How to transform retail data into loyal customers

How to transform retail data into loyal customers
March 12, 2024  |  BY

It’s not what you sell, but rather the data you use to sell it. That’s the winning sales philosophy for today’s retailers. Indeed, your actual product offering plays only a small role in modern day retail success.

From grocery chains to clothing outlets, leaders understand that the higher the quality of data, the better the customer insight, market analysis, and potential for profits and growth. And the secret sauce is mastering how to engage consumers with the right data-driven content at the right time.

But data is not a commodity; where you source it has much to do with its potential to deliver positive results. For example, while your own data is generally helpful, you shouldn’t completely rely solely on consumer activity at your physical stores and online shops. Doing so hinders you from seeing other possibilities within the big retail picture.

External data sources provide a richer, more granular perspective of consumer behaviors and preferences. As such, you can more precisely match offers and marketing messages.

In other words, with external data, you gain better insight to personalize content and, in turn, truly connect with all of your consumer audiences.

Among many things, data allows you to see beyond a consumer’s purchase history. Sure, what one has bought over time can offer some value. However, there’s more gold in those hills of consumer data if you look for it.

Step back and take a wider view by combining research, demographics, life stage, lifestyles and behaviors. All of these elements will provide a more comprehensive consumer understanding, which ultimately means more opportunities to precisely reach new and existing customers. Discover what people want, not just what they buy.

On that note, while it’s important to know what customers think or recall doing, spend insights provide data about what they do. There’s simply no substitute for what’s in the bag when consumers walk out of the store – virtually or otherwise.

Learning about actual consumer spending gives you objective facts on which to base your messaging and offers. There’s no guesswork, no subjective decisions, no hoping you connected the right dots. But as we mentioned previously, don’t focus on your own data. Look at your competition’s performance – and lack of it – to find gaps where you can capitalize with targeted promotions and content.

Another key for retail success is to look at mobility data. This means having the ability to constantly react to changing consumer profiles and tastes. And that requires you to understand not only the amount of shoppers at your site and stores, but also who they are as individuals: their demographics, where they live and work, and their other preferred brands.

All of this data allows you to build a customer growth engine. Rather than reacting without a clear strategy, you can now understand which customers to target and proactively implement a strategic content plan. Equipped with fully defined audience profiles, you can then easily locate and target prospects via social media, email, and other marketing vehicles. And you’re able to do so without relying on third-party cookies and their ever-decreasing relevance.

The big payoff, of course, is having more revenue opportunities than ever before. Even more, the data at your fingertips fosters deeper, long-term customer relationships.

That said, retail leaders need a plan to go from strategy to execution. To do so, they must embrace both traditional and innovative external data enablement methods.

To begin, map out a plan by defining key business goals and where you identify areas calling for further success. Look for holes in your current audience profiles, competitive analysis, and marketing strategies.

It’s also wise to seek support from partners who offer a mix of traditional and emerging data sources, activation tools, and industry insights. And most of all, connect your internal knowledge about the market with fresh perspectives.

Remember that, although data is just a series of stats and numbers, with the right mindset it can be transformed into a profitable retail strategy.