How Building A Holistic View Of Consumers Can Solve Attribution Problems

Retailers must erase “antiquated” borders between online and offline, a new report finds.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve and shift at a rapid rate, many marketers struggle to understand how online tactics affect offline actions and purchases — but new attribution models can help them to create more effective campaigns and better understand conversions, according to a recent report from RetailMeNot.

In order to succeed, brands need to connect the consumer-shopping journey across multiple touch points, understanding the way a single person uses multiple devices before making a purchase in a physical location. Below, three key takeaways for retailers looking to capture a holistic view of today’s consumer.

  • Erase the border between online and offline: Even though today’s consumers tend to move seamlessly between digital activity (on PCs, smartphones, and tablets) and physical activity in stores, the majority of retail marketers continue to place the digital and physical elements of campaigns in separate silos. In fact, just 13 percent of digital-business professionals track their companies’ mobile audiences across online and offline channels, RetailMeNot reports. The only way to gain an accurate understanding of a campaign’s effectiveness is through compiling data that answers crucial questions about a customer’s movements between digital and physical environments. Did the customer read an email about a sale on a mobile device? Was the customer comparing prices on the device while shopping in the store? As consumers transcend the borders between digital and physical, retail marketers must do so as well, eliminating antiquated barriers.
  • Make data make sense — and dollars: Despite the proliferation of big data, many in the marketing and business world are lagging behind. Thirty percent of business decision-makers say that big data is very confusing, and just 52 percent of marketing departments are either currently using big data or planning to do so. With such an overwhelming amount of information, it’s important to take steps to ensure that data is delivering concrete answers rather than leading to educated assumptions.
  •  Stop hoarding. Start sharing: Partnerships can do much more than elevate discount offerings — retailers are making some significant progress by sharing data with external partners to better understand customers, clarify the mysteries of big data and ultimately close the sales loop. By the time a customer makes a purchase, he or she has engaged with a multitude of touch points: a banner advertisement, a paid-search result, an email, a third-party coupon, an online social media review, and a long list of other potential channels. The problem, RetailMeNot finds, is that a retail marketer will most likely only review the most readily available internal data. This can paint a one-sided and inaccurate view of where the customer traveled before making a purchase on the retailer’s website or in a physical store. Rather than place restrictions around data, it’s important to forge trustworthy partnerships that help create context for valuable purchase information.
About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.