Partner Voices: How the Right Analytics Tools Can Benefit Your Business
In part one of this series, we discussed the value for retailers in having digital intelligence — i.e., data that provide a holistic view of your customers across all channels, are actionable and timely, and tightly managed. Yet having digital intelligence and acting upon it is only part of the equation. The other part, and equally important, is being able to measure the impact on your business from the actions taken because of that digital intelligence.
In order to do that effectively, retailers need to have the right analytics tools at their disposal.
Evolving Customer Journey
The challenge for many retailers is that their current analytics tools are unable to keep up with today’s digital-first, omnichannel consumers. Sure, they might be providing brands with basic customer demographic and purchase history data, but the customer journey now is so much more complex than it used to be. Consumers are shifting between channels as they browse (e.g., mobile to desktop, desktop to brick-and-mortar), buying in one channel and having the order fulfilled in another (e.g., buy online, pick up in-store), and connecting with customer service across all of them — and all this could be for a single purchase. Think of all the data that can be captured that isn’t.
What results is a lack of personalization, which leads to a poor customer experience, which leads to one-time-only buyers, which, ultimately, negatively impacts a company’s bottom line. It’s a downward spiral that’s hard to break out of — unless you have the right analytics tool.
The right analytics tool for today’s omnichannel retailers goes beyond just data and trends. It provides a deep and laser-sharp focus into how customers are interacting with brands across all channels; replaces siloed systems with a single, unified dashboard that all within an organization (e.g., marketing, customer service, fulfillment, IT, etc.) can access and leverage to make decisions; and serves as the foundation for data-driven decision making.
Breaking Down Silos
Essential to better serving today’s omnichannel customers is having a 360-degree view of each one of them. That’s not possible if data from one department isn’t accessible to another. The same logic applies for communication channels such as web, mobile, email and call center. Consider that 49 percent of marketers agree that organizational silos negatively impact the quality of customer insights, according to Forrester’s 2015 Global Business Technographics Marketing Survey.
So what’s the solution? A single analytics dashboard that offers users all the data in one place to eliminate departmental silos and disconnected views of the customer. And the benefit this provides? Rather than multiple internal departments working to acquire and assemble data to solve their own problem, they can collaborate with other departments to find solutions for the greater good of the customer, which in the end benefits everyone. Furthermore, the time from question to insight, and then insight to action, is reduced from days to minutes.
For example, if a member of the inventory planning team wants to see how a marketing promotion performed in driving sales of a specific product so that the proper amount of inventory can be ordered for that same promotion this year, it’s no longer a time-intensive process. He/she can simply access a unified analytics dashboard, which will give them the answer they need in seconds, and action can be taken.
Follow the Winding Road
The customer journey is no longer linear, particularly online. Customers use multiple channels and devices in their research and purchase of goods. Without analytics that are able to track customers at each interaction, you’re unable to draw meaningful insights from the data you do have. For example, a customer may ultimately make a purchase via a desktop, but their first interest in the product was generated from an email that they opened on their phone. However, without the ability to track that customer journey, only the desktop site is credited for the sale.
In order to optimize decision making, analytics must tie together interactions across multiple channels into a unified view. The benefits of such are the ability to quickly compare path popularity, duration, revenue and customer values across all channels — laptop, tablet, mobile and email. You can then make decisions based on your knowledge of where customers are in the purchase journey.
For example, let’s consider a consumer further down the purchase funnel. They’ve searched for a product on their phone, viewed that product on their tablet when they got home, and added the product to their cart on a desktop at work the next day. But ultimately she ends up abandoning the cart. A simple cart abandonment email — personalized at the product level, and perhaps with a discount attached to it — may help close that transaction. However, that’s only possible if you’ve been able to track that consumer via analytics during each step of her journey.
Get Inside the Minds of Your Customers
Knowing that site visitors are dropping off at the checkout page is useful information; knowing why they’re doing so is game-changing information. This is true both at an aggregate level as well as for a single visitor. Traditional analytics methods don’t provide the why behind consumer behavior.
Fully understanding consumers’ experiences — e.g., why they spent three minutes reading a product’s ratings and reviews; why they searched for the product they did — is the critical first step in making the continuous improvements that anticipate their needs.
Retailers must transition from being reactive to proactive in order to optimize the online shopping experience for their customers, who demand speed and ease of use. It’s no longer enough to give customers what they want, when and how they want it. You must give them what they didn’t know they could have, in ways they didn’t realize existed. To meet this challenge, you must know your customer at every moment and in every channel, and engage them accordingly. When done right, you’ll get what all retailers are after: their loyalty.