Happy customers tell nine people--on average--about their good experience. Unhappy customers tell 22 people their tale.
That has always been a problem for retailers, but the onset of social media and mobile has turned it into a an even bigger challenge. A new study by The CMO Club, released here in New York at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show today, found that omnichannel personalization is the key to success in today’s data-infused digital landscape.
The industry has a mix of definitions for omnichannel. The CMO Club study defines it as right message, right customer, in the right place, at the right time.
“Regardless of where the retailer is, it’s the customer that’s omnichannel, not the retailer,” Pete Krainik, founder of The CMO Club, told attendees in the Big Ideas breakout room at NRF’s Big Show. “There are all these different touch points, and retailers need to embark on a path to figure out where their customer is and what’s important to them.”
The customer is now running the show, according to Krainik. He warned that it can’t be business as usual anymore, and that it’s time to make the shift from the old-world push model to a two-way dialogue model.
How does one do this? That was the purpose of The CMO Club’ new research, in partnership with retail technology platforms 5One and Revionics. The companies commissioned the help of 12 major retail CMOs, who essentially helped map out the journey for retailers.
The first step to becoming truly omnichannel is putting your big data to work. It’s about turning big data into actionable insights.
Retailers have their CRM and POS, traditional survey data, and all the “old data.” Now they have newer sources of data from mobile and social media, blogs, and such. Once they have consolidated all of this data (old and new) to obtain a single view of the customer, the next step is to figure out how to systematically operationalize the data. This is no easy feat.
“We learned that the leading retailers go in and analyze which departments in their organization can benefit from which data,” Krainik said.
Dick O’Brien, director of product marketing at Revionics and one of the authors of the report, said that another major consensus among the 12 CMOs was the need to listen to customers and then indicate you’ve heard them by taking action.
Nadine Dietz, SVP of global marketing at 5One and another author of the report, emphasized the importance of understanding what you are looking for and which channel to look at. Retailers should be fielding discovery, and then engaging, converting, and retaining customers.
“Be part of the dialogue at every touch point so that when conversion is happening, you’ve influenced the customer at every stop on the way,” Dietz said.
Every customer has a different path to purchase, but, according to Dietz, certain tools can help understand customers at the individual level. But to start, marketers can apply lenses through segmentation. Even just separating your customers into Millennials and Boomers can help optimize marketing.
Measuring results is also an important point in the report, according to O’Brien. The key is figuring out which metrics are indicative of the behavior of the consumer. Identify these points, O’Brien suggested, and use them to measure the success of the organization.
“CMOs say they don’t have all the skills and resources in-house,” O’Brien said. “Be very open about using outside resources.”
Another big point in the report is the idea of breaking down organizational silos and opening the lines of communication and collaboration. “Turn the organization on its head and make it go from being product-centric to customer-centric,” he added. “Organizational changes are no easy matter.”
Where do you start? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all scenario. The authors of the report asked the 12 CMOs how they figured it out. The consensus was to look at the customers and which products they buy, and then look inward. What are your strengths? Work off of that.
“If you build on your strengths, it will be easy to get CEO buy-in as well,” O’Brien said. “Start with strengths and run forward.”
Petco, for example, decided it wanted to leverage the social space with customer-driven content sites when it started its omnichannel transformation. According to O’Brien, it created an emotional engagement with customers. Petco is heavy with content on forums, educational sites, and such, all of which has been a great success for the brand. And as people engage in these helpful communities, they know Petco brought it to them.
Dietz used Quiznos as another example of a retailer that’s reaping the benefits of omnichannel personalization. Technology is Quiznos new mantra, and it has focused its efforts on taking its loyalty programs to the next level with real-time customer recognition. Quiznos has a technology that recognizes a customer when he/she walks through the door and sends a deal to his mobile device. But there’s more. The cashier is also alerted that the customer is now there and can tailor the in-store experience based on that.
“There are all different road maps,” Dietz said. “And the CMOs we talked to for this report said the transformation took at least two years to achieve. Taking the first step is key. And then you just keep learning and keep building."
Download the full report here for free. Registration is required.