Get to know your customers - Here's why

Written by Pete Howroyd 

Red Shopping Bag

If someone from your organisation was to ask you if you know who your current customers are and what their behaviour is, would you really know the answer or are you just assuming?


Getting to know your customers takes time and requires multiple sources of data to build up an accurate picture, but with so much data and insight out there where do you start? A good place to start is to begin with the questions which you want to answer and then give each question a rationale for needing the answer. Its important at this point to think wider than just marketing i.e what about merchandise & e-commerce, what do they need to know and why.


Typical questions could be:


· What gender & age are my customers: To align relevant content and improve product & range selection


· Which channels can I contact my customers by: To ensure we are communicating in the least intrusive way and acknowledging the GDPR laws


· What have my customer purchased over the last year: To build up a profile of customer group by product and range


· What was the entry product for my customer: To asses which products are the most attractive to new customers


· Where do my customers order from: To asses how far people are travelling to visit a store or how far deliveries need to be made – i.e. is it cost effective to use your standard courier for all deliveries or do you need multiple?


· What preferences do my customers have: To communicate about content and services which customers have shown an interest in, perhaps via a preference centre?


· What is the purchase frequency of my customers: To asses what type of shopper they are I.e. do they only shop during the sale, seasonal, weekly or daily?


These are just a few of the unlimited questions you can ask about your customers to build up a picture of what your customers look like. The main point to take away here to the rationale for asking the question. Remember there is so much data available which is ‘nice to know’ but unless its actionable its useless and wastes time.


Once you have these question and rationale for each, you can go on a mission to find out whether the required data exists and if so where does live? Talk with your stakeholders and vendors to begin to make a plan of how to extract this kind of data so you can begin the next step of mapping the exact data-points required into a ‘data brief’ and consolidating these insights into reports which can be used in the organisation.


Depending on the infrastructure of your business, many of these data sources will be available in your CRM & loyalty platform mixed with data from your product databases and epos systems. Some businesses will find this a challenge if they have all data sources in disparate systems, however there are solutions to this such as marketing clouds and SaaS based platforms which now ingest multiple sources of data to give one view of the customer.


Why not begin to map this today?


Pete is the founder of The loyalty People and has directed and grown many well-known loyalty programs across department stores, fashion, pharma, and luxury retail. Known within the industry as a thought leader and expert in his field, Pete has a passion for unlocking the value of customer data. Pete founded The Loyalty People to allow businesses to build and accelerate customer loyalty.