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Retargeting customers successfully is a challenge every brand marketer encounters. And customer data is arguably the answer, yet preliminary evidence reveals marketers aren’t harnessing this data properly. This not only creates poorly executed marketing strategies but drives away customers, begging the question – are brands sitting on untapped opportunity or are they fumbling trying to turn a pile of straw into gold?  

Recently, nearly half (49%) of U.S. consumers revealed being incorrectly marketed to by brands they’ve previously shopped with, and as a result, swift action was taken — 57% unsubscribed from brand marketing content, 34% blocked the brand on social media and another 31% stated they would not purchase from the brand again. 

It’s projected that ecommerce sales will grow to over $1 trillion by the end of 2022, which means huge losses for brands who choose to neglect reevaluating their customer marketing approach to establish a personalized and transformative experience. By examining the areas within consumer data that have the most potential for improving the overall experience, industry professionals can uncover valuable insights and drive greater results.    

Basic and behavioral data 

Customer data makeup can be drilled down into two core data sets: basic and behavioral data. Basic is commonly heard of as the identifiable characteristics of the customer, which can be collected through purchase histories such as age, gender, location and sizing. Behavioral takes it one step further, analyzing how a customer interacts with your brand. This type of data can unveil trends in consumer purchasing preferences and discover patterns from website navigation. 

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Like someone’s DNA, every customer’s dataset is unique to them, a story between the customer and the brand. Through proper examination, this story can identify gaps or new opportunities for marketers to reengage, but personalization is key. In 2020 51% of consumers left a retailer or branded website because of poor personalization in their customer experience. 

Take sustainability for example. If a customer chooses eco-friendly packaging or delivery options, that is data that feeds directly into the customer story and paints a picture for brands as to what is important to that customer based on the choices they opt into. That brand can now message around their sustainability efforts – how the customer’s choice in packaging impacted the environment or how many emissions they saved choosing eco-friendly delivery –reengaging in a way that’s meaningful to the customer. This type of retargeted communication works – some companies have seen an upwards of 300% higher repurchase rate. 

Something as simple as not targeting a customer with the same product they just bought or making sure the items are gender or age-appropriate can fall through the cracks when you’re dealing with thousands of customers, proper analysis of data can change that. Not understanding, or worse, overlooking, how basic data can translate into increased success can be detrimental to your business. Consumer frustration is at an all-time high, and in a competitive market, brands have an obligation to provide a top-notch experience, which starts with personalization.  

Harnessing zero-party data

Zero-party data has entered the chat and has CX marketers buzzing. This type of data is information that is voluntarily given to a brand in exchange for something that might improve their experience or interactions. Due to the intentional nature of it, guesswork is eliminated from the equation, making this type of data instrumental to tailoring the customer journey.  

Data privacy is a growing concern, even as the retail industry continues to find ways to educate consumers, so they better understand how their data is being used. Short surveys and quiz-style assessments capture information directly from the customer, offering more control to the customer while still promoting engagement and providing invaluable insight to the brand on what the customer values. Brands that implement post-purchase surveys might find out that while customers were getting their packages on time, they weren’t pleased with the drivers of a particular carrier, thus leaving them with a sour taste in their mouth at the end of the customer experience. 

While zero-party might be the answer for some, gathering intel isn’t enough – 22% of shoppers reported sharing direct feedback with a brand for a product they disliked and within weeks continued to be targeted with ads and information for similar items. Consumers want to be heard and the brands who listen and harness Zero-Party data properly with a personalized solution will only see further improvements to their bottom line. 

While data can seem trivial for some, it’s a crucial part of understanding the needs of your customers and can help improve business processes. If customers continuously return specific items for one reason, such as the items run too small or they arrive broken, the business can harness that information quickly and message to their new customers that the clothing runs small or check stock to see if broken items need to be reported to the manufacturer. 

Unfortunately, right now, many brands are missing the mark, and with that, losing customers. Customer acquisition can be costly, so it’s up to brands to reevaluate how they leverage customer data. Personalized experiences are in demand, making them a huge sales driver for brands looking to succeed in the future. 

Tobias Buxhoidt is founder and CEO of parcelLab.

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