Customer Data, Retail

Data Trumps Everything, and Other Takeaways from Digiday's Retail Summit

Customer Data, Retail | May 10, 2019

Last week, we had the pleasure of attending the Digiday Retail Summit in Austin, TX. We had a great time meeting some of the industry’s most interesting and successful direct-to-consumer and digitally native brands. We also enjoyed more than our fair share of BBQ!

At the end of the conference, Digiday’s retail editors, Hilary Milnes and Anna Hensel, summarized what they were hearing from the event and put together their top five takeaways. Here is our perspective on the challenges facing the retail industry.  

Digiday Takeaway #1 - Over-dependence on one channel remains a top source of anxiety

QuickPivot’s Perspective: It’s no surprise that Facebook and Instagram were a topic of discussion at the event. For years brands have relied of Facebook as a way to send targeted ads at a relatively low cost. However, lately advertising costs have, at best, become volatile, and at worst, skyrocketed. 

More brands are exploring out-of-home options, but we were surprised to not hear much about direct mail. Direct mail is a great channel because it can be used for prospecting and customer retention. Learn more about how you can tie a direct-mail strategy into your digital and email programs.

Digiday Takeaway #2 - Channel diversification is important, but attribution is still a mystery

QuickPivot’s Perspective: According to Deloitte’s annual CMO survey, social media spending has fallen for the first time since 2017. Rather than putting all of their eggs in one basket, brands are diversifying their advertising spend. Emily Boshwichtz, VP of marketing and acquisition at Hims, spoke about how they test two dozen or so different channels at any time, including home, audio, newspaper and TV.

There’s no doubt that new customer acquisition is a necessary priority, but we also believe that there are huge opportunities for brands to better manage the brand experience that customers receive across channels. By creating a cohesive brand experience across in-store, digital, e-mail and direct mail channels, brands should be able to expect improved customer LTV and AOV.

Digiday Takeaway #3 - There are many ways to define personalization

QuickPivot’s Perspective: A topic we talk about a lot at QuickPivot is the difference between personalization and relevancy. Including a customer’s name in an email isn’t going to move the needle on your conversion rates. But referencing a freak snowstorm in the middle of April to customers in Chicago, and promoting your winter products that are currently on sale? Now that stands out, especially if your competitors are sending them warm-weather merchandise that they can’t relate to. 

In our opinion, relevancy trumps personalization every day. Relevancy is about understanding your customers and being able to send 1:1 messages at scale so that you’re providing them with the experience, promotions and merchandise that resonates with them.

Digiday Takeaway #4 - What makes an influencer – and how to keep them engaged – is evolving

QuickPivot’s Perspective: Word of mouth marketing has been around for centuries, and influencer marketing is the new iteration. It’s WOM on steroids, but much more expensive. The process of finding the right influencer, that’s within budget and reaches an audience you care about is enough to make your head-spin.

QuickPivot is constantly helping our clients better understand their customers, shopping trends and segmentations. We’d recommend identifying a group of your customers who have the highest LTV or purchase frequency and see if there’s a customer within that segment that you could promote as an influencer and evangelist for your brand.

Digiday Takeaway #5 - Stores are expected to do more than ever

QuickPivot’s Perspective: Showrooms! Experiences! Sales channels! What is the purpose of the store today? There’s no one size fits all answer, as it all depends on your particular brand. However, what is true for every company is that the store needs to reflect what shoppers see across all other marketing and sales channels, and any data collected in-store needs to be appended to digital behavior.

By collecting and integrating this data, you should be able to gain deeper insights into your retail operations and impact. Insights such as:

  • How does a store opening temporarily impact sales both online and offline in that geographic area?
  • Do people typically purchase online or in-store first? Does in-store purchasing affect overall LTV?
  • What is your overall store conversion rate? Does it vary if someone has already purchased online before?