It could be argued that relevance is the single most important factor for any retailer to master. By being relevant to your customers and providing them with the right message, through the right channel, in the right place, at the right time, you can engage your customers more, encourage brand loyalty and grow your customer base.
But to be relevant, you need to understand the importance of each of the following, and more importantly, how each of these factors works in conjunction with the other.
Understanding what your customers are passionate about is the first step to truly understanding who they are when they are not shopping with you. By knowing them through their passions in life, you can predict what will motivate them to make a purchase. This is easily the most revealing data set because it allows you to understand a customer on a much more personal level and therefore to engage with them in a much more relevant way. And by being more relevant, you will encourage customer loyalty.
Knowing where your customers live is also crucial to being relevant, allowing you to optimise everything from store location to the right marketing campaigns to use in that area. It’s not as black and white as it used to be, though – it’s not enough to assume that people in one location will be interested in something based solely on location factors such as housing costs. Many areas contain a massive melting pot of different demographics and, more importantly, people with different interests and passions. Understanding how their locations and passions fit together will give you valuable insight into how to be relevant to them.
It’s crucial to understand what is going out as much as what is going in, meaning don’t just utilise information on your customers – you need to understand trends that are important to your customer, not just to your brand, and how they change over time. Being able to keep up with trends is one of the most important factors in retail. Knowing the trajectory of a trend can be a make or break scenario for any store. By using social data, you can keep track of how the passions of your customers and trends important to them, such as media or influencers, are changing over time, allowing you to predict trends and make sure your offering is always relevant for customers.
Basic demographics do not come close to holding the esteemed place they once occupied in relevant targeting. However, they still have a role to play, especially when combined with the other factors above. Knowing a customer’s age, gender and wealth doesn’t reveal much but it does provide a basis to becoming relevant to them. Overlay this information with their passions and location, and you are well on your way to true relevance.
Finally, and most importantly, you have to be able to divide your customers up, into as small groups as possible, in order to get the deepest granularity and insight into who they are and therefore how to be relevant to them. At the very least, this should form a segmentation based on the above factors, but if you can understand how and why small groups of people cluster together, then you are halfway there to delivering personalised and relevant content, communications and products.