How to unite physical and digital retail

Anthony Mullen

Consumers are demanding. Demanding better service from businesses, more personalised marketing, and more understanding from retailers of what they want and when they want it. This poses a problem for retailers that have both physical shops and online offerings. Today’s customer is increasingly expecting that the online offering and the bricks and mortar shop of a brand have the same understanding and knowledge of them. To make this happen, retailers need to be able to marry the data they gather in the physical and online world.

The biggest challenge in uniting the off and online retail experience is being able to identify the same customer that visits or purchases from both outlets. Individually, it is relatively easy to monitor and understand the profile and preferences of a customer. Tracking cookies and email addresses provide the simplest method of data gathering online. Translating this to a physical shop is harder but can be done using WiFi, video cameras and mobile phone signals to track a customer’s activity within a shop. The trick is in linking both sets of information together.

The most straight-forward way is to ask customers for their email address when they get to the checkout and input this information along with what they purchased into customer management software. This data can then be linked to the backend of the online shop. Assuming the shopper is willing to share their email address, this process will lower the barrier between the online and offline profile of an individual. Online marketing efforts can then be tailored to the individual and what they have recently purchased. However, the benefits are one-sided with the offline experience only improving the online service.

Retailers such as Waitrose have started to address the idea of the online experience enhancing the offline experience by using iBeacon technology in their stores. If a shopper has downloaded the Waitrose app and switched on their phone’s location, the beacons will identify them and offer price promotions based on their online shopping habits when they are in the right area of the shop.

Of course, having technology that monitors online and offline behaviour is only the first step. Retailers need to be able to manage, analyse and coordinate data collected online and in a physical shop. In most businesses, the online and offline experiences are usually managed by different teams, therefore, extra steps must be taken to ensure that customer insights and point-of-sale teams from both sides are involved. Making a single individual or team responsible for a unified approach is the best approach. Ideally, the retailer will then implement this connected thinking mentality throughout the entire organisation.

Thankfully, technology that can track customers, manage data and automate marketing initiatives is not prohibitively expensive. Through a little investment and a joined up approach to using the information contained within the online and offline offering, retailers can potentially reap huge benefits. For example, for a fashion retailer, a customer’s journey throughout a shop can be tracked, revealing to the retailer what clothes the customer was interested in looking at and potentially purchasing.

If we know that the physical shop didn’t carry the customer’s size in the item they spent a lot of time looking at, they can later be alerted, via an email or targeted ad, that the item in their size or a different colour is available online. As a result, the physical and the digital stores enter into a mutually beneficial relationship that improves the customer experience and boosts sales.

Note: this post originally appeared in Talk Retail and can be seen here.

 

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What I think about data protection – a respectful rebuttal to Hasan Akyol

Richard-Harvey72I was, until last weekend, terrified of flying. The idea of getting into an aluminium can and being shot through the air into turbulence was something I thought would kill me. Fortunately, the staff at British Airways run a ‘Fly with Confidence’ course. It revealed to me something I didn’t realise about myself, I was anxious because I didn’t really know what was going on and I wanted to be in control. So when I read the blog “Should individuals be solely responsible for protecting their privacy and security online?”, penned by Hasan and Hassan, I had a feeling that maybe some of the argument was based on the same problem as my fear of flying – a fear of the unknown. Continue reading What I think about data protection – a respectful rebuttal to Hasan Akyol

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Should individuals be solely responsible for protecting their privacy and security online?

HAHH

The debate about online security has been going on for years. There’s a sliding scale which ranges from those who believe that keeping personal information private online is a personal responsibility and those that believe that companies have a duty of care to protect any data given to them. Seeing as we are a data science consultancy, data protection and privacy are something that are often discussed in the office we decided to let our Project Architects have a go at it.

Continue reading Should individuals be solely responsible for protecting their privacy and security online?

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What’s in store for wearables data and marketing?

Simon-Farthing72

There’s plenty of discussion on the brave new world that wearable devices offers marketers. Surprisingly, little solid research has been undertaken to test the limits of what information could be collected from consumers via these devices and used by marketers. Even less attention has been paid to how data science could be used to analyse this information and gain profound insights into consumer and employee behaviour. This combination of wearable data and data science opens a Pandora’s Box of ethical and strategic questions on how to balance consumer privacy with highly personal real-time messages. Continue reading What’s in store for wearables data and marketing?

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Here comes the data science bit…

Mike Weston

It is no secret that data science promises to make many aspects of supply chain management and procurement more efficient.

Much has been written about how data science techniques can improve automation, increase freight usages, track vehicles more accurately, enhance customer interactions and visibility, and help responses to external factors such as weather. But these improvements are only fully realised if businesses are aware of, and avoid, some very common problems that hamper the use of data science in procurement.

Continue reading Here comes the data science bit…

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5 questions everybody should ask about their email marketing campaign

Karolina Kruszewska


Here at Profusion our clients often come to us with specific requests. However, not everyone is aware of just how much information we can get out of their data. Our data science team strives to exceed clients expectations and find new insights from their data by using a variety of different analysis techniques. There are a standard set of reports that companies should ask for if they are looking to improve their ROI when enriching their email marketing campaigns.

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How big data can improve your commute

Hahn La-Bell

Some days, my commute is the bane of my life. Overcapacity trains, clogged up bus routes and ridiculous rush hour traffic are not the greatest way to start or end a day. Working in a commuter hotspot like Old Street means that it’s usually busy but during the recent bus strike I had a little extra time for my brain to mull things over. Working in data science, I figured that was a good place to start looking for a solution.

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Everything you need to know about clustering and how it can help your business

Karolina Kruszewska

Since I moved to the UK I have always been surrounded by an international circle of people. Although I still hold a Polish passport, I would call myself more European than Polish.  In my last 7 years here, I have, perhaps a little naively, only experienced equality. I have always treated everyone equally, overlooking their background, age, sex and professional level. It’s for this reason that I’ve fallen in love with Britain.  Even when I finished studying, I was lucky enough to find a job where I could still experience equality. I have been working at Profusion for just a few months and I really feel that although I am only just entering the world of business, my ideas and opinions are as valid as everyone else’s.  I am constantly encouraged to speak out, and as someone who is rarely at a loss for words, this works out well for me.

Continue reading Everything you need to know about clustering and how it can help your business

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