How mobile and big data are changing retail marketing
In today’s competitive retail environment, mobile and data analytics are indispensable tools for reaching prospective customers and building brand loyalty. Executives from Branding Brand, Neiman Marcus and Touch of Modern share insights on how they are using marketing, mobile and data analytics to grow revenues, personalize customer experiences and foster strategic alignment. The three will be sharing their experiences in breakout sessions at Retail’s BIG Show in January.
The mobile future, today
For many retailers, mobile has shifted from a long-term consideration to the driving force for growth, delivering new customers and revenues — right now. “Mobile is the primary growth channel, traffic channel and soon to be revenue channel for e-commerce,” says Chris Mason, CEO and co-founder of Branding Brand, a digital platform that helps retailers build app, web and in-store shopping experiences. “New customers typically first interact with a brand online through mobile web and once they become a loyal customer, adopt their app,” he says.
So what is it about mobile that makes it a great tool for marketers and retailers looking to tap new customers? The answer lies in mobile’s layout. “Mobile customers are more captive,” says Jerry Hum, co-founder and CEO of Touch of Modern, an online retailer for men. “There’s limited screen space and they’re less likely to leave the funnel once they’ve entered. They’re also more likely to scroll and browse through lots of content quickly.”
Personalizing experiences with mobile data
Mobile also offers an unprecedented and invaluable window into consumer behavior. By offering a host of insights on customers’ preferences, experiences and loyalty, mobile data enables retailers to optimize their investments like never before. “Being able to analyze customer usage data on mobile web and compare it to app engagement, commerce and store visits data tells you the full picture of the value of your customer in one system,” Mason says. “More importantly, it helps you understand how you should be investing in a frequency or loyalty program and how to optimize your media mix.”
Retailers are constantly experimenting with ways to reach new customers, and there are still opportunities for improvement and refinement. “Right now customer acquisition is too costly, and retention models bombard customers with messaging across multiple channels in the hopes of reengaging them,” Mason says.
Retailers can surmount this problem by using mobile customer data to personalize the user experience. “Mobile will unlock the data that allows for a better customer experience and truly personalizing the experience based on engagement per user — not just aggregate trends,” Mason says.
Don’t let data go to waste
Despite the ubiquity of mobile, many retailers still commit a critical mistake: hesitating to use the consumer data they already have. “Too often people think simply collecting data will lead to insights, but the only way it will have an impact is if people start using it,” says Jeff Rosenfeld, VP of customer insight and analytics at Neiman Marcus. “I've heard too many stories of companies waiting to analyze their data because it has flaws or they are missing something. At the current rate of industry change, our data will always be a bit behind what we ideally would like. Don't wait for perfection — dig in and start looking at what you have, however big or small.”
In the long run, data will provide key insights into consumer behavior, which will both drive alignment within companies and help executive teams set priorities and long-term goals. “Everyone thinks their gut instincts are right, and these instincts may point in different directions among key decision makers,” Rosenfeld says. “Having information backed by data can bring strong strategic alignment. Extending those metrics to memorable statements like ‘1 percent improvement in X metric will improve our sales by Y dollars,’ can really bring people together to work toward a common goal and drive change.”
From internal alignment to external engagement, mobile and an accompanying wave of data are transforming retail. Pioneers in the industry have realized that mobile is no longer a wishful trend or distant projection — it is a fundamental force of today’s retail world. Those who will succeed are already experimenting, analyzing and implementing to find what works best.
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NRF members come from more than 45 countries and all sectors of retail, from Main Street merchants to online retailers.