Over the last few years, becoming truly customer-centric has become vital for retailers to succeed in today’s consumer-led world.
Those retailers that put the customer at the heart of their organisation and deliver an engaging and personalised experience are gaining loyal customers and market share from their competitors.
Not only does focusing on the customer make business sense, but research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer.
The modern day consumer has extremely high expectations of the brands and retailers they shop with and now expect a seamless, personalised shopping experience across multiple channels.
As a result of these growing expectations, retailers are continually under pressure to improve the experience they give their customers. Larger retailers are creating customer experience roles and teams to help lead change across the organisation.
The first step for many has been getting the customer service and logistical elements of their business in shape. Better stock management and access, fast and low-cost delivery options and caring customer service are all good housekeeping measures which help increase conversion and retention.
But where do you go from here in order to stay ahead of the game and grow market share in 2016?
You now need to unlock the power of customer intelligence in order to make smarter marketing and business decisions and deliver an experience that engages customers at every level.
So what is customer intelligence?
Customer Intelligence is the product of three main capabilities:
- The ability to collect, manage and manipulate customer data
- The ability to turn that data into behavioural, holistic and predictive knowledge
- The ability to use that insight to make change within the business
Once those elements are in place, you will have the ability to use customer intelligence to make impactful change.
One of the great advances of ecommerce marketing is the ability to collect and analyse data on individual customers to help you understand more about your customers. For example:
- Transactional data tells you what your customers have bought and when they made a purchase
- Website analytics will tell you how your customers are behaving on site
- In-store data collection will help show you which online customers also shop in-store
- Email data will tell you which customers continue to engage with you and shop online
Using the above data to split customers into segments will allow you to start defining different types of customers and tailor your experience to them accordingly. The first step to customer intelligence is to start collecting, managing and manipulating the above data more efficiently.
Once data capabilities are in place, the next key stage is to build on that data to create a well-rounded knowledge of the customer on both a holistic and behavioural level. This will allow you to really understand their personal values, needs and expectations.
You should aim to find out the following information about your customers:
- Personal values
- Online and offline shopping habits
- Media consumption
- Lifestyle and hobbies
Understanding the information above can lead to marginal gains across the entire shopping journey. The more detailed a picture you have of your target customers, the easier it is for you to start tweaking and improving their customer experience across your digital touch-points.
Using both quantitative and qualitative data to personalise the multi-channel experience to meet the needs of customers is now the ‘Holy Grail’ for retailers.
This is where the final element of customer intelligence comes into play.
There is no point in having a deep knowledge of the customer if you are unable to use that knowledge to make impactful change within the business.
Many retailers spend a large amount of money on customer insight that then sits in a corner gathering dust as the business does not have the processes or resource to use it effectively.
Only those retailers that have a culture of ‘test, measure and learn’ throughout their business and the processes to support it, are able to turn insight into true intelligence. You must have accountabilities for sharing customer knowledge with all relevant stakeholders. Those stakeholders must then have the resource and skill to use that insight to make changes, measure the impact of those changes, learn from it and then share findings with the wider business.
Retailers must make 2016 the year they build on their customer insight and experience strategy in order to gain true customer intelligence. By ensuring the three capabilities above are in place throughout the business, you will be able to:
- Set well-informed and realistic business objectives
- Prioritise budget and resource to the most relevant parts of the customer journey
- Ensure marketing strategies are both optimised to minimise waste and personalised to drive better ROI
- Build more meaningful relationships with customers that increase satisfaction and loyalty
Leapfrogg and rais have created the Customer Intelligence Index to enable you to benchmark your customer data and insight capabilities, your level of customer knowledge and your ability to use it to make successful changes not just to your marketing but the wider business.
Click here to take our free online survey and get your own Customer Intelligence Rating.