Retailers’ Cross-Screen Challenges Remain

A new Winterberry Group/Signal study sheds light on the struggles retailers face in trying to engage on-the-go customers across their many devices. But Signal’s CEO has some suggestions.

Marketers have a plethora of choices when it comes to available targeting tools and strategies designed to get digital consumers into their physical stores. However, achieving the “holy grail” of engaging customers across devices and driving offline purchases remains elusive, a survey of retail brands by Winterberry Group shows.

The study, co-sponsored by marketing data provider Signal (formerly known as BrightTag), reveals a disagreement on whether retailers will find greater effectiveness by using different software solutions for different applications, or whether it’s better to rely on single software platforms/suites that attempt to be a sort of “one-stop” targeting shop.

“What’s frustrating retailers is the complexity and fragmentation, and the lack of integration between toolsets, and that’s where we’re seeing a tipping point,” says Mike Sands, Signal’s CEO. “Regardless of what approach a retailer decides to take, they still find themselves facing connectivity challenges that stand in the way of creating seamless [cross-channel] experiences for customers.”

Why does this matter? Well, with customers now glued to their “smart devices” both at home and on-the-go, retailers who can’t reach them seamlessly at all points could miss out on buyers — big time.

Sands has some suggestions for how marketers can manage their data to better reach customers in the meantime, as tools in the space evolve to keep up with their changing needs:

  • Banish silos: Align your strategy and marketing operations around the customer journey, with departments working to deliver a consistent experience. All of your team members should have the right skill sets to launch and manage cross-channel initiatives. The necessary expertise can be gathered in-house or through agency, vendor, or other third-party partnerships.
  • Create a data strategy: Catalog the types of data you have access to and which are most relevant to meet your marketing goals. Map out how your existing technological investments can be leveraged across all relevant channels. Consider the big picture of how customers interact with your brand across touch-points, and let that be your guide to sending a consistent message that will lead to purchase.
  • Make integration a chief priority in your technology acquisition strategy: Be sure that all your teams are trained in this area. When buying new solutions, select vendors that provide clear roadmaps to making their technologies connect to the rest of the ecosystem.

Retailers will adapt to today’s multi-channel world, and tools will catch up to help them do so, Sands says. But that doesn’t mean that things are likely to simplify: “Capabilities tend to pool over time, either organically or through merger and acquisition,” Sands says. “You see this happening with suites and large enterprise technology providers. But, there’s no question that complexity is here to stay
 and will continue to escalate.”

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.