The onset of the digital age has transformed customers’ expectations when it comes to the shopping experience. Amazon’s famous one-day prime delivery is perhaps the most obvious (and extreme) example; long lead times and expensive delivery fees aren’t nearly as understandable nowadays as they were when online shopping was in its infancy. Changing customer expectations don’t end there, though. As technology matures and improves, customers want their preferred shops to provide speedy, personalized, and informed services as conveniently as possible.
As a result, retailers have to work harder than ever to earn people’s business, let alone loyalty. That means having access to reliable and accurate data about the customer that associates can put to use for the customer, such as making personalized purchase and upsell recommendations, or following up on past purchases. However, these services, among many others, are reliant on the most valuable digital commodity of our times, and that’s data.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Data is great stuff. With enough quality information, you can gain incredible insights into your customers, and even make pretty decent inferences about those you’re not collecting data on. However, there is one serious drawback; in an age where every website collects cookies, every click is recorded, and GPS tracking is an everyday occurrence, we create truly gobsmacking amounts of data. What’s worse is that most of it’s useless. As Vice President of Sales Execution at Walk Me Jeff McKittrick told Forbes magazine, “There is more data around the revenue stream available than ever, but without the right analytics and ability to get the selling insights quickly to front line sellers at the pace of business, it’s all just noise.”
Truly Actionable Data
Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to clear the static and get to the statistics you can actually use. First, and likely the most common, is to process and reshape your data into a useable form. This means bringing all your data together into a data warehouse where analysts can parse it to find useful insights and distribute the information to the relevant departments. Data visualization is another method suggested by researchers at the Journal of Decision Systems though it’s not without its pitfalls either.
Of course, not all data is created equal either. If you find yourself or your associates overwhelmed, focusing only the most valuable data is another viable solution. This isn’t to say the huge amounts of data that can be collected have no value; take a look at how these fine retailers are using their data to drive consumer-focused strategic initiatives if you don’t believe us. Just remember, when it comes to driving frontline sales, it’s important you’re empowering associates with valuable data and not confusing them with unnecessary information that can disrupt interactions. Remember when Target accidentally exposed a daughter’s pregnancy to her father by sending a mailer of coupons for pregnancy products? That’s just one infamous example of why you should only expose useful information like customer profiles and product usage data to frontline associates.
A Multi-Pronged Approach
In fact, product usage data is among the most valuable types of data you can collect. It tells you how your clients are using your products, how often they’re using them and for how long, as well what their pain points are and how to address them. That means product usage information is versatile and can be used across your organization which make is particularly actionable.
For example, understanding which features of a product your customers are using the most (and, hopefully, how they’re using it) can help inform future design decisions. On the other hand, for marketers, product usage data is great for just-in-time messaging while nurturing leads.
Of course, while improved product design, marketing, and even support in some cases all make product usage data valuable, getting it into the hands of your frontline associates is where it really shines. That’s because it can alert associates to up- and cross-selling opportunities at the point of sale or even earlier, creating additional opportunities to better address more of your client’s needs and in turn drive more revenue and customer goodwill simultaneously.
The Right Tools
Regardless of what data you decide to collect and how you process it, you’re going to need a speedy and reliable way of getting that data into the right hands at the right time. That means having the right tools available. You can capture and clean all the data you like, but it’s worthless unless you can get it into the hands of someone who can put it to good use.
That’s why it’s important to have flexible 3rd party tools in your digital toolbox. In today’s (almost) post-pandemic digital world, many customers find it unacceptable (and personally, a little embarrassing) for retailers to focus exclusively on a single sales channel using slow, unreliable technology. Customers want simple but personalized omnichannel experiences, and retailers want straightforward solutions that are easy to integrate into their technology stack. For example, instead of creating a Frankenstein website full of different chat functions, event planning applications, and a problematic inventory management system, consider powerful multipurpose retail tools. Salesfloor, for example, uses an integrated recommendation system to allow associates to leverage product usage data to make recommendations at every touchpoint, including during live chats or while virtually assisting online customers. This is in addition to powerful product catalogs, inventory searches, and lead automation.
Modern retailers failing to take advantage of the vast amounts of customer data available these days are missing out on important opportunities to better serve customers both online and off. By reimagining your sales processes to include properly integrated advanced applications that can provide valuable, actionable data to associates on the frontline, retailers can better anticipate and support client needs and improve both customer loyalty and ultimately their bottom line.
With the Salesfloor platform, retailers enjoy 3-d visibility of actionable data they use to improve profitability. Learn more by booking a demo today.