Customer Relationship Management

How to use consumer data without alienating customers

Collecting consumer data is like preparing for a Tinder date. Before meeting the potential love of your life, you want to know who the person behind the perfectly crafted online profile really is. After all, no one wants to end up dating a criminal or a serial killer. But would you tell your date that you spent two hours stalking her social media profiles to find out about their interests so you don’t run out of things to say? Probably not. Using someone’s personal information to your own advantage does not always work if you are only trying to exploit it for your own good. How would it feel like if your date suddenly knew that you loved watching the new ‘Thor’ movie with your sister two weeks ago and how obsessed you are with the new Ed Sheeran song right now even though you never told her?

The same applies to brands and the way they utilize customer information. Building a solid data pool with valuable consumer insights is essential for brick-and-mortar stores in order to survive the ever-changing retail landscape. However, knowing how to use the sensitive customer data without being too intrusive is key. The goal is to create a personal, easy and valuable customer experience. Just like on a good date, brands have to ask themselves how the collected data can help customers instead of solely focusing on the companies’ benefit. Here are 3 simple data management rules you can use to improve your CRM strategy without alienating your customers.

1. Create value for your customers

Online brands such as Amazon have set new standards for creating personalized retail experiences. The modern day consumer expects retailers to provide individual offers based on their needs on every channel. And using modern Retail Analytics technology, brick-and-mortar stores can collect and profit from the same valuable consumer behavior insights that the online retail has been using for years. Thanks to Offline-to-Online Retargeting methods, brands can message their store visitors with tailored ads based on their shopping preferences derived from their store visit. But how do you use set up an effective Retargeting campaign with offers based on the collected data without being too intrusive?

Instead of trying to manipulate customers into buying something they don’t need, brands should use the data insights to provide tailored offers that cater to customers’ wishes. Don’t drown customers with offers trying to trick them into buying something they don’t want . Instead, focus on creating value for your customer. Ask yourself which information will help your customers reduce their search and evaluation costs or risks. That is the only way to create long-lasting customer loyalty.

Shopping Experience

2. Make the shopping experience more effortless

Great brands should not only use their insights to increase sales. Consumers want retailers to use their data to make their lives easier across their entire customer journey. From the information process to the check out, the whole shopping process needs to be arranged as smooth as possible. By combining the collected data from different channels, brands can set up an effective omnichannel strategy that makes the shopping experience more effortless and satisfying for customers. The problem is that most retailers only focus on collecting and storing information in rigid data silos. Your website might remember your customer’s previous online purchases but your store associates probably don’t when the customer enters the store. Break down those data silos in order to create a more seamless shopping experience across all channels. Use customer location data and heat maps to understand traffic flows in order to optimize your store’s layout.

3. Make your customers feel special and show them that you care

Store visits, traffic flows and conversion rates are necessary information you need to know in order to survive in today’s fast-paced retail environment. But amidst all the data, brands should not forget why they collect all the information. The answer is: personalization. Use the data to prove that you care about your customers. Knowing about their shopping preferences is good but if that is the only thing you focus on, consumers will quickly feel like you are only using the information to maximize your sales. And that throws a lot of people off. You have to take advantage of information that goes beyond shopping behavior. Use things such as birthdays, names and payment preferences in order to create a more personal relationship. A good store owner knows who you are and remembers your shopping preferences. That is the reason why small local businesses provide such a great and personal experience. Create customized marketing campaigns based on this type of information and know when to back off. Set up a user-friendly customer service so that your customers always feel understood.

Personalized Marketing Campaigns

A reliable brand uses its consumer insights to help customers

The reality is that we live in an age where people don’t mind sharing personal information with brands as long as brands use the data to provide valuable help for their customers. In order to do so, retailers need to utilize modern analytics technologies to build an efficient data pool of relevant customer information. Big Data solutions enable retailers to create memorable shopping experiences that build strong customer relationships and increase loyalty. Pursuing the right strategy, brands can bring customer loyalty to the next level and make sure that great customer service always comes first.