TECHNOLOGY

Shoppers generating the highest lifetime sales value are…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Customers that browse across multiple digital environments hold the highest conversion rates — and lifetime value.

Omnichannel consumers continue to shift between devices, environments and walled gardens, or services restricted to digital members, when making a purchase decision. Based on this purchase behavior, multi-screen mobile shoppers are generating the highest lifetime value in terms of sales, according to “Global Commerce Review for Q1 of 2018,” a report from Criteo.

According to data, omnichannel consumers represent a mere 7% of all customers. Yet, omnichannel consumers are responsible for 27% of all sales.

This customer segment is being driven by mobile shoppers. In addition to making purchases while on-the-go, these customers are active across all browsing environments. However, mobile transactions are no longer confined only to mobile websites.

Apps account for over two-thirds (70%) of mobile e-commerce transactions in North America, for retailers with a shopping app. This trend extends across most world regions, as in-app sales dominate.

Almost half (47%) of all consumers in North America prefer purchasing via app, compared to mobile Web (20%) or desktop (33%). In North America, the conversion rate on shopping apps is more than three-times higher than on mobile Web. Globally, in-app transactions have increased by 22% year-over-year.

“Retailers must prioritize and optimize shopping apps, or risk leaving money and revenue opportunities on the table, as mobile transactions are no longer confined to mobile websites only,” according to the study.

Retailers need a mobility strategy going forward, especially as the mobile market continues to mature. The number of sales transactions on smartphone devices grew 22.5% year-over-year, while tablet and desktop usage declined.

The health/beauty and sporting goods industries comprised the highest share of mobile sales at 44% and 43% respectively, beating out other categories such as fashion/luxury, flowers and gifts, and home wares.

With every transaction, these omnichannel customers also share “digital fingerprints” that present an opportunity for retailers to re-engage them on future visits. Matching this online data with offline information is key to unlocking shopper intent and purchasing power, the study said.

For example, omnichannel data is key to optimizing marketing efforts. Retailers that combine offline and online data can apply over four-times as much sales data to inform their marketing strategies.

“[There are] continuing shifts from desktop to mobile shopping, as well as from retailer websites to apps. Today’s shopper is on-the-go and researching across multiple screens, requiring a cohesive, data-driven approach to intersect and influence buying decisions,” said Jonathan Opdyke, chief strategy officer, Criteo. “For retailers with physical stores, app adoption and improved data infrastructure are opening new horizons in omnichannel marketing, with online and offline blending into a seamless and measurable shopping journey.”

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Email marketing on verge of big changes

BY CSA Staff

Retailers that want to connect with their shoppers on a personal level are trading in mass marketing emails for those that highlight customer preferences and shopping behaviors, according to Tawnya Amdor, chief strategy officer for Listrak. Chain Store Age recently spoke with Amdor, who discussed how solutions, including predictive analytics, customer relationship marketing and artificial intelligence will bolster email marketing strategies and enable brands to personally connect with their customers.


How has email marketing changed in the past year?

At its core, email marketing has not changed much in a decade. However, we are on the verge of some very exciting changes.

First, the adoption of automated triggered campaigns has taken hold. This “set it and forget it” solution enhances traditional campaigns, and allows businesses to reach consumers even during non-traditional business hours, such as evenings and weekends.

The second (and more innovative) change centers on the content, product selection, timing and personalization within emails. These all are harnessed by predictive capabilities led by innovation in data access, processing and analytics.


What is the value of personalized campaigns versus blanket mass messages?

The value is in credibility. Consumers expect that a retailer they engage with is learning about them, just as they are learning about the retailer and what they have to offer. To think that the relationship is still one-sided is archaic.

Personalized campaigns let the consumer know you understand them, and you’re trying to build a reciprocal relationship. Mass blast messages are still effective when you have limited knowledge about the consumers, if you are trying to re-engage them or if there has been a history of seasonality purchasing or browsing behaviors. You can be more effective with your marketing dollars by targeting your communications and maintaining your relationship with your consumers.


Why is it important to unify, interpret and personalize data when prepping email messages?

It is best if you can understand which of your list subscribers are prime for the particular message you are planning to send. This would be the “unify” portion of the data — gathering all that you know about your email list base and then interpreting data to compile the best possible target list.

Then, retailers must leverage the knowledge gained through analysis to personalize messages, predict actions and drive further engagement. The importance is not in the execution of the messages, but in the informed data on your consumers to drive a personalized message, ultimately increasing engagement, which lifts revenue results.


How are AI and predictive analytics empowering retail marketers?

AI and predictive analytics enable marketers to dive deeper than ever before. These tools allow retailers to aggregate across many data points and derive key actions that result in predictive behaviors that allow them to be one step ahead of the consumer in their desired needs.

For example, knowing that the consumer is looking to remodel their home based on previous browsing behaviors and the amount of money spent in certain product categories, marketers can determine the next purchases needed. This is a value add. As a consumer, I may not even know what I need next until those recommendations hit my inbox.


What roles do CRM solutions and marketing automation tools play?

Going forward, CRM will finally change the mindset of “I will just blast the same message to everyone.” I can now create more focused, personal messages in a triggered manner, and I can also segment my subscriber list in more ways than I could imagine. And this won’t take more time, just more thought.

Strategy will become a greater need, and analytical skills will drive all marketing in the future. Data is truly king.


How can Listrak help retailers meet their new email marketing goals?

Our CRM offers powerful data exploration and visualization tools that provide answers to their most important questions. It’s a window into your entire customer’s story, not just subscribers. Then, direct integration inside the Listrak platform goes beyond reporting to make insights actionable.

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TechBytes: Cloud computing trendspotting

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Constantly feeling the pressure to innovate, more retailers are reaching for the cloud to stay on their game. As adoption accelerates, so are retailers’ expectations, making companies eager for new cloud-based innovations.

The following trends, gleaned during the recent Oracle Industry Connect conference in New York, reveal how platforms are evolving and what brands can expect from the next wave of cloud computing:


Increased growth of applications that extend the value of IoT

There are already 7 billion smart devices, and volume will grow to 50 billion devices in five years, according to Douglas Suriano, senior VP and general manager of Oracle communications global business unit.

To harness the rising amount of customer data flowing between these devices, from smartphones and tablets to wearables and appliances, retailers need solutions that can quickly process this information and apply it to customer-facing operations. While many companies already rely on the cloud to access data-driven applications, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and voice recognition, the next wave of cloud-based solutions will focus on evolving “intelligent” solutions, such as blockchain, biometrics, sentiment analysis and robotics. These applications will keep companies on the cutting edge, and improve how they engage customers.


Integration of “connected” applications within cloud platforms

As IoT experiences increasingly become a priority for retailers, they need easy access to supportive, data-rich applications. However, there are challenges to leveraging these solutions. In addition to not wanting to manage hardware and software on-premise, “these solutions are expensive,” said Luis Malave, VP of applications for Lucky Brand. “Retailers can’t spend trillions of dollars on systems, but we still need to be prepared for the changing connected landscape.”

As cloud providers begin marketing these solutions as standard components within their platforms, retailers will have immediate access to applications — especially solutions that can strengthen the customer experience, such as voice, AR and VR, and machine learning. An all-inclusive platform also eliminates the cost of software licenses or bolstering IT teams with dedicated data scientists.


Evolution of autonomous, “self-healing” platforms

The cloud is synonymous for automatically sharing application updates, upgrades and new functionality with users as soon as they are available.

To ensure these updates are secure, cloud providers will begin embedding self-diagnostic databases and machine learning tools designed to monitor and diagnose the health and security of all applications available on the platform. If an anomaly or an outage is detected, the database can run a software patch to repair the issue, a move that ensures the security and integrity of the business application for all users.


Monetized loyalty applications

Consumers expect more personalized experiences and access to information from social influencers — two factors that are taking a toll on traditional loyalty programs. As a result, retailers are reaching for the cloud in search of new, more flexible loyalty models.

Overall, retailers need to move away from mass discounts and promotions and instead adopt programs that reward specific shopping behavior. From subscription-based memberships to rewarding customers for sharing experiences on social media, loyalty programs will become more meaningful and personalized and retailers will find it easier to engage with customers.

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