When you’re thinking about big data, it is important to remember that it’s not how much data you collect, it’s what you do with it that matters. You can collect all the data in the world, but if you aren’t gleaning actionable insights to grow the bottom line, that data is essentially worthless.
Amazon and Netflix are the epitome of effective use of analytics to drive product sales and program development and to predict what customers want. Unfortunately, most other retailers didn’t have the innate advantage of being born in the Information Age – as well as the deep pockets of these goliaths – and have been struggling to play catch-up over the last decade. However, despite the industry as a whole being somewhat behind the big data eight ball, many retailers are using analytics to capture a bigger share of wallet and drive customer loyalty. Here are just a few examples of companies who have found useful – and sometimes creative ways to boost business.
Vineyard Vines: Leveraging AI To Provide Personal Experiences
This specialty apparel company experienced rapid expansion several years ago, and they quickly realized that their blanket approach to communicating with customers was not delivering the ROI needed to build long-term relationships. So the company took matters into its own hands and invested heavily in AI and retail automation technology. Over time, Vineyard Vines was able to correlate customer behavior with the company’s product catalog. They can now leverage AI to determine the precise timing and content of campaigns to send hyper-relevant communications to individual customers. The tech considers everything from product preference to timing of spend to price sensitivities to help Vineyard Vines predict a next sale, know the right time to contact specific customers, predict customer lifetime value activity and more. They continually work to build personalized relevance to deliver a unique and individual approach to online shopping.
Costco: Using Data For Public Good To Build Trust
Like most major retailers, Costco tracks what and when customers buy. However, they are using that data in some surprising ways to build customer trust and loyalty. We’ve all seen food recall announcements that say, “If you bought X product at Y retailer between specific dates, get rid of the product.” Those warnings are helpful but also frustrating to people who potentially have to toss good products.
However, Costco uses data to contact specific customers who purchased only those specific items under recall. When a California fruit packing company warned about the possibility of a listeria contamination in some of its products, Costco reached out by phone and a follow-up letter to customers who purchased those precise items. Their data is so robust and accurate that Costco was actually able to help the CDC find the source of one salmonella outbreak several years ago.
Target: Winning Pregnant Mothers Early
Any family that has welcomed a new baby knows that after the birth, they are suddenly inundated with offers for diapers, wipes, formula, clothes and more. However, by that point, most families are set when it comes to where they shop for their new baby.
As you may recall a few years ago, Target wanted to get in with these families earlier – targeting women before their baby is born to solidify business for the next several months and years. By tracking women’s purchases of common pregnancy-related items like vitamins, washcloths and lotions, they were able to target women who could be early on in their pregnancies. After an incident where a teen was sent ads for bibs and cribs before she told her parents she was pregnant, Target realized the “creepiness factor” of their new practice and has since gotten more subtle (and more successful), spreading out their communication and toning down congratulatory language.
Red Roof Inn: A Light In The Storm
Economy hotel chain Red Roof Inn isn’t a retailer, but they are a shining example of creative ways to use outside data to make marketing decisions. There are fewer things more frustrating to travelers than canceled flights that require an overnight stay. Finding a nearby hotel can be a challenge and only adds more frustration to the entire ordeal. But passengers get stranded all year long thanks to inclement weather, and Red Roof Inn decided to capitalize.
They used weather data to predict when airports were likely to be hit with major storms that could lead to canceled flights. Knowing that stranded passengers would immediately turn to their mobile phones to find accommodations, they hyper-targeted ads to mobile devices in the area around those airports and saw a 10% lift in sales in those areas.
Where Is Your Data Analytics Niche?
Vineyard Vines and Target use data analytics in “traditional” ways to build customer relationships, but Costco and Red Roof Inn have found interesting and creative ways to boost loyalty and sales, as well. Data can be leveraged in myriad ways to boost your brand, strengthen loyalty and lift sales. How will you leverage your data to capture a bigger piece of the pie? The experts at Lift361 can help you use analytics in a way that speaks directly to your customer base, allowing you to gain a distinct advantage over your competitors.