Measurement is a Vital Component for Retail Success
Retail has been completely flipped on its head. An industry, which once solely relied on brick-and-mortar locations, has undergone a massive transformation with the introduction of the digital ecosystem. The shift to online and in-app purchases may lead some to believe that physical store locations have been rendered obsolete. However, the reality is that couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales have grown nearly 4 percent annually since 2010. And of the top 50 online retailers, almost all of them operate physical store locations.
With the in-store model still a critical component of success, it’s important for retailers to find a balance between in-store and digital approaches — that includes measuring campaigns across all channels. While many retailers still have brick-and-mortar locations, the majority also interact with customers through digital channels. That means brands need to understand how digital campaigns impact in-store purchases just as much as the e-commerce channel.
Historically, retailers have relied on isolated metrics to measure campaign effectiveness, such as website traffic, mobile clicks, abandonment rates and form completion. To take it a step further, each of these metrics was likely measured for each communication channel separately. In other words, retailers measured the effectiveness of siloed channels, not the overarching campaign. That approach doesn’t paint the complete picture.
Retailers that measure the entirety of a campaign by assessing all touchpoints can assess which components were more impactful, and how the components contributed to the campaign's success or failure. Those insights also better position the retailer to course correct and optimize future campaign components on-the-go. For instance, just because a campaign didn’t lead to expected results, retail marketers don't need to start from scratch — the answer could be as simple as adjusting the audience segment. Reaching the right audience is as critical to campaign success as any other element.
Effective measurement is reliant upon a retailer’s ability to accurately resolve customer identities. Retailers understand their customers’ interests and purchase patterns within their narrow ecosystem, but they need to connect their data with third-party data sources to gain a more complete view. The additional insight can provide a glimpse into interests, preferred communication channels and devices, as well as the time of day for more effective communication.
Proper identity resolution, and the use of advanced analytics such as machine learning to connect those attributes, also opens the door for retailers to connect transaction information to campaign exposure data. With the limitless number of digital touchpoints, it’s important to understand how the audience interacted with campaign elements, and ultimately what led them to purchase. At the end of the day, an effective advertising campaign leads to awareness, acquisition, retention and/or loyalty. The ability to connect the dots of identity enables retailers to measure their campaigns against these outcomes.
For example, let’s take an individual who sees an ad for running shoes on TV, which then leads her to learn more about the shoe on her smartphone. While the individual didn’t purchase the shoes at that moment, she did visit the brand’s website on her laptop later that night. The next day she purchases the shoes in-store.
Three touchpoints influenced the individual’s behavior. However, without proper identity resolution, two of the touchpoints may appear unsuccessful, even though they both contributed to the end result of a purchase. When campaigns are planned out thoughtfully, all of these touchpoints are measurable.
People engage with retailers through a variety of channels, including online, in-person and via apps. With that in mind, retailers need to assess every campaign component and understand how each one influences a purchase. The more retailers can move beyond isolated metrics and focus on the entirety of their campaigns, the better positioned they'll be to continuously learn and optimize future communications.
Aimee Irwin serves as vice president of strategy at Experian Marketing Services. Experian is the world’s leading global information services company.
Aimee Irwin serves as VP of Strategy at Experian Marketing Services. Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. Aimee is a skilled strategy and corporate development executive with deep experience in digital marketing and advertising and track record of success in developing and building profitable new digital and mobile businesses at both early stage and public companies.
Aimee led strategic partnerships and strategic initiatives for Nielsen’s Marketing Cloud where she negotiated and managed strategic data and identity management partnerships supporting Nielsen’s data targeting and marketing effectiveness businesses. Aimee also served as SVP of Strategy and Partnerships at Verve Mobile, a leading location-based mobile advertising platform. At Verve, Aimee developed and led Verve’s mobile application business and inventory partnerships with hundreds of media companies. Prior to Verve, Aimee was VP of Strategy and Corporate Development at AOL, where she was responsible for strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic partnerships for AOL’s advertising businesses.
Previously, Aimee held executive positions at several successful internet and mobile companies including: Lightningcast, an Internet video advertising company now part of AOL, Leap Wireless, a large U.S. wireless carrier and Backwire, an internet and mobile marketing company acquired by Leap. Aimee started her career in consulting with KPMG and Bain and Company. Aimee has a BS from Georgetown University and an MBA from Kellogg.