As hybrid shopping gains popularity, many brands are asking themselves how to use offline data to enhance their customers’ shopping experiences, regardless of the channel. Despite collecting large amounts of data in brick-and-mortar stores every day, retailers struggle to use it effectively across the omnichannel customer journey.
A joint Forrester-Dell report found that 70% of businesses were gathering data faster than they could use it. They recognize data’s value, but are still looking for ways to use it to improve the omnichannel customer experience. This alignment is critical to increase sales but also drive better customer retention.
How do you make sure you’re creating an omnichannel customer experience that’s personalized across the entire customer journey? How can you optimize the shopping experience, whether shoppers are browsing your website or visiting your physical store?
There are some interesting ways to use offline data to enhance your online presence (and vice versa). These include using offline data to drive online personalization, analyzing data to create experiences that better match differing customer segments, and improving the in-store experience.
Use Offline Data to Drive Online Personalization
Loyalty cards, in-person purchases, and key demographics like a consumer’s age, education, and income level are all forms of offline data that can shape the customer experience. Just like online data, the data a brand collects offline can power greater personalization for online consumers.
For example, you might apply the data produced by a shopper’s in-person shopping habits to improve the products they’re matched with when browsing online. Consider a parent with growing kids. Paying attention to that parent’s purchasing behavior, their grocery store may find it’s effective to recommend they buy a new jug of milk once a week.
Meanwhile, existing customers who shop regularly might be rewarded for their in-person purchases by receiving points they can use to redeem in the brand’s mobile app or website. It’s all a question of understanding the customer and tailoring their experience, regardless of where they shop.
Wherever you can, create a stronger connection between offline purchases and online benefits. This will encourage consumers to enter your omnichannel ecosystem by providing them with greater overall value.
Craft Experiences for Channel-Specific Customer Segments
One of the most insightful aspects of offline data is what it reveals about in-store consumers vs. their online counterparts. Marketers often focus on fostering a seamless experience, as if that experience should be the same across channels. But in reality, different channels may appeal to different customer segments. Offline data has the potential to clarify those differences more than just online data alone.
An effective omnichannel strategy is becoming the norm, rather than a novelty. Merchandisers need to understand how shoppers differ across the different channels where they interact with your brand. This allows you to strategically alter your positioning and resources in the most efficient way possible.
Take a popular electronics retailer, for example. They compare offline and online data to better understand how those segments differ from one another. Digging into the data, they might find that their in-person shoppers tend to be less tech-savvy individuals who want products that just work, while their online shoppers are more often value-conscious consumers looking for a good deal.
As a result, this retailer might pivot to using scaled-down retail spaces with curated premium products at the same time that their online shopping platform and social media feeds highlight lower-priced items those consumers prefer.
Power In-Store Personalization with Offline Data
Omnichannel shopping opens the door to improving customer experience in-store as well. Mobile, in particular, allows consumers to carry already established online personalization efforts with them into the store. This allows them to unlock benefits as they shop.
Critical information like the day customers tend to shop or the products they purchase can help determine which personalized offers to provide during their in-person experience. A customer returning to a grocery store to do their weekly shopping, for example, might receive a phone notification for a sale on cookies because their historic data indicates they usually shop for milk.
While you likely already know the value of your digital data, building out a complete omnichannel customer journey will be what you’ll need to thrive.
A Great Omnichannel Customer Journey Starts with the Right Platform
Ultimately, combining the offline and online data available to you allows you to unlock a stronger omnichannel experience.
But using data to create personalized experiences at this scale isn’t easy. Online data alone provides billions of customer data points. Every click, every product added to a shopping cart, and every purchase contributes to your brand’s picture of that customer. That’s too hard for even the largest ecommerce teams to track manually, let alone adding offline data to the mix.
Omnichannel success requires a product discovery solution that can analyze data across inputs to make individual personalization possible. It’s here where AI technology can help. Surfacing patterns across customer data sources, machine learning algorithms can identify opportunities for retailers to drive more revenue through omnichannel personalization.
That’s work that no human can (or wants) to do. Outsourcing it to an intelligent product discovery platform like Constructor, merchandising teams can spend more time delivering delightful, profitable experiences instead of trying to figure out where to start.