketers need to do to accomplish this. First, they need to have a single data repository where everything can be aggregated, standardized and pushed out to different systems. From there, they need to think about how they can access the data, typically via an API. We use an API called Infoconnect. This API allows our clients to connect their applications, mobile devices or POS to our database and “call” it to bring up the correct data for the customer. The important thing to remember is that the API allows the client to customize the solution for their individual needs by bringing the data front and center.
As a marketer, you need to look at each individual channel where you are collecting customer data and work to standardize the collection and formatting in order to produce what is called a “golden record”. Once this record is created, it will be much easier for you as a marketer, to aggregate all the data into a central repository for access by your store associates. Imagine being able to provide a customer who enters the store, (and who by the way shops on your website frequently), a 20% loyalty coupon for shopping with you in-store that day all because you were able to marry their online shopping habits with their individual demographic data. Another way to improve in-store experience is using mobile technology to your advantage. According to our research, only 36% of retailers today use mobile in their in-store marketing strategy. Utilizing SMS, marketers can continue to engage customers to bring them in-store by texting them appointment reminders or exclusive in-store coupons.