How much can retailers benefit from customer data?

Posted on Thursday 11th September 2014 2:16

Online retailers gather a wealth of data about their customers which offers great potential to optimise sales, to the extent of being able to surmise not only that a customer is pregnant, but the due date.1 A retailer can then offer appropriate products, although the widely-cited story of a father finding out that his daughter was pregnant through too-focused marketing1 serves as a warning that retailers need to be careful with regard to how customers perceive that their data is being used. (See related article).

^ Signs of pregnancy, as identified by retailers: Purchases of mineral supplements occur within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, purchases of unscented lotion signal the start of the second trimester, and large bags of cotton wool in the third, to the point of potentially predict a woman’s approximate due date, but of relevance to the retailer, what products the customer will need next, and whether home delivery is more likely needed (of the goods, that is).

Retailers can refine what they know about customers through ‘testing’ their responses to offers; do they click on promotions, read further information and – if not buying – go as far as adding an item to their online shopping cart? With 75% of online shopping carts abandoned, it’s important for eMarketers to know how to analyse and understand and amend webshops or individuals’ experiences accordingly: Related products can be advertised in emails to that customer – or appear when next logging in – after all, perhaps they couldn’t find the exact product that they wanted. (More statistics in this infographic)

The potential advantage of knowing that customer is pregnant could arguably be extended to knowing when customers’ children are due to start school, and leave home to go to university, etc…

We have helped our clients, especially in publishing, retail and financial services, implement joined-up analytics solutions to garner insight from their data. To find out how the latest, rapid, powerful analytics technology can enhance your business, meet operational needs and exceed targets, do contact us.

1. Source: How Companies Learn Your Secrets, Charles Duhigg, The New York Times

Related: Do companies need to hide their intelligence?