The fact that the retail-marketing ecosystem has been in a constant state of flux over the past few years is as well-known one. As the landscape evolves, every retailer is faced with a few critical questions that she needs to answer as they approach about leveraging data and technology for deeper customer engagement and targeted marketing.
Not all questions will be applicable to all marketers, but let us see how many of these apply to you. Of course, let us know what you think of the answers from the perspective of your specific retail organization - we're all ears!
- Is there a seamless way to collect customer data across our brick and mortar stores, without spending too much time, without appearing intrusive and in a quick and hassle-free manner?
- Am I keeping pace with my consumers? - How am I engaging with them on Social Media and leveraging Facebook check-ins, etc. inside the store?
- Can I connect my online and offline store worlds and see a Single View of the Customer, across channels? - That WILL help me deliver a truly omni-channel experience.
- Is it possible to see how stores are performing on important parameters like New Customer registrations, Loyalty Sales, Customer Churn?
- Do we have a New Joinee Program? And do we run a Churn-prevention Program? What if I could have a "process" around these activities and reduce the dependency on Store Systems, Store Ops and Regional Managers to deploy them?
- What is the "richness" of the current Customer Data? How can I capture, augment and enrich our Customer Data for more efficient targeting and higher rates of Contactability, and in the process, reduce my campaign spends/spam rates?
- If a merchandise is not available at a particular store, do I have the necessary process and systems to drive that sale online, such as not to lose that customer/transaction?
- With the "connected" consumer always willing to "find out and do more research" am I doing enough about cross-channel threats like Showrooming (Research Offline, Purchase Online) and Webrooming (Research Online, Purchase Offline)?
- Is our Campaign Management process long and tedious to the point of us having to "shelve" certain campaign ideas merely because its a lot of "effort" to move data across platforms?
- Is my Email Service Provider seamlessly integrated with data from an integrated Marketing Data Warehouse that connects all sources of Customer Data at one single place?
- Do all my POS terminals remain perfectly synchronized with regard to my customer data, as well as with our eCommerce website?
- Am I empowering the store associate with intelligence that is available to me at the corporate office? Wouldn't it be great if the stores had access the all customer-centric information (like notes, brand/size/colour/category preferences), so that conversations with customers were more meaningful?
- Am I leveraging location-based technologies to tap into prospective customers and using these methodologies to drive footfalls into my stores? Is Foursquare anywhere on my roadmap?
- How can I intercept customers? Are our store-fronts truly "new-age" - Is there a need to deploy digital signages and leveraging real-time touchpoint-enabling technologies like Beacons, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and WiFi?
- Do we give out Promo Codes or Offers to customers and enable them to use it across our store and online worlds? Do we have a centralized coupon/offer management system?
- If my customer data is consistent across platform, my loyalty program should be integrated too - Do we ave the same earn/burn rules across channels to ensure a consistent customer engagement experience?
- Am I leveraging detailed line-item/SKU data to identify the most appropriate, relevant and personalized cross-sell and up-sell opportunities for customers? Is there a process around it, or is some of it being done ad-hoc occasionally?
- How would be if we had a Referral Program that was fully integrated with our CRM and Loyalty Programs? - Would our truly engaged customers love recommending our products and services to their friends?
While most retail marketers would have pondered over at least some of these questions, deploying all of them in a structured manner is often easier said than done. The larger your retail set-up, the more considerations. Is your Marketing team well-staffed to take care of all these items, or would it help if a chunk of these could be "automated" via a platform or deployed on the same, with "managed services"?
If you are a mid-sized retailer working on some (or many)) of these initiatives, chances are that you are already working with a bunch of different vendors and service providers. How would it be if most of these services/processes were consolidated on a single platform, or at least a "fewer" number of platforms to reduce your vendor management bandwidth?