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Transforming Retail with Social, Mobile and Analytics

By Michael Mothner, CEO, Wpromote

Michael Mothner, CEO, Wpromote

Integrating Data for 360-Degree View of Customer

A holistic 360 degree view of the customer requires insight into the marketing data, purchase data and customer data, which more often than not exist in disparate areas in the business and have different stakeholders and “keepers” of the data. Having somebody that “owns” digital and “owns” data at the executive level is the most direct way to overcome these hurdles, but admittedly the larger the organization the harder it is to overcome these obstacles.

"It is truly this idea of focusing on the basics – building awareness, traffic generation, education, reducing transaction friction – that drives our methodology and is our push to our clients"

Tech Aspects for Successful Business

We push a very “customer first” mindset to our clients. Too often marketers get distracted with “shiny new things” (Snapchat!) and can lose sight of the fundamentals: excellent shopping experience, product descriptions that tell the story right, reviews, search engine visibility, a shopping cart experience that is smooth and intuitive. When businesses get caught up in concepts (big data!) and lose sight of the fundamental customer experience, business ultimately don’t meet their goals or expectations. It is truly this idea of focusing on the basics – building awareness, traffic generation, education, reducing transaction friction – that drives our methodology and is our push t o our clients.

Comprehensive Analytics and Reporting for Retailer’s Success

In today’s commerce experience, there is an incredibly complex amount of jumping from device to device, from platform to platform, from search to social, and so on. While perfect attribution is not attainable, it is a must to employ comprehensive reporting and analytics tool like Google Analytics (which is incredibly powerful and free) and tagging and tracking uniformly all referral traffic and on-site actions.

With this in place, retailers can understand key metrics that ultimately can drive key marketing, budgeting and merchandising decisions. Understanding the lead time to purchase, the life-time value of a customer and the word of mouth effect (which drives further life-time value), marketers can then align their marketing budgets far better because they understand the amount they are willing to pay to acquire a new customer or to re-engage a past customer. For those marketers that only look at the value of an initial transaction (versus life-time value), they will inherently under-invest in their customer acquisition marketing and growth.

Analytics Understanding Customer Preferences

As a digital marketing company, we are especially interested in the effect that digital marketing has in driving in-store traffic and ultimately revenue. We notice many retailers that think of their “.com” as simply another store, but this is a very myopic view of the value of digital. In addition to the direct value of transactions occurring online, highly effective digital campaigns can create awareness and excitement that drives in-store visits and sales, and it is integral in being able to use analytics to better understand the impact and experience in-store. We have found, for one, that digitally-influenced in-store visitors purchase more, come back more often and are ultimately far more valuable than average store visitors.

Social And Mobile in 2015

The first major trend we are seeing in retail (specifically with a marketing bent) is that social, in particular Facebook advertising, has crossed the chasm and is able to directly influence and drive transactions. The days of “buying likes” are gone, and smart marketers with good social agencies or social media buyers are successfully raising awareness and driving on and offline transactions, which is incredibly exciting.

The second trend to watch out for is the increasingly diverse and complex usage and role of mobile devices in retail decision making and transactions. Smartphones are being used to search, to price check, to find physical stores while on the move, as well as at home as a replacement for the traditional desktop and laptop usage. What this means is that we need to dramatically re-think the mobile experience to help provide the right experience for each of these types of users, as it is not a one size fits all experience nor is simply being “mobile compatible” nearly enough.

A Word for CIOs

While I am not a CIO but an agency working with clients facing these changes and challenges, the biggest change we are seeing (and helping to usher along) is the conversation around the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), which depending on the organization may be a discrete role, or one that is intertwined with the traditional CIO. But for retailers to succeed, executive ownership over digital is required in today’s environment.

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