If your company is one of the many relying on the holiday shopping season to deliver a big portion of the year's sales and profits, you know that means it's the most important time to deliver the best and most consistent customer experience across all the touch points your customers use. Making a mistake that frustrates your customers—or not being able to fix a mistake quickly—can cost your company dearly during this hectic shopping season.
Investing in the right customer analytics is the first step toward protecting your performance in the holiday season.
Imagine it's Nov. 25—Black Friday. Two days ago, your company launched a campaign for its new cutting-edge product, just in time for the big holiday kickoff. Your team thinks all the pieces are in place to boost sales and meet the goal of increasing revenue by 10%.
The team did its research—analytics from last year show that the most traveled path to purchase involved social media promotions that led to a purchase on mobile web—so ads on social media sites, offering a sale price and free shipping, are a key element of this year's campaign.
Now the campaign has been out for a couple of days. You dig into your analytics to check how customers are responding to the offer. And you're shocked.
The campaign seems to be driving plenty of traffic to your website, but conversion rates are way down. Customers are visiting the site, even putting the product in shopping carts. But they're not completing the sale.
You don't have time to waste.
With the right customer analytics approach, you can quickly pinpoint the problem area. For example, tapping into your analytics, you could look at visual representations of the journeys that most commonly led to shoppers abandoning their carts. With each channel represented, you would be able to see that a common factor in this is social. Drilling in farther, you would determine that something was going on with Facebook.
With this information, you could check your Facebook page, looking at when the abandonments started, and find out that a promo code had been entered incorrectly by the design team—so that when the customer enters the code on your website, he receives an error message and eventually gives up. If you find that sort of problem, you can take action quickly. In this case, not only do you immediately fix the typo in the ad, but you can also retarget the customers who abandoned their shopping carts with a fresh offer.
If you have this depth and breadth of analytics—customer journey, behavior and struggle analysis—all under one hood, you don't have to go to five different places to find out what's wrong. You can quickly gain insights and take action while it still matters.
Despite all the customer data available today, many marketers find they still struggle with understanding their customers. Information is fragmented, stored in silos across the company and never brought together. Each department uses its own analytical tools, often specific to individual platforms, and if a company tries to get a holistic view of the customer, it takes a huge amount of effort and time. The customer journey appears as a set of unconnected touch points—and it's difficult to put any insights to work for the brand.
That lack of coordination is never more apparent than when a problem happens, and it's impossible to track down the source of that problem and fix it.
Having your customer analytics in one place allows you to see how one channel affects the other. You should have easy visibility into how behavior is connected across all key channels, including web, mobile, social and in-store activity. Teams can work in concert and dig in together for a root-cause analysis, no matter where in the journey an issue may appear.
Everyone in the retail space knows the competitiveness and speed of the holiday season is unmatched. Shoppers are out there buying. You and your competitors are vying for share of mind and wallet. And if you are not executing flawlessly, if you don't have the ability to quickly identify and resolve problems in order to deliver that outstanding customer experience, you are toast. You will lose potential customers, potential sales and the fourth-quarter revenue you're counting on.
The holiday season, more than any other, is the time you don't want to make a mistake. But if you do, you need to be able to figure it out fast. The ability to uncover the problem and respond quickly starts with the right customer analytics.
About the Author
Elizabeth Magill manages marketing for
About the Sponsor
IBM helps you create unbreakable bonds with your customers. Through a powerful set of tools and solutions for marketing, e-commerce and customer analytics, you can understand your customers, identify the moments that matter most and respond immediately with experiences that surprise and delight. Become a customer-oriented business, unleash the power of cognitive commerce and tap into an endless universe of information and possibilities. Learn more at ibm.com/cxanalytics.