The Retail Hive: Digital Café, 9th March
When customers are faced with friction at the checkout, cracks can start to show in otherwise perfect products—and even the most loyal consumers can be left with a sour taste in their mouths. For many retailers, creating a seamless, on-site journey is essential to reducing cart abandonment, increasing AOV and driving dynamic conversion rates. Our most recent digital Café explored how retailers can create a seamless journey for customers through intelligent product discovery.
Customer Data Platforms
How well do you know your customers?
When it comes to the best way to collect customer data, the saying how long is a piece of string? really resonates with our members. A good place for retailers to start is using a Customer Data Platform (CDP). Some of our members began their data collection journey on Microsoft Excel with 50 spreadsheets on the go, which simply wasn’t manageable or an efficient use of time; they were keen to unify consumer insights and create a single source of truth, and a CDP provides retailers with a centralised database of customer activity that can feed personalised marketing campaigns and enhance on-site CX—helping retailers to stay connected with their consumers and boost loyalty.
However, getting team buy-in can be challenging at first. It took one of our members 5 months to communicate the value of customer data to their team, eventually convincing them that this would improve decision-making and help them to move forward as a business. That being said, some of our members still question: is what we have enough?. Brands want to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), and picking up the phone could be a better way to get to know customers according to our members—but balance is key here as some consumers might find this irritating or intrusive, leaving retailers on dangerous ground. With phone scams escalating during the pandemic, customers may also have concerns surrounding the validity of these calls.
Heatmaps, Exit Rates and Marketing Hooks
Through carefully selected partnerships and heatmap data, retailers can have an aggregated view of on-site customer activity, including clicks, scrolls, and even hesitations. This saves our members seeing an exit rate, then having to go in to uncover what exactly has gone awry—alleviating them of manual tasks.
In some cases, retailers are able to see when items have been abandoned, but are left guessing why? and they don’t always get the answer; automated solutions can only give so much insight into consumer behaviour. To draw in customers, our members agreed that gift cards, free gifts, or initially withholding the price of items to create intrigue have all been quick wins for them; customers are much more likely to share their data when they feel they’re getting something in return. One member experienced this themselves when they saw an advert online, gave loads of their information away, then discovered at the end the product was really expensive! By that point, they were hooked.
Reviews and Gamification
A strong community can provide retailers with a wealth of actionable data insights. If retailers want to build a community, they need to openly share data with their customers as by doing this, consumers are more likely to submit their own data. Reviews are a great way to do this. Talking frankly about products is empowering for customers, enabling their voices to be heard by retail organisations. It can also influence new product developments by brands, educating retailers on what needs revisiting or improving in the future.
In the eyes of our members, a good community platform is vital for capturing customer data, creating a virtual space where consumers with shared interests and goals can come together. Gymshark have nailed this with their online news hub, inviting customers to comment below or interact with various articles.
Gamification can also encourage customers to provide data. Here, customers might not even realise they are providing valuable information as they are so engrossed in the interactive tool. A great example of this is eBay’s popular auction system, where customers don’t just buy products, they bid on them! The sense of victory when consumers ‘win’ items often outweighs the cost.
Another one to watch is Starbucks Odyssey, combining Starbucks Rewards with an NFT platform. “The experience allows members to participate in a series of entertaining, interactive activities called ‘Journeys’. Once a Journey is complete, members will earn collectible ‘Journey Stamps’ (NFTs) and Odyssey Points that will open access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences” they can’t find elsewhere.
A New Data Landscape
As retailers venture into a “privacy-first” data world, acquiring customer data will become increasingly difficult, but the appetite is still there. One question our members kept coming back to was: when is the next best marketing action to do nothing? It’s a balancing act for many retailers! However, CDPs, heatmap data, and gamification appear to be a step in the right direction.