Retailers appear to be suffering from an acute case of “all mouth and no trousers” when it comes to providing a seemless connection with shoppers, because too few are using the data which they have at their fingertips.
That is the conclusion of a new study by GI Insight, which shows the days of consumers just going to the shops are long gone – the buying “journey” is often a complex one that involves way more than one medium.
The Omni-channel Imperative reveals that 71% of shopping journeys today begin online, while just 18% start with a visit to a shop. They often end elsewhere, however, with 42% typically buying via the web and 31% purchasing in a shop, leaving roughly a quarter who don’t see themselves as having any one ‘usual’ purchasing channel at all.
Of those who start online, 78% say a personalised message following a website visit would make them more likely to buy, even though 43% stipulate they would only do so if they had a prior relationship with that brand such as membership in a loyalty scheme.
The report points to the growing importance of tying real-time online interactions to existing consumer relationships – and the need to use customer data to do so.
Of those questioned:
· 13% visited a website and were then sent an email offer
· 7% responded to an offer through the post followed by an email reminder
· 6% visited a website and then received an offer through the post
· 6% got an email offer followed by a reminder text
GI Insight managing director Andy Wood reckons the findings indicate that the vast majority of consumers would welcome genuine efforts by companies to take a more customer-centric approach.
He said: “Unfortunately, the research reveals that far too few companies are successfully implementing a true omni-channel strategy – either they are not really using multiple channels to reach consumers or they are not employing customer data to craft coordinated, relevant.
On the plus side, Wood explained, this indicates there are opportunities to gain a competitive edge for those that do execute effectively across all touch-points – especially with digitally active younger consumers.
He concluded: “The key today is for brands to harness both long-term offline data, such as transaction records, and real-time online data to achieve a true 360˚single customer view. This then gives a business the consumer insight necessary to provide an informed, coordinated and consistent customer experience that transcends individual channels – which can otherwise languish as unconnected silos. What’s more, tapping into both offline and online data enables your company to react fast and win over consumers as and when they’re making buying decisions.”
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