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on November 20, 2018

Understanding Online & In-Store Shopping Habits: Leveraging Unified Measurement in Retail

online-and-instore-shoppingNow more than ever before, deeper insight into evolving shopper behavior is not just nice to have; it's essential. The road to success in today’s omnichannel world requires a true understanding of the multitude of manners in which people shop. Armed with an entire Internet in the palms of their hands, consumers have unlimited information and options, leaving marketers clamoring to effectively engage and convert across a complex path to purchase.

For retailers, the message is especially loud and clear: Driving ROI and consumer loyalty is no longer as simple as being in a good location with competitive prices. Digital and mobile have rewritten the rules. Waiting is a thing of the past. Empowered shoppers don’t just expect, they demand excellent experiences that are seamless from screen to store.

In essence, digital has disrupted long-established retail shopper habits and changed the way business is done. And it's just getting started. In this landscape of growth, change, and opportunity, it’s crucial that retailers understand consumer habits, both online and offline — and align marketing strategy to deliver on the demands of omnichannel shoppers.

Consumer Habits and What They Mean for Retail Brands

Today, 73% of consumers use multiple channels to make a purchase. Think about it this way: if a shopper walks into a brick-and-mortar store and purchases a pair of sneakers, it’s highly unlikely that the path to purchase was linear.

Instead, that person probably engaged with a variety of online and offline touchpoints related to sneakers. From there, the shopper may have researched online, searching for the ideal style and price range. Finally, after a thorough investigation of products, pricing, reviews as well as locations that carried the desired sneakers, the shopper visits a local retail store to complete the purchase.

If you’re like most people, this scenario sounds familiar. For marketers, this particular example highlights one instance in the many ways a consumer engages with a brand, becomes interested in a particular product or service and reaches a buying decision. The problem? This is just one path in a complex, highly individualized journey. Consumers engage with myriad channels and touchpoints every day. And no combination is exactly the same. In fact, it takes upwards of six to eight unique touchpoints to convince a consumer to convert.

What does this mean for retail marketers? In short, it means that marketers need the ability to deliver rich, relevant engaging experiences at every stage of the journey -- meeting consumers with the products and services they want, with relevant, attention grabbing messaging—at the very moment the consumer needs them. It sounds simple enough, but we all know the reality.

Driving Retail Sales with Omnichannel Marketing and Unified Marketing Measurement

Today’s multi-channel consumer landscape, combined with the 10,000 marketing messages consumers receive each day means retail brands need to stand out amid fierce competition and drive not only sales, but brand loyalty across the channels, touchpoints, and devices that consumers use most.

To bring these vital and dynamic pieces together in harmony, today’s top retailers leverage omnichannel marketing strategies, unified marketing measurement and advanced marketing analytics.

Omnichannel Marketing Changes the Game

Now a vast expanse of channels and touchpoints, the consumer journey presents a challenge that requires personalized and engaging experiences. Indeed, customer experience is the future of retail -- a full  54 percent of retailers now view it as their top priority. Fortunately, today’s retailers have the power to respond to this paradigm shift with rich, branded experiences that carry through from screen to store.

The power lies in omnichannel marketing. With omnichannel marketing, retailers can unify siloed online and offline marketing strategies to create seamless, relevant experiences from discovery to purchase -- a game changer that is fundamental to winning not just sales, but also consumer loyalty.

At a time when fleeting shopper attention spans grow shorter by the year, an omnichannel strategy also ensures that your retail brand stays top-of-mind and decreases the likelihood of losing the sale to a competitor.

Unified Marketing Measurement Empowers Retailers with a Single Source of Truth

To provide the experiences that retail consumers demand -- the ones that drive online and in-store retail sales -- marketers need deep and complete insights about shopper interactions both online and offline, combined and distilled into a single source of truth using person-level data. This is known as a unified marketing measurement (UMM) strategy.

Unified measurement is the passage that bridges the gap between the linear shopper journey of the past and our omnichannel future. UMM delivers a clear and cohesive view of the channels and touchpoints driving ROI, as well as how those channels interact with each other to drive conversions. Armed with this precise, person-level intelligence, marketers can optimize strategy.

By analyzing data holistically, retail marketers gain the dual benefit of strategic insight and tactical decision-making that guides planning, combined with methods to best match creative, copy, and messaging across touchpoints.

Investing in the very best team, tools, and technologies to create a unified picture of marketing’s effectiveness will produce exceptional consumer experiences, marketing efficiencies, and results.

Advanced Marketing Analytics Delivers Accurate, Timely Data

To transform insights into opportunity, it’s crucial to have a data analytics platform capable of collecting big data -- accurate, up-to-date, highly detailed consumer information -- and converting that wealth of data into actionable insights in a timely manner. Think about it, you can have all the data in the world, but if you have no idea what it means, or if the data is inaccurate and out of date, what purpose can it serve to the marketer who needs deep insights fast?

Final Thoughts

Our entire worldview about retail has changed. Yes, consumers still want and need products and services, and commerce is growing steadily -- but the path to purchase is far more complicated and immediate. Even while inside stores, shoppers are glued to smartphones, demanding relevant, consistent experiences instantly at every touchpoint, and challenging retailers to keep up. To attract and retain customers, drive in-store and online ROI and loyalty, more retailers are ready with their “A” game throughout the path to purchase, armed with their most powerful weapons: an omnichannel strategy informed by unified marketing measurement and powered by an advanced data analytics platform.

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