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Comment: Unlock the potential of your data


It’s the end of a long, but successful day at the office. Whilst you are making your way home, your favourite clothes shop catches your eye. You have some time to spare - this seems like the perfect opportunity to find a new jacket for work.

You are enjoying browsing and see some jackets that might fit the bill. You’ve been in this shop a few times before and you show the shop assistant the jackets you would like to try on. Of the four, only one is available in your size. In addition, the shop assistant suggests some others she thinks you might like but they’re the wrong colour, style and price. As hard as you try to hide your disappointment, this isn’t the service you expect, need or want. After politely looking at the irrelevant suggestions, your interest has dwindled and your frustration leads you out of the shop empty handed.

Painting a different scene, whilst browsing you see some jackets you would like to try on. Although you’ve been in this shop a few times, you’re by no means a regular and surprised to be greeted by name by the assistant. As you tell her what you are looking for, she confirms your size (you are impressed she remembers) and off she goes to find it. Not all the jackets are in stock, but she brings some similar styles and one you admired on a previous visit. With many options available, in the right sizes, styles and colours, you walk out the shop with more than one new item, happy and satisfied. More importantly, you will be back because you can count on this shop assistant to help you find what you are looking for.

In the world of online marketing, it’s no different. Retailers need to tread a fine line between communicating what’s relevant and what could be considered as irrelevant noise. With click-through-rates of email resting at around just 3 per cent, what can marketers do to increase the chances of winning and keeping life-long, loyal customers through their campaigns? It’s the difference between what you do and do not know about your customer.

Today, many organisations fail to understand what consumers want, whether it’s their favourite brands, what communications they want or how often they want them. Armed with information about customers and their preferences, there is an opportunity for businesses to engage in more meaningful conversations. After all, consumers will want to share their data with marketers if they can give them what they want and when they want it.

The power of knowing

The secret is customer intelligence. This process of gathering and analysing information about customers, their preferences and their activities can help retailers to build deeper and more effective relationships. To succeed in online retail, marketers need to be brave to get the most value from the goldmine of information stored on customers. The customer needs to be placed first, not the product. After all, the consumer is an individual and should be treated as such.

Leading fashion brand, OFFICE Shoes, uses carefully tailored welcome emails to ‘get to know’ its customers. They are encouraged to sign up to their email programme via a registration page and can choose which additional information to share. They are then incentivised to add further details by entering a prize draw. Once customers register on the OFFICE website, the preference centre makes them aware that by adding their interests, they will receive more relevant emails.

With 80 per cent of all marketing emails going unopened, OFFICE’s ‘Welcome Mail’ targeted campaign succeeded in raising open rates. This way, customers are much more likely to respond and statistically the message has a better chance of success, resulting in higher open, click-through and purchase rates.

The tools on offer are all about making it easy for retailers to gain insight into their customers and use it to their advantage. Armed with insight into customers’ buying behaviour, companies can ensure valued customers don’t slip through their fingers by being irrelevant.

In any commercial agreement, relationships are important. They require mutual benefit and this personal knowledge is crucial to building loyal, trusting relationships. The value of this customer data should never be underestimated, with 49 per cent of consumers unsubscribing from email lists after finding the emails irrelevant. By only delivering highly personalised content, retailers will see higher response rates, higher levels of customer satisfaction, lower levels of customer disengagement and a reduction in their overall marketing cost.

Published on Monday 17 December by Editorial Assistant

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