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Data, Loyalty, and New Marketing Trends [Q&A]

We sat down with Clarissa Schealer, VP of Sales at Clutch, to get her take on leveraging consumer data, creating a mobile-first shopping experience, and where retail marketing is headed in the new year.

With the holidays in full swing, what are some ways retailers can leverage consumer data to delight their customers during this busy shopping season?

There is no better time for retailers to show shoppers some love than during the busy holiday season! First off, we know that a shopper who buys across both bricks & clicks has a higher Lifetime Value than single channel shoppers, so it’s especially important for retailers to enable a seamless experience across the board. For example, if I purchased a snowboard online, surprise me with an offer to come in to my local store for a complimentary expert boot fitting. Unveiling a new product? Invite your best shoppers to an after hours Sip & Shop VIP reveal party—for the cost of a few bottles of bubbly you can create a fantastic customer experience. If I identified myself as a female at some point but have only purchased holiday gifts from your menswear line, send me a lookbook of your new women's line with an invitation and offer to "treat yourself!" Consumers are sophisticated and they know you know a lot about them. Don't let shoppers down, use that data to make their lives better, and your sales stronger.

In recent years, the rise of mobile shopping has disrupted the traditional customer journey. How can retailers adjust their marketing strategy to incorporate a mobile-first approach?

Mobile phones have become the most integral, if not most intimate, part of our lives. Use that strong connection to mobile devices to your advantage. 97% of the time mobile messages are opened within 3 minutes, so use that urgency to push flash sales, offers and new releases right into the hands of shoppers. It’s important to make sure your mobile messaging strategy isn’t siloed—incorporate segments and other communication channels into a seamless strategy where mobile engagement is a logical part of the omnichannel experience. Let your shopper be the point of sale by enabling their next purchase in real time, particularly as mobile conversion rates are set to outpace desktop purchases in the coming year.

What are three best practices that retailers should keep in mind when it comes to their loyalty program in 2019?

Your loyalty program should motivate a change in behavior. Gone are the days of rewarding for repetition, today's retailer wants shoppers to be more engaged with their brand. If I have purchased 5 coffees, don't reward me with an offer for yet another coffee because (surprise) I’m probably going to buy one anyway. Try to entice me by selling across your product line, give me a free sample of a cookie (yes please), or double points on a scone. Odds are, I may buy a sweet treat with my next coffee, increasing my AOV and my Future Lifetime Value. Mix things up—don't rely on promotions to get the job done, leverage content to motivate shoppers. Your best shoppers could unlock private tutorials, look-books and style guides to generate a buzz and get shoppers excited about product. While it's great to spell out your rewards program for the sake of clarity, everyone likes a little surprise & delight once in a while. Try some behind the scenes A/B testing. Unlock hidden rewards for shoppers with a high Future Lifetime Value—then incorporate the strategies that work into your program and roll out the winning incentives across the board.

How can retailers maximize their use of consumer data to create a winning customer experience in the new year?

Valuable data points are often left untapped by marketers, yet when used correctly they can be a powerful lever in shortening the customer purchase journey. Here are my top four tips on effectively using data:

  1. Create efficiencies within your marketing strategy. Figure out who your best shoppers are, focus your marketing spend on those with the highest Future Lifetime Value.
  2. Use data to shorten the customer journey and figure shoppers out faster so you can put more of what they love—or will soon love—in front of them.
  3. Make sure your data is actionable. Retailers have access to massive amounts of data, and the challenge often is making it useful and accessible to the marketing team.
  4. Make use of what you know about shoppers. Things like communication channel preferences, style & color likes, cadence and propensity to purchase are low hanging fruit.

Dust off your data and put it to work!

What do you think are some of the biggest trends in marketing retailers can expect to see in 2019? How should retailers adjust their strategy to take advantage of these trends?

Retailers do a great job in store of gauging likelihood to purchase—your best floor staff knows that if you put a product in a shoppers hand, ask them pointed questions or just keep them engaged, they are more likely to purchase. Bringing that same insight to the online experience is a game changer. In real time, algorithms can figure out an individual’s propensity to purchase with or without an offer or other incentive, by using historical data, even 3rd party data like demographics and social affinities can be layered over to add additional insight to a shopper that has no history with a brand. If I'm not likely to buy, maybe a special offer will be unlocked before I leave the site or abandon my cart. If I've never purchased strong colors and I'm hesitating on that that smokey eye pallet, maybe a tutorial will be unlocked to give me that extra nudge of confidence to make the purchase. Figure shoppers out faster, shorten that journey and making the shopper the point of sale #RetailGoals2019 .

Clarissa Schealer is VP of Sales at Clutch.  Clutch puts shoppers at the center of everything brands do by identifying, understanding and motivating shoppers to make purchases and stay engaged across all channels. Clarissa has spoken at the University of Washington's Entrepreneur Incubator, Woman In Wearable Tech, Amazon Web Services Start Up lecture series and UPS E-Commerce Strategy Workshops on retail strategy & customer experience.  

Topics: Clutch, Q&A, General, partner

Written by Rachel Hobble