Retail Customer Data

Why do 93% of major retailers say customer profiling is important to their business strategy?

A Customer Profile gives you detailed assumptions about your customer's characteristics and behavior. It's the place to start, but the next step is to fine tune those assumptions with data generated by the actual actions your customer takes.

In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of this information. And here’s the good news: this type of analysis is available to companies of any size, regional chains, single store operations, and even individual entrepreneurs. All you need is a Marketing Plan, an Optimized Website, a Content Strategy, and Internet Marketing Analytics. The data trails are there for you to mine.

From there, analytics tools can be used to help you learn what potential customers are interested in, how they are searching, and where your site is drawing searchers from. But it doesn’t end there. You can also decode online behavior to create more advanced customer profiles, monitoring everything from what term they searched for to arrive at your site to how long they spent on a particular page.

Local Retail Marketing OnlineThe key is to create a targeted plan to gather the information you need to make key decisions:
  • What behaviors should you track?
  • What demographic data is pertinent?
  • How comprehensive is the picture you’re creating?
  • What timeframe should you cover?
  • How does this data map to your existing segmentation?
  • What is the purpose for gathering the data?
  • What can you learn about the decision-making process of customers?
You can also supplement the data you gather on the internet with data gathered from brick-and-mortar sales. Simply by asking customers for a zip code, you can gather a wealth of data to help you flesh out a more accurate profile for your most frequent customers.

This is a process that requires experience. Even getting it 90% right can lead to you making incorrect assumptions about your audience, wasting money and effort by targeting copy, keywords, and promotions at the wrong people.  Working with an expert can help you to better look for weaknesses in your data-gathering strategy, and to understand what’s relevant and what’s an anomaly.

Let’s look at just a few ways you can get value from internet data that tracks a customer profile you have built:

Improve customer loyalty programs. The cost of maintaining a relationship with existing clients is much less expensive than seeking out new business. Are you providing the right incentives to encourage repeat business? You won’t know if you don’t understand enough about who your customers are and what they want.

Target customers with specific offers. Companies consistently see drastic improvements in lead conversions when they use more detailed information to send different offers to different customer segments. For example, a mother of a newborn has different needs than a mother of a 10-year-old, so appealing to those needs and targeting more appropriate products for a promotional mailing can result in better returns.

Capture a sale before a customer leaves the site. If your customer profiling occurs in real-time, you can monitor what customers search for, click on, and put in their shopping cart. Many customers are almost ready to make a purchase… but then don’t.  If you’re tracking your customer behavior, you can react immediately to encourage them to commit to a purchase. For example, you can send them an email offer with an additional discount or a pop-up with a last-minute special deal.

Get better ROI from marketing investments. The more granular you get in building a customer profile, the more targeted you can be with your promotions. This allows you to focus your efforts and marketing budget where you can expect the most return, whether you’re considering an event promotion, buying a mailing list, or adjusting your PPC campaign.

So how do we begin building a customer profile? The first step is to segment your best customers into lifestyle groups, which I’ll discuss in my next blog post.

Posted: 9/26/2013 2:27:06 PM by Shep Morrow

Internet Marketing: Marketing Makeover

If your Retail business isn’t growing, let Location Traffic help you turn it around by reconnecting you with your customers with a Retail Marketing Makeover. Call us for a free consultation.

Does this sound Familiar?

Is your business suffering from too many consultants all telling you different things about what to do to use the internet as a marketing channel?

Retail marketing Online: Marketing MakeoverHere is an example of too many "consultants": one consultant doing SEO that was only doing link building, a marketing firm that is advising on branding strategies in broad generalities but not spelling out specific tactics, a web developer that is over promising and not delivering, and a video production company that insists videos will create traffic and engagement.

When we first spoke with one prospective client they knew only that what all the consultants were telling her sounded redundant and that she didn't know who to believe because none of it was working. What was missing was someone who could step back, determine why things were not working, and prioritize the steps needed to help generate more leads and convert those leads from the internet. Their website and the developer itself were part of the problem, but as you can imagine management at the company also needed to be setting a clearer direction. The different vendors were each selling services that they could provide for traffic or engagement, regardless of the company being in a position to benefit.

Maketing Makeover

Do you have a well-established Retail business that’s survived years, or maybe even decades, in your area but has stagnated or even declined recently?

At Location Traffic, we often work with businesses that deliver great services to their clients and have developed a good reputation in their community, but they fail to see growth because they haven’t kept up with changes in their client needs over time, particularly those due to changes in technology, such as the recent shift to mobile devices. This leaves an opportunity for competitors who may more effectively communicate their brand through internet marketing.

Download a free white paper.
Posted: 9/30/2014 9:43:04 AM by Shep Morrow

Your inventory is slow-moving. Products are getting carried over year-to-year. As a result, inventory levels are consistently rising.  And your bottom line is suffering as a result.

Why is this happening? It’s likely you are struggling with a common retail inventory problem – one that can be solved after you’ve identified it.

Put simply: your store has become disconnected from customer needs.

Let’s look at a few signs that you struggle with this common inventory problem…

Salespeople are selling you merchandise.

Let’s say a sales rep calls you to say they are running a promotion for 15% off of a particular product. You think, “Great! 15% off. I can make more money from the sale of this product.” But who is this product for? Is it a good product? Is it a desired product?

When a manufacturer’s sales reps are guiding your store’s purchasing decisions instead of customer need, you run into problems.

You don’t know who your current customers are.

Do you know exactly how far your customers are willing to travel to get to your store? Their age, income level, and gender?

Often retail stores and chains only do this kind of investigation when they launch their business, but it’s important to stay on top of changes. This way, you can ensure you’re not working on incorrect assumptions.

This information is easier than ever to gather with the help of technology and an effective retail store marketing plan, and it can help ensure that your merchandising matches your target audience’s needs.

You allow yourself to go down a slippery slope.

It starts with ordering a product no one wants to buy. So you cut the price a little to try to entice shoppers. Few of them take advantage of it… so you cut the price again two weeks later.

This retail store marketing strategy sets you up for long-term troubles. In retail, a good mantra is: the first loss is the best loss. Always cut the price substantially when you liquidate. Otherwise your customers will recognize that the price will drop more later – and they won’t jump at deals when you offer them.

Your entire team isn’t aligned.

In some cases, part of your team may be very well aware of customer needs. But the problem arises when they aren’t communicating with other parts of the organization. Everyone – from merchandising to sales staff to internet retail store marketing – needs to be working together towards common goals.

For example, if you are running a promotion on a particular product online, sales staff should be trained on how to sell that item when someone comes in looking for it – not guiding them to another item.

The goal is for everyone to be a team player – and to be informed about who the customer is and what the evolving store goals are.

You buy what was popular last year – or even last month.

This is a common problem in established businesses, particularly those that have been around for 10 years or more. They aren’t used to the pace at which things change today due to technology.

You are marketing to an audience that’s constantly evolving. You can’t look to the past for merchandising decisions. You have to look to the future.

For example, what are the current search trends? For many products, people research well in advance before actually making a purchase.

Is this common inventory problem killing your bottom line?

Get help from Location Traffic. We’ll implement retail store marketing strategies that achieve exponential – not incremental – growth through reconnecting with customers and their needs.

These are warning signs we often see. We know how to help.
Posted: 5/23/2016 10:54:46 AM by Shep Morrow

Retail Marketing online: Branding your community

Whether you have one location or a national chain, a clear, recognizable brand is a powerful asset for retail businesses.

Some businesses make the mistake of sending an inconsistent or disorganized message that makes recalling your company more difficult. Without a clear, unified brand strategy, you will have a hard time leveraging positive customer interactions to grow your business, even if you’re delivering higher quality products or services than competitors.

During every stage of the buying process, you want your customers to connect with your business on an emotional level. Your goal is to build a relationship with them that extends beyond a single purchase.

Develop your brand. The first step is actually defining who you are as a company. Many businesses start the process by writing their mission statement. Even if you don’t share this directly with consumers, it can help inform all aspects of brand development. From here, you need to design a scalable logo, select brand colors, and define your voice. In this stage, it’s crucial to make use of the data you’ve gathered about your target customers. Your brand should speak directly to them and their needs.

Identify all customer touchpoints. Every instance your customers connect with your brand is an opportunity to strengthen your recognition and reach. Some examples of customer touchpoints include your website, blog, social networks, transaction emails, call center, newsletter, brochures, product delivery, and of course, all aspects of a physical storefront.

Any item that your customer walks away from your physical location is also an opportunity for them to take a piece of your brand with them, such as their receipt, plastic bag, product packaging, coupons, or other giveaways. Don’t overlook even small ways that you can maintain your connection with them after they’ve left your physical location.

Incorporate consistent brand messaging. Now that you’ve defined your brand and located the areas where your customers can interact with it, you need to put together a strategy for implementation. Working with a marketing expert can help you identify the most cost-effective areas to tackle first for a better ROI.

Take your message into the community. Now that you’ve established a strong brand, it becomes easier for people to recognize your business’s efforts in the community. Sponsoring events, supporting a local sport teams, or making monetary and product donations can all help elevate your brand from just a business to an integral part of the community, which can help cement customer loyalty and encourage repeat business.

Posted: 3/10/2014 5:29:56 PM by Shep Morrow

Evolution of the retail brand experience

What Is Retail Branding Today?

Consumers today are increasingly sophisticated, preferring brand engagement to brand saturation. Effective retail marketing needs to demonstrate:

• An understanding of the customer
• A creative and imaginative approach
• A pervasive and relevant message
• The Capabilities to apply digital technology
•  An awareness of Touchpoints in the Customer Journey
• A passion for continual improvement of the customer experience

Retail branding requires a nuanced approach within the digital sphere. Calling retail "omnichannel" is just a label, it doesn’t describe the continuity of the experience with a brand.
The best way to engage a customer is to enable them to own their data and experience, then give them the ability to use it to guide creation and context in future experiences. Building a digital relationship began with email and blogging, but the present approach is about product research, selection, payment, and delivery.
As social media has facilitated a dialogue amongst the crowd, omnichannel has the potential to evolve into “social commerce”. Personalization of the interactions online can mirror an ongoing relationship with a trusted salesperson or a store owner. Relationships need to pick up from where they left off -- and can with the help of data.
To implement the technology effectively, the experience must be seamless and easy. 
Branding Is Not Just a Logo. It’s an Experience.

A brand is not simply a logo. If you think matching colors and content across physical and digital touchpoints is omnichannel, you are missing the point. Your brand encompasses everything involved with your company’s identity and what it stands for. 
Logos fade into the background. A brand must attract the public consciousness. 
The next step in the evolution of brand development is creating immersive experiences both in physical spaces and the digital. But this transcends digital touchpoints and in-store signage
There is no longer a separation between the “virtual” and the “real.” With smartphones, smart devices, and soon the introduction of true VR technology on a mass scale, the internet is everywhere. The differentiation between our physical and digital worlds is blurrier than ever before as mobile devices proliferate daily routines.
From Online to In-Store to Community Events

This means increasingly ambitious, engaging, and inspiring retail venues, and promotions that respond to the savvy consumer’s hunger for the real and interactive. For example, in store, virtual reality can simulate participation in a sport for a retailer selling equipment.
Spatial branding can be more sophisticated also. It can be infused with a creativity and depth not previously possible. There is an adaptable and ubiquitous potential to extend a brand both digitally and physically outside of a location.
It can and should serve as an extension of the physical store. For example, you can create a retail space at an event that serves to support the event participants and promote the brand, or inform a Facebook audience about an event and encourage their participation.
This enables your brand to more deeply tap into the psychology that informs our longing for experiential and tactile stimuli. Branding should take advantage of the melded digital and physical world to touch consumers and address their pain points. You are creating a semi-virtual reality that encourages consumers to step further into your brand experience – whether literally in a physical space or virtually in a digital space – and retain their attention longer. 
Using the Digital and the Real to Shape Brand Experiences

Effective branding engages your audience at all critical touch points, uses webrooming to your advantage, and effectively balances the physical and digital to engage your customer base at critical touchpoints
It should be pervasive, consistent, present, and relevant. It makes use of both the digital and the real to varying degrees and in unique ways to attract and keep consumer attention. A brand cannot build loyalty and long-term growth through just a single purchase decision. It’s not something you create once and then walk away from. 
Instead, Branding should be an ongoing process that you analyze and nurture. It should build momentum at strategic points in the customer journey through a series of increasingly sought-after and trusted interactions with what the brand stands for.
The result is strong brand loyalty and brand ambassadors.
Shepard Morrow is the head of Location Traffic, a marketing services and business consultancy that works with Clients on customer acquisition and customer retention. He specializes in Retail Marketing Makeovers using the Internet as a strategic tool during Business Turnarounds.
He is experienced navigating engagement with clients (business owners) to assess needs, gather requirements, and provide consultative recommendations, and manage through short term periods of rapid change.

To learn more, visit LocationTraffic.com, or call 917-327-1800.
Posted: 2/3/2016 2:10:29 PM by Shep Morrow