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2014 IRCE Takeaways

Last week, Internet Retailer hosted their 10th Annual IRCE event in Chicago to discuss the latest digital strategies and trends for marketers and retailers. This year the conference sessions covered a large array of topics from understanding how emerging laws will change your e-commerce models to refining email marketing programs to better optimize desired results. Throughout each session three major themes played a large role across the presentations, each one rooted in understanding how to use your data to better serve your customers. The following are the three key takeaways from the conference:

Mobile is Revolutionizing the Consumer Experience – During a keynote presentation by Wikipedia, the speaker explained that for $41.00 (the cost of a smartphone in Nigeria), you can have all of the world’s knowledge in your pocket. This immediate access to knowledge offers retailers infinite amounts of data to be collected, analyzed and repurposed for marketing. Research from Goldman Sachs, presented in a different session, suggested that in 2014 consumers spent $204 billion dollars shopping on their tablets ($134 billion) and smartphones ($70 billion). More so than ever, people are pulling out their tablets and smartphones and integrating them into their shopper journey at moments of convenience. Understanding their patterns and usage will lead to more efficient targeting and ultra-personalized messaging at moments of high-receptivity.

Global E-Commerce Growth is on the Rise – According to one study presented in “Where Global E-Commerce Growth will come in 2014 – and beyond,” there are 2.4 billion internet users worldwide. With the access to the internet on the rise, gone are the days having a small set of local customers as the internet has allowed mom-and-pop shops and big-box retailers to be available anywhere in the world. For retailers, it is important to ensure an infrastructure is setup to support this system (both from a logistics and technology perspective), while making sure the focus is on the customer. For example, taking a channel agnostic approach by setting company objectives (as opposed to channel specific ones), helps avoid internal cannibalization and better serve the customer on all levels. Furthermore, setting up localized sites with in-depth analytic tracking provides customers with a better customized experience and interaction with the brand, while allowing the company to collect user data.

A Little Data Changes Everything – Gamestop, a retailer that sells video game consoles and products, realized they had a lot of data, but little info about their customers. In an effort to collect more relevant, insightful data they launched their PowerUp program designed to track their consumers’ shopping activity across-device. Upon coming into the store, consumer’s cards could be scanned and qualified sale’s associates could view their profile to ask them about their latest gaming experiences. They took the approach that their clerks would be able to offer most relevant information based on their profiles to help increase their sales. By implementing a centralized data system, pulling in previous purchases and other available customer activity, the system was “designed to facilitate the most relevant conversation” between the customer and the retailer. The key to success, profit and loyalty was collecting and accessing their owned data.

For brands to survive and thrive in the ever-growing digital market space they need to understand their product, their consumer and the connection between the two (be it in-store or digital). These connections are what allow consumers to transcend from a simple transaction to a loyal, repeat buyer who has a strong connection to a brand. The key is located not only in the amount of data brands have on each consumer, but in their ability to centralize and integrate this data to offer the best in-store/online experiences across all platforms.

 

This post originally appeared in Knotice’s blog.

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