Category Archives: Customers
If you take a company that is already delivering a great customer experience and add time to the equation, what do you get?
For the answer, take a look at this observation from Shoebuy’s SVP of Customer Experience and Retention, Kavita Baball (published in this new article):
“Customer expectations change over time, so even though you may deliver a good experience now, you have to always consider the customer and their changing needs and expectations.”
In all areas of their business, Shoebuy’s MVP is their customers. One more interesting thing about Shoebuy: They offer over 1 million products on their website.
A study reported in Multichannel Merchant magazine analyzed numerous products sold online by retailers. It found that when a new product is added to an ecommerce website, it directly contributes to growth in gross merchandise value. Today, more products (and more unique selections for the customer to choose from) create more revenue overall.
The rules of inventory, selection, price, and placement are bent and broken by changing customer preferences and innovations from the rise of online retailing. It wasn’t so long ago that retailers started creating niche options in their stores and online to appeal to changing consumer preferences. In retail, the unique, personalized, special option is highly valued by consumers today.
Limitless options are available online, so a consumer can find nearly anything he or she wants from a variety of sources. What can retailers do when customers want something unique, just for them, and can get it anywhere?
The only answer is adding value by providing a great customer experience. An amazing thing to note here: Gartner predicts that by 2016, companies in all industries will be competing on customer experience alone.
Until then, retailers should assess how they lose customers over time because of a poor experience. As Shoebuy knows, customer preferences continue to change. What works now may not always be a solid strategy. Fewer than 50% of companies in a Gartner survey said their customer service was exceptional today. If you aren’t putting customers at the center of everything, throughout your business, Gartner’s prediction shows that you are essentially turning away customers. Here are four ways this can happen:
1. Not being able to contact customers. If your contact data is invalid, including email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses, it can be really tough to call yourself customer-centric. Bounced emails, returned packages, and wrong numbers hurt the customer experience. When e-receipts aren’t received, or a customer service call isn’t successfully made, or an order is sent to the wrong address, customers are unlikely to be loyal and come back for what they believe will be the same experience.
2. Not providing a single experience across channels. When customers contact you for service or support in your call center, the representative should be able to pull up a full contact record, including past buying histories and other contextual information that helps make the interaction a success. The same applies to your ecommerce site, in-store at point-of-sale, and any other channel. According to Forrester Research, 42% of customer service representatives said they were not able to resolve customer issues effectively due to disconnected systems across multiple applications with outdated interfaces.
3. Offer no additional value. Part of a great customer experience is adding stand-out services, conveniences, and speed to every interaction. Customization options, online support and knowledge centers, and membership for exclusive perks are just a few ways to help your customers while building your authority in the market. Loyalty memberships are a great way in particular for marketers to use, as they provide great perks to customers while giving retailers insight into who their customers are. Add-ons may be perceived as expensive to provide, but 86% of buyers said that they would pay more for a better customer experience, according to survey results from Harris Interactive.
4. Not increasing investments in your marketing technology. More and more, improving every customer interaction throughout all channels is becoming part of the job description for marketers. According to eMarketer, the top reason marketers said they needed new technology investments was to improve customer service and satisfaction. See more on steps you can take to avoid wasting your marketing budget in 2015 in this blog post.
Achieving and maintaining a single, semantically consistent version of master data is crucial for every organization. As many companies are moving from an account or product-centric approach to a customer-centric model, master data management is becoming an important part of their enterprise data management strategy. MDM provides the clean, consistent and connected information your organizations need for you to –
- Empower customer facing teams to capitalize on cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
- Create trusted information to improve employee productivity
- Be agile with data management so you can make confident decisions in a fast changing business landscape
- Improve information governance and be compliant with regulations
But there are challenges ahead for the organizations. As Andrew White of Gartner very aptly wrote in a blog post, we are only half pregnant with Master Data Management. Andrew in his blog post talked about increasing number of inquiries he gets from organizations that are making some pretty simple mistakes in their approach to MDM without realizing the impact of those decisions on a long run.
Over last 10 years, I have seen many organizations struggle to implement MDM in a right way. Few MDM implementations have failed and many have taken more time and incurred cost before showing value.
So, what is the secret sauce?
A key factor for a successful MDM implementation lays in mapping your business objectives to features and functionalities offered by the product you are selecting. It is a phase where you ask right questions and get them answered. There are few great ways in which organizations can get this done and talking to analysts is one of them. The other option is to attend MDM focused events that allow you to talk to experts, learn from other customer’s experience and hear about best practices.
We at Informatica have been working hard to deliver you a flexible MDM platform that provides complete capabilities out of the box. But MDM journey is more than just technology and product features as we have learnt over the years. To ensure our customer success, we are sharing knowledge and best practices we have gained with hundreds of successful MDM and PIM implementations. The Informatica MDM Day, is a great opportunity for organizations where we will –
- Share best practices and demonstrate our latest features and functionality
- Show our product capabilities which will address your current and future master data challenges
- Provide you opportunity to learn from other customer’s MDM and PIM journeys.
- Share knowledge about MDM powered applications that can help you realize early benefits
- Share our product roadmap and our vision
- Provide you an opportunity to network with other like-minded MDM, PIM experts and practitioners
So, join us by registering today for our MDM Day event in New York on 24th February. We are excited to see you all there and walk with you towards MDM Nirvana.
Valentine’s Day is such a strange holiday. It always seems to bring up more questions than answers. And the internet always seems to have a quiz to find out the answer! There’s the “Does he have a crush on you too – 10 simple ways to find out” quiz. There’s the “What special gift should I get her this Valentine’s Day?” quiz. And the ever popular “Why am I still single on Valentine’s Day?” quiz.
Well Marketers, it’s your lucky Valentine’s Day! We have a quiz for you too! It’s about your relationship with data. Where do you stand? Are you ready to take the next step?
Question 1: Do you connect – I mean, really connect – with your data?
□ (A) Not really. We just can’t seem to get it together and really connect.
□ (B) Sometimes. We connect on some levels, but there are big gaps.
□ (C) Most of the time. We usually connect, but we miss out on some things.
□ (D) We are a perfect match! We connect about everything, no matter where, no matter when.
Translation: Data ready marketers have access to the best possible data, no matter what form it is in, no matter what system it is in. They are able to make decisions based everything the entire organization “knows” about their customer/partner/product – with a complete 360 degree view. And they are also able to connect to and integrate with data outside the bounds of their organization to achieve the sought-after 720 degree view. They can integrate and react to social media comments, trends, and feedback – in real time – and to match it with an existing record whenever possible. And they can quickly and easily bring together any third party data sources they may need.
Question 2: How good looking & clean is you data?
□ (A) Yikes, not very. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts right?
□ (B) It’s ok. We’ve both let ourselves go a bit.
□ (C) It’s pretty cute. Not supermodel hot, but definitely girl or boy next door cute.
□ (D) My data is HOT! It’s perfect in every way!
Translation: Marketers need data that is reliable and clean. According to a recent Experian study, American companies believe that 25% of their data is inaccurate, the rest of the world isn’t much more confident. 90% of respondents said they suffer from common data errors, and 78% have problems with the quality of the data they gather from disparate channels. Making marketing decisions based upon data that is inaccurate leads to poor decisions. And what’s worse, many marketers have no idea how good or bad their data is, so they have no idea what impact it is having on their marketing programs and analysis. The data ready marketer understands this and has a top tier data quality solution in place to make sure their data is in the best shape possible.
Question 3: Do you feel safe when you’re with your data?
□ (A) No, my data is pretty scary. 911 is on speed dial.
□ (B) I’m not sure actually. I think so?
□ (C) My date is mostly safe, but it’s got a little “bad boy” or “bad girl” streak.
□ (D) I protect my data, and it protects me back. We keep each other safe and secure.
Translation: Marketers need to be able to trust the quality of their data, but they also need to trust the security of their data. Is it protected or is it susceptible to theft and nefarious attacks like the ones that have been all over the news lately? Nothing keeps a CMO and their PR team up at night like worrying they are going to be the next brand on the cover of a magazine for losing millions of personal customer records. But beyond a high profile data breach, marketers need to be concerned over data privacy. Are you treating customer data in the way that is expected and demanded? Are you using protected data in your marketing practices that you really shouldn’t be? Are you marketing to people on excluded lists
Question 4: Is your data adventurous and well-traveled, or is it more of a “home-body”?
□ (A) My data is all over the place and it’s impossible to find.
□ (B) My data is all in one place. I know we’re missing out on fun and exciting options, but it’s just easier this way.
□ (C) My data is in a few places and I keep fairly good tabs on it. We can find each other when we need to, but it takes some effort.
□ (D) My data is everywhere, but I have complete faith that I can get ahold of any source I might need, when and where I need it.
Translation: Marketing data is everywhere. Your marketing data warehouse, your CRM system, your marketing automation system. It’s throughout your organization in finance, customer support, and sale systems. It’s in third party systems like social media and data aggregators. That means it’s in the cloud, it’s on premise, and everywhere in between. Marketers need to be able to get to and integrate data no matter where it “lives”.
Question 5: Does your data take forever to get ready when it’s time to go do so something together?
□ (A) It takes forever to prepare my data for each new outing. It’s definitely not “ready to go”.
□ (B) My data takes it’s time to get ready, but it’s worth the wait… usually!
□ (C) My data is fairly quick to get ready, but it does take a little time and effort.
□ (D) My data is always ready to go, whenever we need to go somewhere or do something.
Translation: One of the reasons many marketers end up in marketing is because it is fast paced and every day is different. Nothing is the same from day-to-day, so you need to be ready to act at a moment’s notice, and change course on a dime. Data ready marketers have a foundation of great data that they can point at any given problem, at any given time, without a lot of work to prepare it. If it is taking you weeks or even days to pull data together to analyze something new or test out a new hunch, it’s too late – your competitors have already done it!
Question 6: Can you believe the stories your data is telling you?
□ (A) My data is wrong a lot. It stretches the truth a lot, and I cannot rely on it.
□ (B) I really don’t know. I question these stories – dare I say excused – but haven’t been able to prove it one way or the other.
□ (C) I believe what my data says most of the time. It rarely lets me down.
□ (D) My data is very trustworthy. I believe it implicitly because we’ve earned each other’s trust.
Translation: If your data is dirty, inaccurate, and/or incomplete, it is essentially “lying” to you. And if you cannot get to all of the data sources you need, your data is telling you “white lies”! All of the work you’re putting into analysis and optimization is based on questionable data, and is giving you questionable results. Data ready marketers understand this and ensure their data is clean, safe, and connected at all times.
Question 7: Does your data help you around the house with your daily chores?
□ (A) My data just sits around on the couch watching TV.
□ (B) When I nag my data will help out occasionally.
□ (C) My data is pretty good about helping out. It doesn’t take imitative, but it helps out whenever I ask.
□ (D) My data is amazing. It helps out whenever it can, however it can, even without being asked.
Translation: Your marketing data can do so much. It should enable you be “customer ready” – helping you to understand everything there is to know about your customers so you can design amazing personalized campaigns that speak directly to them. It should enable you to be “decision ready” – powering your analytics capabilities with great data so you can make great decisions and optimize your processes. But it should also enable you to be “showcase ready” – giving you the proof points to demonstrate marketing’s actual impact on the bottom line.
Now for the fun part… It’s time to rate your data relationship status
If you answered mostly (A): You have a rocky relationship with your data. You may need some data counseling!
If you answered mostly (B): It’s time to decide if you want this data relationship to work. There’s hope, but you’ve got some work to do.
If you answered mostly (C): You and your data are at the beginning of a beautiful love affair. Keep working at it because you’re getting close!
If you answered mostly (D): Congratulations, you have a strong data marriage that is based on clean, safe, and connected data. You are making great business decisions because you are a data ready marketer!
Do You Love Your Data?
No matter what your data relationship status, we’d love to hear from you. Please take our survey about your use of data and technology. The results are coming out soon so don’t miss your chance to be a part. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DataMktg
Also, follow me on twitter – The Data Ready Marketer – for some of the latest & greatest news and insights on the world of data ready marketing. And stay tuned because we have several new Data Ready Marketing pieces coming out soon – InfoGraphics, eBooks, SlideShares, and more!
How Do You Like It? How Do You Like It? More, More More!
Chiefmartec came out with their 2015 Marketing Technology Landscape, and if there’s one word that comes to mind, it’s MORE. 1,876 corporate logos dot the page, up from 947 in 2014. That’s definitely more, more, more – just about double to be exact. I’m honestly not sure it’s possible to squeeze any more in a single image?
But it’s strangely fitting, because this is the reality that we marketers live in. There are an infinite number of new technologies, approaches, social media platforms, operations tools, and vendors that we have to figure out. New, critical categories of technology roll out constantly. New vendors enter and exit the landscape. As Chiefmartec says “at least on the immediate horizon, I don’t think we’re going to see a dramatic shrinking of this landscape. The landscape will change, for sure. What qualifies as “marketing” and “technology” under the umbrella of marketing technology will undoubtedly morph. But if mere quantity is the metric we’re measuring, I think it’s going to be a world of 1,000+ marketing technology companies — perhaps even a world of 2,000+ of them — for some time to come.”
Middleware: I’m Coming Up So You’d Better Get This Party Started!
One thing you’ll notice if you look carefully between last year’s and this year’s version, is the arrival of the middleware layer. Chiefmartec spends quite a bit of time talking about middleware, pointing out that great tools in the category are making the marketing technology landscape easier to manage – particularly those that handle a hybrid of on premise and cloud.
Marketers have long since cared about the things on the top – the red “Marketing Experiences” and the orange “Marketing Operations”. They’ve also put a lot of focus in the dark gray/black/blue layer “Backbone Platforms” like marketing autionation & e-commerce. But only recently has that yellow middleware layer become front and center for marketers. Data integration, data management platforms, connectivity, data quality, and API’s are definitely not new to the technology landscape, and have been a critical domain of IT for decades. But as marketers are becoming more and more skilled and reliant on analytics and focused customer experience management, data is entering the forefront.
Marketers cannot focus exclusively on their Salesforce CRM, their Marketo automation, or their Adobe Experience Manager web management. Data Ready marketers realize that each of these applications can no longer be run in a silo, they need to be looked at collectively as a powerful set of tools designed to engage the customer and push them through the buying cycle, as critical pieces to the same puzzle. And to do that, they need to be looking at connecting their data sources, powering them with great data, analyzing and measuring their results, and then deciding what to do.
If you squint, you can see Informatica in the yellow Middleware layer. (I could argue that it belongs in several of these yellow boxes, not just Cloud integration, but I’ll save that for another blog!) Some might say that’s not very exciting, but I would argue that Informtaica is in a tremendous place to help marketers succeed with great data. And it all comes down to two words… complexity and change.
Why You Have to Go and Make Things So Complicated?
Ok, admittedly terrible grammar, but you get the picture. Marketers live in a trendounsly complex world. Sure you don’t have all 1,876 of the logos on the Technology Landscape in house. You probably don’t eve have one from each of the 43 categories. But you definitely have a lot of different tecnology solutions that you rely upon on a day-to-day basis. According to a September article by ChiefMarTech, most marketers already regularly rely on more than 100 software programs.
Data ready marketers realize that their environments are complicated, and that they need a foundation. They need a platform of great data that all of their various applications and tools can leverage, and that can actually connect all of their various applications and tools together. They need to be able to connect to just about anything from just about anything. They need a complete view of all of their interactions their customers. In short, they need to make their extremely complicated world more simple, streamlined, and complete.
Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes. Turn and Face the Strange!
I have a tendency to misunderstand lyrics, so I have to confess that until I looked up this song today, I thought the lyric was “time to face the pain” (Bowie fans, I hang my head in shame!). But quite honestly, “turn and face the strange” illustrates my point just as well!
There is no question that marketing has changed dramatically in the past few years. Your most critical marketing tools and processes two years ago are almost certainly different than those this year, and will almost certainly be different from what you see two years from now. Marketers realize this. The Marketing Technology Landscape illustrates this every year!
The data ready marketer understands that their toolbox will change, but that their data will be the foundation for whatever new piece of the technology puzzle they embrace or get rid of. Building a foundation of great data will power any technology solution or new approach.
Data ready marketers also work with their IT counterparts to engineer for change. They make sure that no matter what technology or data source they want to add – no matter how strange or unthinkable it is today – they never have to start from scratch. They can connect to what they want, when they want, leveraging great data, and ultimately making great decisions.
Get Ready ‘Cause Here I Come. The Era of the Data Ready Marketer is Here
Now that you have a few catchy tunes stuck in your head, it’s time to ask yourself, are you data ready? Are you ready to embrace the complexity of marketing technology landscape? Are you ready to think about change as a competitive weapon?
I encourage you to take our survey about data ready marketing. The results are coming out soon so don’t miss your chance to be a part. You can find the link here.
Also, follow me on twitter – The Data Ready Marketer (@StephanieABest) for some of the latest & greatest news and insights on the world of data ready marketing.
And stay tuned because we have several new Data Ready Marketing pieces coming out soon – InfoGraphics, eBooks, SlideShares, and more!
Data has always played a key role in informing decisions – machine generated and intuitive. In the past, much of this data came from transactional databases as well as unstructured sources, such as emails and flat files. Mobile devices appeared next on the map. We have found applications of such devices not just to make calls but also to send messages, take a picture, and update status on social media sites. As a result, new sets of data got created from user engagements and interactions. Such data started to tell a story by connecting dots at different location points and stages of user connection. “Internet of Things” or IoT is the latest technology to enter the scene that could transform how we view and use data on a massive scale.
Does IoT present a significant opportunity for companies to transform their business processes? Internet of Things probably add an important awareness veneer when it comes to data. It could bring data early in focus by connecting every step of data creation stages in any business process. It could de-couple the lagging factor in consuming data and making decisions based on it. Data generated at every stage in a business process could show an interesting trend or pattern and better yet, tell a connected story. Result could be predictive maintenance of equipment involved in any process that would further reduce cost. New product innovations would happen by leveraging the connectedness in data as generated by each step in a business process. We would soon begin to understand not only where the data is being used and how, but also what’s the intent and context behind this usage. Organizations could then connect with their customers in a one-on-one fashion like never before, whether to promote a product or offer a promotion that could be both time and place sensitive. New opportunities to tailor product and services offering for customers on an individual basis would create new growth areas for businesses. Internet of Things could make it a possibility by bringing together previously isolated sets of data.
Recent Economist report, “The Virtuous Circle of Data: Engaging Employees in Data and Transforming Your Business” suggests that 68% of data-driven businesses outperform their competitors when it comes to profitability. 78% of those businesses foster a better culture of creativity and innovation. Report goes on to suggest that 3 areas are critical for an organization to build a data-driven business, including data supported by devices: 1) Technology & Tools, 2) Talent & Expertise, and 3) Culture & Leadership. By 2020, it’s projected that there’ll be 50B connected devices, 7x more than human beings on the planet. It is imperative for an organization to have a support structure in place for device generated data and a strategy to connect with broader enterprise-wide data initiatives.
A comprehensive Internet of Things strategy would leverage speed and context of data to the advantage of business process owners. Timely access to device generated data can open up the channels of communication to end-customers in a personalized at the moment of their readiness. It’s not enough anymore to know what customers may want or what they asked for in the past; rather anticipating what they might want by connecting dots across different stages. IoT generated data can help bridge this gap.
How to Manage IoT Generated Data
More data places more pressure on both quality and security factors – key building blocks for trust in one’s data. Trust is ideally truth over time. Consistency in data quality and availability is going to be key requirement for all organizations to introduce new products or service differentiated areas in a speedy fashion. Informatica’s Intelligent Data Platform or IDP brings together industry’s most comprehensive data management capabilities to help organizations manage all data, including device generated, both in the cloud and on premise. Informatica’s IDP enables an automated sensitive data discovery, such that data discovers users in the context where it’s needed.
Cool IoT Applications
There are a number of companies around the world that are working on interesting applications of Internet of Things related technology. Smappee from Belgium has launched an energy monitor that can itemize electricity usage and control a household full of devices by clamping a sensor around the main power cable. This single device can recognize individual signatures produced by each of the household devices and can let consumers switch off any device, such as an oven remotely via smartphone. JIBO is a IoT device that’s touted as the world’s first family robot. It automatically uploads data in the cloud of all interactions. Start-ups such as Roost and Range OI can retrofit older devices with Internet of Things capabilities. One of the really useful IoT applications could be found in Jins Meme glasses and sunglasses from Japan. They embed wearable sensors that are shaped much like Bluetooth headsets to detect drowsiness in its wearer. It observes the movement of eyes and blinking frequency to identify tiredness or bad posture and communicate via iOS and android smartphone app. Finally, Mellow is a new kind of kitchen robot that makes it easier by cooking ingredients to perfection while someone is away from home. Mellow is a sous-vide machine that takes orders through your smartphone and keeps food cold until it’s the exact time to start cooking.
Each of the application mentioned above deals with data, volumes of data, in real-time and in stored fashion. Such data needs to be properly validated, cleansed, and made available at the moment of user engagement. In addition to Informatica’s Intelligent Data Platform, newly introduced Informatica’s Rev product can truly connect data coming from all sources, including IoT devices and make it available for everyone. What opportunity does IoT present to your organization? Where are the biggest opportunities to disrupt the status quo?
From marketing automation to analytics software, there were countless technology offerings showcasing how to best assist the modern marketer in making every customer interaction personal. Throughout the week, I had numerous conversations with retail professionals about the importance of personalization in marketing and what it means to their organization’s future plans.
At the heart of their plans was the need to understand the data that they have today, and how to verify the data that they will inevitably acquire in the future. If it’s accurate, if it’s reliable, if it’s complete – customer data can fuel your ability to engage and interact.
The data driven marketer derives insight and ultimately provides a personalized experience by leveraging this valuable data for each customer.
And why is this important?
Well, according to McMurrayTMG, 78% of buyers believe that organizations providing a personalized experience are interested in building good relationships. But it all starts with accurate data.
Knowing who your customers are, how you can contact them, and what they are interested in are essential in order to engage with your customers. With the abundance of data available today, you have to figure that if you aren’t ensuring that your customer interactions are personalized, then your competitors are gaining ground. Every interaction, every correspondence counts towards a positive perception as well as increased sales and customer satisfaction.
By fueling your interactions with Data as a Service (DaaS) for accurate customer data, you will ensure that your customers have a personalized experience with your brand and ultimately accelerate your business.
I live in a very small town in Maine. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my privacy. Some would say that by living in a small town, you give up your right to privacy because everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Living here is a choice – for me to improve my family’s quality of life. Sharing all of the details of my life – not so much.
When I go to my doctor (who also happens to be a parent from my daughter’s school), I fully expect that any sort of information that I share with him, or that he obtains as a result of lab tests or interviews, or care that he provides is not available for anyone to view. On the flip side, I want researchers to be able to take my lab information combined with my health history in order to do research on the effectiveness of certain medications or treatment plans.
As a result of this dichotomy, Congress (in 1996) started to address governance regarding the transmission of this type of data. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a Federal law that sets national standards for how health care plans, health care clearinghouses, and most health care providers protect the privacy of a patient’s health information. With certain exceptions, the Privacy Rule protects a subset of individually identifiable health information, known as protected health information or PHI, that is held or maintained by covered entities or their business associates acting for the covered entity. PHI is any information held by a covered entity which concerns health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to an individual.
Many payers have this type of data in their systems (perhaps in a Claims Administration system), and have the need to share data between organizational entities. Do you know if PHI data is being shared outside of the originating system? Do you know if PHI is available to resources that have no necessity to access this information? Do you know if PHI data is being shared outside your organization?
If you can answer yes to each of these questions – fantastic. You are well ahead of the curve. If not – you need to start considering solutions that can
- Identify PHI in all of your data streams
- Monitor and track the flow of this data throughout your organization and
- Mask this data if it is being shared with resources that don’t need to be able to identify the individual.
I want to researchers to have access to medically relevant data so they can find the cures to some horrific diseases. I want to feel comfortable sharing health information with my doctor. I want to feel comfortable that my health insurance company is respecting my privacy. Now to get my kids to stop oversharing.
The holidays that just passed weren’t the only thing to celebrate, according to historical trends. As we moved from December into 2015, how many of you were seeing a lot more engagement announcements on Facebook, or even became engaged yourself?
December is the most popular month to get engaged (according to wedding website TheKnot.com), so it’s likely many of us gearing up for the typical spring/summer calendar full of weekend weddings.
While December is not known as a big month for weddings, it is a big time for jewelers, including the months leading up to it. Diamonds, gold, and other fine jewelry become very popular purchases at this time.
Fine jewelry is an emotional buying decision, which you can see from the jewelry store commercials that evoke sentiment for our loved ones.
But that emotional pull to purchase diamonds, gold and precious stones could be changing significantly.
Diamond sales are down this year – but what is up? Technology-related gifts, including smart phones, tablets, and other functional devices. To understand why, all you have to do is think about the ages of people getting engaged: 18-34 year-olds.
People in that age range who are getting engaged right now just aren’t drawn in by the emotional purchase of fine jewelry anymore, if they ever were. They value technology purchases.
But it’s not just function over form. The emotional motivation behind a purchase (whether technology or fine jewelry or any high-dollar item) is always there.
“Status for this generation isn’t about money — it’s about attention,” said psychology professor Kit Yarrow in a recent Pacific Standard magazine article. Therefore, a smart phone is considered a better gift (and better use for the money) than fine jewelry, since it allows you to share your life and stay connected much more than a gold and diamond ring can do.
As the article notes, using technology to create “an everlasting Facebook album from that scuba diving trip in Bali says so much more than one lone photo of a pave diamond necklace.”
WHAT FUELS YOUR BUSINESS DECISIONS?
The average decision process for a consumer making a purchase is estimated at 80% emotional and 20% rational, according to an annual customer loyalty report from Brand Keys.
It’s interesting to think that the car in your garage, or the shoes on your feet, could have ultimately been something you felt you wanted (80%), and then justified the need for later (20%). Brands, especially in the luxury market, depend on this ratio.
This realization brings us to your business planning as we begin 2015. What guides your business decisions as a data-fueled marketer: emotions, or rationale?
How do brands make decisions about how to operate, what customers to market to, where to locate stores, what marketing campaigns to do, and many more strategic plans? It needs to be much more in the “rational” category – but how do you do that as a data-fueled marketer?
As consumers, we are emotional creatures without even realizing it. That can be a habit we bring to other things in our lives as well, including decisions at work.
Since your customers still have emotional reasons for making a purchase or using a service, the only thing that should be emotional is your messaging to your customers; not your planning. Creating customer profiles and making decisions from them should never be solely a ‘gut feeling’ or only based on your professional instincts.
At the same time, we all know that in our work, over time we develop good instincts about what we do. We learn to trust our sense of what will work or won’t work in the market, or in the supply chain, or within product development – whatever it is you do. You can never ignore that, because no one can completely predict the future with total accuracy. You have to trust your experience and knowledge to lead you.
Turn the 80/20 ratio on its head, and instead focus 20% on emotional thinking and 80% on rational thinking. Make your brand’s business decisions and planning based on good data.
Who are your customers? Where do they live? What do they do and what are their preferences? Basing the answers to these questions only on what has worked in the past, or what you think your customers should want, will only lead to bad business decisions.
The first step, however, is to know that your customer data is valid and complete. Gartner estimates that 40% of failed business initiatives are due to bad data. Validate, correct, and enrich your customer data before you use it. Then as a truly data-fueled marketer, you can use the 20/80 ratio properly and steer your brand to a great 2015.
Consumer demand is driving the adoption of IoT as they embrace the new technology to improve health (Garmin Vívoactive), energy savings (NEST), safety (BeClose) and a better overall experience including shopping (beacons?). However, getting the balance between privacy, intrusion and relevance can be tricky for both the retailer and shopper.
While shoppers are willing to give up some level of privacy in return for personalization, I am not convinced most are ready of what the “Internet of Things” brings. I recently purchased a smart TV and was surprised when I was asked to accept terms and conditions before using, what are they capturing, how will it be used, will I see any benefits? Retailers need to demonstrate value and trust to the consumer.
While RFID has been around for many years the next wave of intelligent “things” bring both opportunities and challenges. Retailers need to decide which ones truly enhance the shopping experience.
“Psst! It’s Me, the Mannequin. This Would Look Great on You.” (Rachel Abrams, NY Times)
Smart Dummies (mannequins) – Last year House of Fraser started rolling out beacon-enabled mannequins to engage directly with shoppers and passers-by. Shoppers within a 50-metre range will receive information from the mannequins, which may include details about the clothes on display, with links to make a purchase from a website, or details of where the outfit can be found in the store. The next step could link customer preferences, profile and past purchases and suggest matching accessories, check customers size availability or monitor how long they browsed and offer a digital coupon.
Connected Hangers – While you browse through the racks, real-time reviews are displayed on the hanger, size availability or images & videos displayed on screens showing the garment in use. Retailers can capture how popular an item is but never purchased. Taking the clothes and hanger try on could provide personalized recommendation on shoes and accessories.
Personalized Mirrors – I recently read an article in Time (Dec 29th) about Rebecca Minkoff’s new store in Manhattan, where they installed a giant mirrored panel showing images of models walking down the runway. The panel acts as a mirror and touchscreen, where shoppers can order up a personalized fitting room, offering style tips based on their selection. This is connected to a mobile app that saves their browsing history and style preferences for their next visit. When a customer is ready to purchase a sales assistant takes payment on an iPad.
In future blog I will discuss how location based services are machine-to-machine technologies are impacting retailers and consumers.
With so many devices connected and larger volumes of data captured this raises concerns around data privacy and security. In the past year we have seen too many stores on data breaches and retailers. While shoppers are prepared to share more information for relevance they expect you to keep it safe and secure. Retailers must have a solid data governance framework and process in place or risk losing the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Sensor Driven Analytics
The Internet of Things presents retailers with a wonderfully opportunity to understand and engage the customer like never before. However, retailers need to manage the explosion of data available through smarter devices to gain insight into shopper behaviours and preferences and turn into a more rewarding experience for the consumer.
However, before loading an analytics engine they need to ensure the data is clean, connected and safe. Without this any decisions made are flawed and will impact their brand and ultimately the bottom line.
62% of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences (Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey)
Issues with keeping everyone happy have been around since the beginning of trade and as trading has evolved, the underlying rule remains the same – keep the customers happy! Retailers who move beyond just selling to the customer and focus on creating the shopping experience customers want will see higher retention rates and increased spend per shopper.
Other factors like good quality of the products and competitive pricing play a huge role as well but taking care of the consumer is even more important. At the end of the day, shoppers have more options and opportunities to purchase from your competitors.
While multi-channel commerce has gown, many people are shopping not because they really need the products but because they like the experience of shopping. The better the experience is (which includes an amazing customer service) the more likely it is that the customer will come back and make a purchase in store or online. However, if they run into issues with the retailer, not only will they complain and never come back but they will tell their friends, damaging your brand and hurting the bottom line.
News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. (Help Scout)
Today retailers realize the importance of great customer service and that’s why they train their staff to be friendly and helpful to the customers at all times. Studies have shown that people are reacting very positively to this kind of treatment and not only are they more willing to spend more money but also remain a customer a long a time.
People want to be treated right but they also want to feel important. That’s why retail businesses nowadays go an extra step and use technology and access more data like past purchases, preferences and trends to enhance the customer experience. Even if a customer had a bad experience smart retailers are leveraging customer insights to turn any bad situation around fast. Customer service representatives can responsive to any situation with all the information they need in real time or a highly personalize offer can be delivered to their smartphone.
A 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit. (Bain & Co.)
Retailers also have access to different social channels where they can influence and respond to what their customers are saying about their services and products and can use this instant feedback to make changes quickly and precisely.
In today’s world retail businesses have a great advantage compared to the ones that were operating even 5-10 years ago and if they are prompt in addressing concerns they can minimize the negative affect on their operations very easily. Each satisfied customer is not only going to spend money but they are going to advocate for the retailer which is a very powerful thing in business in the long run.
That’s why today successful retail businesses are turning data into insight to make sure that any problems and concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently, and deliver the experience customers desire.