Patrick HeadleyPatrick HeadleyApril 5, 2019
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9min326

It is clear we are racing head first into a data rich world, meaning businesses cannot afford to mis-manage their customer data.

Customer data management is a fundamental part of a company’s marketing strategy, as 83 percent of companies expect data and analytics to become more important in the business decision making process over the next five years. Optimal data management practices equip a company to gather insights which can be used as the cornerstone for Customer Experience improvement initiatives.

Improved Customer Experience is a clear-cut way to keep customers buying, thus increasing businesses’ revenues. However too many businesses are struggling with how to make sense of the available customer data; they lack the ability to merge cross-channel data thus hindering their ability to draw meaningful insights and consequently optimise revenues.

Therefore, it is of paramount importance for investors to include searching questions on good data practice as a standard part of their investor briefing. Asking the right questions will elicit the necessary insight for investors to determine whether the data management practices embedded at the target business are as mature as they should be and whether they will have an influence on the return on investment. 

Here are five crucial questions which (institutional) investors can pose to corporations to better understand how well a business is managing customer data and whether or not their investment is well placed.

1. What is your share of customer?

It is crucial for investors to understand whether the target company knows their customers’ spending profile, the reason being to understand what potential ‘share’ of the customer’s wallet the target company holds. Customers split their spending across varying providers on a day-to-day basis therefore knowing the share the target company has of each of their customers will help investors determine the growth potential for those customers.

If a target company is able to demonstrate to an investor where the growth potential lies, it will show investors that the target company has access to fundamental insights on customer data and thus are well placed to grow the share of customer further.

2. Are newly acquired customers still buying a year later?

Continuously putting effort into acquiring new customers can be an expensive undertaking for some businesses, especially if those customers are not staying for the long-term. Investors need to look past whether the target company is offering sufficient customer acquisition incentives and focus on whether newly acquired customers are still buying a year later (and more). Customers who disappear shortly after acquisition highlight to investors that marketing spend is being wasted.

The target company should have the necessary data to highlight to investors that they have a proper grasp of their customer insight. Therefore questioning whether a recently acquired customer is still spending a year later will show whether the target company is using customer insight properly and will help gauge how the company will fare in the long-term.

3. Who are your best customers?

Collecting and analysing the right customer analytics will arm the target company with the crucial information needed to see if it is recruiting the best customers to fit the business’ priorities. Typically there is a key group of customers who contribute the most to profits; usually they buy high-margin products, don’t alter or abandon an order, pay on time, and don’t require much attention post-sale.

It is important for investors to ask this question so they can see whether the target company is wasting its time on a cohort of customers who in actual fact turn out to be the least profitable. If investors have clear evidence that the business knows what type of customer profile to keep targeting then they can be reassured about long term growth.

4. Which customers are in growth or decline?

A critical question not to be ignored. If the target company can report that its best customers (high value, high loyal) are in decline, then it is important that customer data is being used appropriately to reverse the trend. It may be the case that these customers are demanding discounts or are just looking elsewhere in the market.

The key for investors when asking this question is to determine whether the target company is using customer insight to pursue look-alike customers. Has a particular group of slightly less valuable customers been targeted with internal growth strategies to replace the declining group with potential high value and high loyalty contenders?

5. Do you have an integrated online and offline view of your customer behaviour?

When it comes to enquiring about the target company’s marketing strategy, the key for understanding marketing success is seeing how much incremental revenue a company’s marketing activity is generating. Any savvy investor will know that incremental revenue trumps isolated marketing campaign measures such as response and open rates.

Customers are influenced on a day-to-day basis by a variety of channels, and as confirmed by our latest research it is companies who combine online and offline methods who produce the highest commercial results. There are now a variety of techniques for harmonising all behaviour/transactions of a given customer into a single, integrated, 3600 view, and only if the target company can achieve this (and demonstrate this) will customer insights be valid and actionable.

Conclusion

Deciphering whether a business has a well-implemented and well-managed strategy for managing their customer data is critical for any investor, as the potential for future growth will be apparent. More and more customer data is becoming accessible and it is up to businesses to collect, analyse and use it to bolster their marketing strategies. Investors need to probe the business for their key customer figures to establish how advanced their customer relationship strategy is, as well as identify which tools are in place to effectively manage and analyse the plethora of available multichannel data for future growth.

Using the above five questions will help investors to get a feel for how mature a company’s customer insight management processes really are.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 21, 2019
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3min490

A new report has found that 20 percent of marketing and CX professionals feel they will “never truly understand” their customers’ buying decisions.

The study from analytics firm Clicktale, titled Defining Digital Experience, states that part of the reason for this is due to 34 percent of marketers and CX professionals being unable to unite data between their web and mobile-optimised sites to create a single customer view, while 39 percent struggle to unite data from their websites and mobile apps.

This inability, the report continues, also means that 71 percent of brands can’t action customer insights in real time, while 73 percent are struggling to provide a consistent experience across channels. Ultimately, this lack of ability to understand customers is hindering brands’ chances of securing customer loyalty and damaging potential sales.

The study explores the current state of digital with 200 marketing and CX professionals working in some of the world’s leading brands in the UK and the US. The report uncovers how brands are building a strategy around Digital Experience, including who is ‘owning’ the function, and what technology they’re deploying.

Clicktale CMO Sara Richter said: “With so many brands struggling to build a single customer view, is it any wonder that marketing and CX professionals feel they cannot build a true understanding of their customers?

“But while uniting data is undoubtedly key, so too is capturing the right kind of data – beyond the usual demography, geography, purchase history and preference. Very few brands are tapping into the power of behavioural data, which enriches the marketer’s understanding of the customer immensely. With behavioural data and the right analytics, brands can better serve customers, improve loyalty and drive more repeat revenue.”


Rees FlynnRees FlynnMarch 6, 2019
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9min422

Spring has certainly sprung in the UK and many high street retailers will be looking ahead to how they might refresh and renew their offering to entice customers.

The pressure remains high for bricks-and-mortar retailers as well as online brands following a challenging previous year of sales and increased competition. Over the festive period high street brands overall saw store sales drop by 1.9 percent in December for the sixth year running and there was a surprise profit warning from ecommerce leader Asos.

With consumer confidence at its lowest in five yearsnothing is certain for retailers in 2019.

The high street is at a turning point and stores must adapt to reflect shoppers’ changing tastes and habits in the digital age. Offline and online shopping have their unique challenges, yet incorporating cutting-edge WiFi connectivity and analytics in-store is a simple, powerful, and cost-effective way for retailers to maximise the benefits of both channels.

WiFi connectivity enables retailers to revitalise their store by taking it online and delivering the ultimate best-of-both shopping experience which adds personalised value for today’s consumers.

A straightforward shopping experience

It is time to spring clean the in-store experience for customers who prefer simplicity and effortlessness over busy department stores. With no time to waste, busy shoppers will appreciate in-store WiFi to quickly browse the retailer’s online site for more product information or perhaps order a product which is out of stock in-store.

Connectivity is also important for customers to access order details if they have chosen a click-and-collect service, whilst WiFi supported messaging services allow shoppers to quickly communicate and get opinions from friends and family. Spring means new product launches and promotions and it can be a challenge for retailers to drive sales. Therefore, to attract modern time-pressed customers, the physical shopping experience has to be quick and effective.

Seventy-one percent of shoppers say they use mobile in-store, with 83 percent in the 18-44 age bracket, confirming that mobile is a key platform for engagement between retailers and customers and providing a robust connection will help drive customers into your shop. WiFi makes it easier for shoppers to log into mobile apps and consult the latest offers or perhaps the Wishlist they made at home.

Retailers should not forget that their ecommerce site works in tandem with their store and this is never more important given the current cross-channel competition. Maximising your WiFi means increased sales volume across digital and physical channels and increased customer engagement.

Shoppers increasingly prefer a self-service approach in retail and WiFi connectivity provides the ease and flexibility to browse from their smartphone. Simple digital tools such as in-store WiFi enabled tablets for self-service help customers to access whatever they might need whilst shopping and saves them time.

New consumer tastes deliver deals and discounts

Consumer confidence is struggling amidst economic uncertainty and retailers need to energise their services with something customers can trust, which is where providing value for money becomes critical.

We are a nation of increasingly savvy shoppers, scouting the best discount codes and promotions to lower the costs. For instance, while Barclaycard saw a 20 percent increase in the number of transactions over Black Friday from 2017, the amount spent dropped by 12 percent. Retailers can deliver competitive prices, which is especially important for today’s customers, and make promotions as accessible as possible by promoting their discounts as soon as customers walk in store via their WiFi’s fully-branded User Experience.

Greeting the user with the latest news and promotions once they log into the WiFi User Experience will increase the likelihood of sales and impulse buys, whilst also creating a more personalised experience. As one of the key consumer trends, personalisation helps to strengthen the brand-customer connection and drive customer loyalty.

Although retailers are struggling, the high streets are still crowded with options for shoppers, twice as many as need be according to one report, and retailers will want to ensure customers choose their store above others. Maintaining loyalty is critical for high customer retention and stores might consider loyalty programmes and incentives integrated directly via the WiFi or available on apps which can be accessed via in-store connectivity. The best loyalty programmes will use multiple methods to encourage users to shop with your brand again and again.

Get to know your customers in 2019

Seamless WiFi connectivity is a great incentive for customers, but it can also enhance your understanding of what customers want thanks to advanced WiFi analytics. The identity of the modern shopper is changing. Today’s consumers are heavily influenced by brand experience and stores which offer memorable experiences, whilst less disposable income means customers want well-priced, quality products. Any insights on how customers engage with your store will help brands to meet expectations.

WiFi analytics reveals data such as how many people enter your store, their average dwell time, which department sees highest footfall and the most popular marketing subscriptions, insights which can influence store layout and targeted promotions to better serve the customer. Data analysis can make a great difference for retailers and enable them to provide a more competitive service.

The way shoppers browse and spend is always changing according to the time of the year and continually analysing insights on how customers interact in-store will help retailers to improve the Customer Experience and how they relate to their customers straight away.

Shoppers’ brand expectations are increasing at a rapid pace, with cutting-edge WiFi high-street stores can not only deliver the mobile connectivity which customers demand but also have a detailed view as to what customers will want next and why.

In the current dog-eat-dog climate of the high street, where competition for increased footfall is rife, ignoring the potential benefits of digital connectivity could sound the death knell for many businesses commercially speaking which is why they need to act now to avoid being a casualty.




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