Why Customer Tracking Programs Using Data Mining Are A Win-Win

In today’s fast-paced, technologically charged environment, it should come as no surprise that every company we interact with – whether digitally or in-person – is collecting information about us. The team at BIGEYE’s Florida marketing agency knows that the more apps we download, the more time we spend perusing websites, and consequently, the more frequently we utilize rewards cards, the more we’re allowing the companies we interact with to increase their knowledge of us. The overarching purpose: to better understand how we use products and services produced and proffered by these businesses. For many years, this process, called data mining, was mired by privacy considerations. After all, how much about my purchasing habits do I really want a large, national brand to gain access to? With a little forethought, the answer has become much clearer: the more these companies know about us, the more capable they are to cater to our needs.

Before an influx of digital tools made it easier to gain insight into consumer behavior and purchasing preferences, businesses had to do quite a bit of “guestimating.” For example, it might be safe to assume that you sold 10 cupcakes over the course of a week if your inventory confirmed 10 fewer cupcakes than you had at the start of the week. But, what does that really tell you about who you sold those cupcakes to, and when during the span of the business week they were sold? This is where a well-defined loyalty program comes in.

When companies are aware of the exact products that you’re purchasing, and how often your transaction history includes these items, programs are better tailored, offering the goods and services that align best with your buying preferences. For instance, if your retailer knows your preferred toothpaste brand, then you’re probably a prime target when that brand comes out with a new floss or toothbrush. The retailer can offer you a discount that you’ll actually use, and as a result, you may end up with a fabulous deal on an innovative new product.

While this two-way street of business to consumer benefit has been standard practice in the marketing world, it’s taken on a new life in the age of big data. Using another retailer example, this is why Amazon is better equipped to recommend books that I might enjoy – after first becoming familiar with my current penchant for non-fiction, or why Facebook is able to directly target ads toward me – all based upon websites that I’ve visited previously.

[quote]There is a point-of-sale challenge, however – this data is much more difficult to capture during the customer’s in-store experience.[/quote] From an online perspective, Amazon has the benefit of being able to share products with its users that may be of interest to them – both while shopping and throughout the checkout process. On the flip side, while at a brick-and-mortar store, by the time you’ve reached the register, it’s often too late. As a result, retail businesses must strive to capture this data using other means. Here’s a sneaky little secret: logging-on to a store’s wifi, or accessing their app while you’re visiting a retailer, your consumer data – including your movements – may be captured, allowing for discovery of those merchandising displays that may have caught your attention.

Further developments in this space include data processing cameras that help map consumer preferences, including capabilities such as customer identification, with additional technology to recognize consumers each and every time they return to the store. While 77% of consumers claim to find this type of in-store tracking intrusive, what they may not realize is that they’re already being tracked through online purchases, mobile phone and social media usage, and many other daily activities. So, why should the in-store exchange be any different, particularly if it results in improved services and enhanced customer experience?

Yes, retailers are seeking personalized information about their consumers, just as the old adage of “knowing your customer” implies. Truly, however, most are really interested in obtaining these purchasing details primarily so they may create an unparalleled consumer experience – one that is more enjoyable and efficient shoppers, whether online or off. As a result, and in congruence with the resurgence of rewards programs, customers benefit from additional discount offerings, free samples, and other services targeted toward these uniquely personalized needs.

Need assistance in reaching prospective customers by employing an effective tracking program? Contact us today to partner together to score BIG returns for your business!

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