Using Data to Get it Right with Female Shoppers

Marketers Assume Those Who Abandon Their Online Cart Are a Lost Cause, but They're Not

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When it comes to women and media consumption, data are abundant. Check any research blog or trade roundup, and colorful charts are in ready supply. But, a word of caution to any marketer: Data are only as good as our thoughtful analysis and application of them. By taking data at face value, too many marketers get it wrong with women.

What are the common data-driven misconceptions, and how do we correct for them? How does reasonable data sometimes steer us wrong on our execution? We have only to look at a few examples, to see how being just a little more rigorous with data can get us more in sync with women.

A Re-targeting Opportunity
E-commerce data typically include stats on shopping-cart abandonment. A brand may be disappointed by the abandonment numbers, but these should be taken as pointing to a phased marketing opportunity.

I listen to my trusted partner Greg Coleman at Criteo, who fields this kind of concern all the time. A large percentage of cart abandoners are first-time visitors to a website. Says Coleman: "Women's lives are so filled with interruptions that reminding them of their shopping intentions through re-targeting is a welcome form of marketing. We have found this in our research, and it is clear by the high click-through rates." Looking too quickly at these stats marketers may assume a loss rather than an opening.

A report based on online transactions of 600,000 shoppers, released in late 2011, describes consumer behavior after the dreaded "abandonment." Even "serial abandoners" often come back and buy more: 42% of shoppers who abandon carts do so an average of 2.4 times over a four-week period. However, nearly half of them will respond to re-marketing or cart-reminder emails, compared with only 18% of those who abandoned their carts only once. Much to a marketer's surprise, those with an abandonment habit may be a secret sweet spot. When these folks do come back, they spend 55% more than less frequent abandoners.

Since we know that women -- after checking around a bit, as they are inclined to do -- often come back to a site, why not execute strategic media re-targeting strategies or women-targeted onsite merchandising strategies?

The Connected Woman Out Shopping.
Looking outside of e-commerce to brick and mortar, there are also digital-usage habits to consider. Many companies still do not realize how much time women spend researching products, reading reviews and checking with their social networks before they enter the store. Marketers should factor these behaviors into their marketing strategy to drive traffic off- as well as online.

There is also more to understand about women's online behavior once inside the store. In the past, getting the consumer into the retail location was half the battle, but now that 's only a step in the process. Today's women continue their research while in the store. They are on their mobile devices researching products and comparison-shopping, while strolling the aisles or racks.

The array of online activity extends well beyond simple browsing. Why not consider these touch points? Tap into these behaviors and develop strategies to engage these women around shopping, where off- and online habits intersect.

Data for data's sake will never serve us well. If we want to understand behavior and do something with it, we have to think more deeply about the data at our fingertips.

Bonnie Kintzer is CEO, Women's Marketing, Inc.
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