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Why is Customer Intelligence Important to Drive Ecommerce Growth?

Customer intelligence is your new best friend. As an ecommerce store, customer intelligence is knocking at your door for insights and paving the way for your omnichannel growth.

This 360-degree view of your customers will differentiate you from your competitors. It will increase how relevant you are to those customers who are becoming ever-more demanding within the digital space.

So what is customer intelligence all about? And how the heck can you use it to drive your ecommerce growth? This article will answer all those questions for you, and I’ll walk you through these five valuable customer intelligence use cases:

  • Customer Journey Personalization
  • Product Tags
  • Email
  • Ad Retargeting
  • In-Store

What is Customer Intelligence?

Let’s unpack it. Customer intelligence is, in short, customer analytics made actionable. For ecommerce, this means gathering customer data and seeing how you can turn this data into insights to better serve your customers. It’s the way you can gain a competitive advantage because it’s taking customer analytics, centralising it, and then transforming it into action for every department to use across multiple channels.

For example,

Retail behemoths like Amazon who are “customer-obsessed” – are working from the customer “backwards” in order to innovate new products and campaigns.

why is customer intelligence important - Customer Centric

This is essentially what customer intelligence is and why it is a concept that is revolutionising the retail industry.

I don’t have to tell you that your modern-day customers are tech-savvy and demand curated experiences. This is your everyday reality. Yet customer intelligence is bridging the gap between what your customers want and how you are able to deliver these needs. It’s thus an important step forward for any ecommerce ambition to compete with the likes of Amazon by turning data into intelligence.

How Do You Get Customer Intelligence?

It’s great to have ambition and foresee growth. Without that attitude, you won’t succeed. But how do you get started with all this customer intelligence stuff? Here are a few ways you can collect customer intelligence:

Behavioural Data from your online shop

Data online is endless – it’s both your struggle and gift. What you can collect from behavioural data includes:

  • Tracking cookies
  • Referral pages (ads, google)
  • Devices (MacBook, PC)
  • Locations (geographical)

Yet, maintaining the balance between transparent data usage and insights using data will be key to your success. Behavioural data of this sort will thus drive customer intelligence.

Focus Groups & Interviews

Another way you can collect data is by talking to your customers. You’re probably thinking: obviously. Yet in these AI, machine learning (ML), and Big Data days, people often forget that human touch.

why is customer intelligence important - focus group

So while these emerging technologies are great to profile online shop customers, focus groups and interviews will allow you that one-on-one interaction with different customer segments. Customer dialogue is a process that builds trust, identifies pain-points, and allows you to validate or reconsider the information you have already gathered on website behaviour and transactions.

Market Research & Surveys

Expand the 360-degree view of your customers by including:

  • Market research
  • Competitor overviews
  • Surveys
  • Trend-tracking

These tools will give you an overview of what’s trending and where the opportunities are to excel (but check to see how you can realistically participate in trends according to your service vertical and industry). Those are just a few tools you can use to collect customer intelligence.

But I know you’re here to hear about the good stuff. So:

How Do You Use Customer Intelligence to Drive Growth?

Centralise Your Data. Before doing anything at all, you need to be able to organise all this customer data acquired from the tools above.

How do you do this? We recommend using a Customer Data Platform (CDP). CDPs bring all the data collected from first and third parties together. This will allow you to have a better, more cohesive view of your customers. Many CDPs use AI to predict high opportunity segments to target on-site or segment in off-channel campaigns. This level of customer intelligence is indispensable to creating highly effective and relevant marketing campaigns. CDPs analyse data across all touchpoints in the customer journey and therefore make things more accessible and streamlined: a nice little stepping stone towards customer intelligence. In fact, the best retailers today are breaking down the barriers between departments, and you can start too by centralising your data and allowing all departments access to it. Then everyone will have the insights necessary for growth.

Actionable Insights: Putting Data into Context Omnichannel

  • Customer Journey Personalisation

customer journey

With your handy CDP in place, you can now automate interactions with your shoppers at different touchpoints in the customer journey. But, more importantly, these can all be personalised. For example,

Based on the demographics or psychographics of your online shop visitors (don’t worry we’ll cover these buzzwords later), you can tailor:

  • Your banner copy
  • Product meta-descriptions
  • Nudge messaging
  • Product lister pages
  • Recommendations

To facilitate their shopping process.

Moreover, When I look for products, recommendations based on my previous searches are never a bad idea:

customer intelligence - nike

Nike

Similarly, at checkout, certain nudges can help me inform my purchase, like price comparison to my last visit, “has decreased by 14% since your last visit!”. Trust symbols or a localised checkout page (with the right currency and different payment platforms) are static nudges that will also have an impact on conversions. If I can’t pay with PayPal then that will sometimes make my mind up for me.

trusted relevant messages

Relevant messages delivered at the right time will relieve the stress of shopping and therefore decrease cart abandonment.

When my website journey is completed in the fewest clicks possible, with easy to navigate product lister pages and frictionless check-outs, these will keep me coming back to the same store for more products.

ecommerce website of the year 2019 - skullcandy

Skullcandy

Of course, personalisation using customer intelligence helps you go the extra mile.

Skullcandy, for example, won the best ecommerce website of the year in 2019.

Their shop by “mood” page shows how they understand their industry and cater to the desires of their shoppers by offering product suggestions based on moods and months. Given they sell earphones (and thus enhanced musical experiences), this is a meaningful take on customer intelligence that differentiates them from their competitors, whilst making their website easier to navigate. They can also reuse this data by looking into the segments that respond to different moods, to better understand how their customers feel and divide them up accordingly.

The bottom line?

Customer intelligence is all about using data to anticipate your visitor’s shopping habits, in order to curate their journeys from the beginning (product listing pages) to end (checkout).

  • Product Tags

Product tags are another way in which to collect customer intelligence. This can provide insights for marketing teams to merchandise. But be warned:

For this kind of interdepartmental cohesion to occur, you first need to make sure all customer data is un-siloed and easily accessible (your CDP will help with that!).

With this information, you can track what tags customers respond to best, in order for your products to appeal to them on a deeper, value-driven level. For example, If you have a micro-segment of customers that usually shop for eco-friendly fashion, then overlay your sustainable products with the tags “green”, “eco-friendly”, or even “fairtrade”.

footlocker - popular product shops

Footlocker

If another segment visits your store that previously responded to Social Proof tags (like bestseller or the above example “popular”) you may want to highlight the products that have these attributes as these will increase conversion rates. In this case, AI would be a good way to automate these tags since it learns on past behaviour. These insights will help optimise your products in relation to customer feedback and facilitate conversions.

  • Email

What better channel to apply your data than email? On some occasions, this is the highest converting channel. So what are you waiting for? Use customer data to segment your audiences according to their demographics or (if you want to get to know them on a granular level) their psychographics. Let me explain.

nastygal - email campaign

NastyGal Email Campaign

Whereas demographics reveal gender, country, age, race, and occupation of your online shop visitors, psychographics reveals their values, interests, and preferences. Psychographics is the missing piece of your data puzzle!

miro-segment customer data

Armed with this knowledge you will be able to create micro-segments that deep dive your data and produce personalized email marketing campaigns for your high-value segments.

  • Ad-Retargeting

Yet another way to leverage your data, retargeting ads will bring customers back and drive your revenue up. But with so many ads these days, it’s important that yours don’t get lost in irrelevancy. Use your data to understand who to target and with what products, but also make sure your retargeting is done in a timely manner, without overloading your customers. Aggressive, bad ads will often backfire, so to ensure yours are done in a proper way it’s important to invest in ad hoc marketing and real-time analytics.

evolution of advertising

Leverage social media for your ad-retargeting. Again, I don’t have to tell you about the benefits of a social media campaign. Personally, I spend time considering an Instagram photo ad. I have the feeling many of my millennial counterparts will do the same. But this might not ring true for all generations of social clickers. Therefore, understand your market and which social media platform they shop on the most before retargeting.

The more channels you are on, the most exposure you get, and the more likely your previous online shop visitors will think, “Oh yeah, I did want to buy that!” and come running back to you.

  • In-Store

Whoever told you that brick-and-mortar is dead is either cynical or totally, utterly, wrong. Physical stores are very much still alive, and will probably be for a long time to come. I’m no optimist, I just know that customers value the tactile feel of shopping in brick-and-mortar. So instead of simply shutting down, retail leaders are combining the physical with the digital in their in-store initiatives to stay relevant. The same merging should be done with customer data.

Applying customer data in-stores will be the cherry-on-the-top for your customer intelligence strategy.

beablog interactivity

Beabloo interactive kiosk NBA China

You could:

Place products that are frequently bought together online literally closer together in-stores, as these will increase your conversion rates. Prepare your in-store inventory in relation to high-impact occasions, seasons, or trends. Pair products with their best performing message to help guide shopper decision-making

Customer intelligence can also help optimise the in-store experience by analysing footfall traffic, giving data to frontline employees who help with recommendations, and tracking KPIs and metrics per branch.

Conclusion

That’s a lot of use cases that your data can enable.

Yet armed with these tools, you will be able to drive your ecommerce growth and compete.

Now it’s up to you.

If you’d like to learn more about setting up your own online shop, you can speak to our ecommerce experts on 0333 004 0333 or request a callback here.

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