As retailers zero in on creating individualized shopping experiences for each consumer, many are now focused on collecting and using data to construct a peak level of personalization.
This effort is often referred to as customer journey analytics — the process of examining how customers use multiple channels to interact with an organization. But understanding today’s winding, end-to-end shopping journey is challenging.
Our latest report on the State of Cross-Device Commerce finds that 31% of online retail transactions in the U.S. now involve two or more devices. A shopper may browse for a new shirt on their phone but wait to buy until later that evening on their tablet, or find the perfect pair of shoes on their work computer but switch to their smartphone to actually make the purchase.
Further complicating matters is connecting what’s happening in-store with what’s happening online. So a retailer must understand if a shopper browses for a pair of shorts on their work computer, pops into a retail store during lunch to make sure it fits, but then purchases on their mobile device to take advantage of an emailed discount code.
In order for retailers to provide a truly personalized, seamless experience, they need to track and optimize the entire shopping journey across every device and channel. This can include channels that:
- involve human interaction (such as a call center)
- are fully automated (such as a website)
- provide direct customer assistance (such as live-chatting)
- are operated by third parties (such as an independent retail store)
- have limited two-way interaction (such as display advertising)
Retailers know that understanding the end-to-end customer journey can have big rewards. According to a recent Gartner report on 2017 digital commerce trends: “Effective customer journey analysis can result in reduced customer pain points across channels, better continuity between channels, more accurate revenue attribution, and better customer segmentation and personalization.”
And you guessed it — all of these things can result in increased revenue and customer satisfaction.
So where to begin? Start by connecting data from two or three channels and appointing a project leader with cross-team responsibilities and visibility (such as someone with knowledge of your call center and your website). In addition to collecting and analyzing that data, using a cross-device solution with persistent matching is the ideal way of building a holistic picture of how customers are behaving. After establishing a good workflow, expanding to include more channels is the natural (and optimal) next step.
As shoppers come to expect granular personalization, retailers will need to achieve an end-to-end view of the customer shopping journey with user-focused analytics. This will continue to be a major trend for retailers in 2017 and beyond.
Gartner’s “What’s Hot in Digital Commerce in 2017” report highlights how customer journey analytics along with personalization, marketplaces, and more are impacting the future of retail commerce. Download the report here to see their findings in full.