Today, data may be a four letter word. It’s coming from every direction: mobile, online, in-store, on- and off-line marketing efforts, and customer service touch points. Whether it’s online, mobile, or in-store, connecting the right person with the right product at the right time is dependent on data and the ability of retailers to identify and immediately act on customer behavior in real-time. Can your shopper find what she’s looking for quickly? This is where Real-Time Customer Behavior (RTCB) comes into play. RTCB helps retailers better understand customers’ purchasing patterns and preferences, and then use those insights to enhance the customer experience. And a better customer experience translates into better conversion rates for retailers. Here are the top five reasons why RTCB should matter to your retail business:

  1. Signifies customer intent

What is a customer looking for and why? For example, if a customer is browsing formal dresses, it could indicate that she has a formal event coming up. This presents an opportunity to cross-sell coordinating shoes and accessories to “complete the look”. Perhaps offer expedited shipping to ensure the dress arrives in time. In another scenario, a shopper goes onto a shipping supplies website for the first time and looks up large cardboard boxes, packing tape, and other packing supplies. This could indicate she is preparing for a move. If another customer visits the same site and searches bulk packages of tissue paper and smaller shipping boxes, it could indicate that customer has or is preparing to launch a small business. Knowing the intent of the customer is a powerful tool in being able to offer relevant products along the customer lifecycle to satisfy their current needs.

  1. Identifies where customers are in the purchase cycle

Real time customer activity also gives you clues as to where customers are in the purchase cycle, and knowing where they are in the purchase cycle provides insight into the types of products and information that would be relevant to them at any given time. This is especially helpful if you sell products with longer purchase cycles, like electronics and cars, where customers do more research before making a purchase decision. By marketing appropriately at each stage, you create a much higher likelihood for conversion.

  1. Provides opportunities to deliver positive customer experiences in real time

By understanding a customer’s current behavior, you can enhance the customer experience in real-time and present content and products which could add value to and facilitate the decision process. For example, the customer who is searching for moving boxes and packing tape could be presented with content on the best way and the best products to pack fragile items, as well as services such as the top ten movers in her area.

  1. Informs future marketing

By using RTCB to understand customer intent and where they are in the purchase cycle, you can also identify additional future marketing opportunities. If customer behavior indicates she is in the process of moving, opportunities to market follow-on products and services such as painters, cable companies, furniture, and housewares open up. This is an ideal way to deepen and add value to the relationship.

  1. Builds Loyalty

Customer loyalty deepens when customers feel like a retailer knows them. Retailers show customers they know them by using the data they collect to deliver highly personalized shopping experiences. Done well, it gets progressively easier to continue to earn their business over time. The customer behavior data collected, feeds into a more comprehensive profile about a specific customer, which includes demographics, purchase history, and preferences. This profile is enhanced over time with each additional interaction and helps drive increased relevancy for future shopping journeys. This establishment of brand loyalty becomes a critical trigger for lifecycle marketing.

Today, retailers collect data on RTCB in various ways, but often that data isn’t connected to anything else. As a result, it isn’t being used to help improve the customer experience in a significant and holistic way. This prevents retailers from realizing its full value to the bottom line. Sophelle offers retailers a comprehensive strategy on how to harness RTCB, including planning, road-mapping, and solution selection. Sophelle is dedicated to finding out where a retailer is in the RTCB collection and implementation process, where they want to go, and how to get there. To find out how Sophelle can help revolutionize your business, click here.

Contributed by: Julie Barile