4 Steps to Turn Data Insight Into More Customers

Convenience-store shopper

A clear, 360-degree view of shopper spending can help convenience stores grow, according to IRI.

“This perspective will help (retailers) know what their key and target shoppers are looking for, so they can engage the shopper where, when and how it matters most to them,” said Susan Viamari, vice president of thought leadership for IRI, as the intelligence, data and analytics firm released its latest report, The Omnichannel Journey: Translating Big Data into a Prescription for Growth.

“Those retailers that can personalize the shopping experience move their customers up the loyalty ladder, increasing the lifetime value of those customers and supporting growth along the way,” said Viamari.

Data is certainly key. “Retailers have vast amounts of data to bring to the collaborative relationship. Traditional scanner and demographic data provide some visibility into important shopper attitudes and behaviors,” she said.  

To attain a 360-degree view, retailers are tasked with making investments in four core areas: rewarding current customers, growing current ones (filling the basket more robustly each shopping trip), activating new shoppers and reactivating lapsed ones.

Step 1: Reward current customers

Loyalty Programs

It’s crucial, because industry experts estimate that it costs anywhere from five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.  

Maximizing customer loyalty begins with understanding high-value customers and assessing their level of loyalty. To move customers up the “loyalty ladder” and also acquire new customers, retailers need to shift from the standard category management perspective to a “customer management perspective.”

Loyalty programs are flush with information about members—from category and brand preferences to price and promotion sensitivity. This information is essential to developing programs that target and resonate with a retailer’s best customers, states IRI.

Step 2: Grow current customers

Know your customer

Since attracting new customers is expensive, the key to success for retailers is to get the most out of current customers. Personalization is the crux of future retail success, states IRI, but that doesn’t mean retailers should abandon mass-marketing programs. “The future will be about supplementing mass efforts with targeted programs aimed at deepening a customer’s relationship with a retailer,” Viamari said.  

Getting this right means retailers need to know their customers “inside-out, so they have the right marketing programs, right products and assortments with right prices—and marketing messages aimed at positively influencing customer loyalty and driving activation,” she stated. 

Step 3: Activate new shoppers

Activate new shoppers

Targeting potential customers is not easy with so much channel fragmentation occurring. Traditional scanner and demographic data and frequent shopper program data provide some visibility into important shopper attitudes and behaviors. However, that doesn’t provide “the all-important 360-degree view of shopping and spending habits, or visibility into rest of market and national coverage,” IRI states.

Step 4: Reactivate lapsed customers

Come back soon

Retailers must invest to understand where their brand is weakest—and what might have led to the departure—and then develop “creative to enhance the brand image,” states IRI.

Having a true understanding of customers, including those lapsed, can be a relationship changer. The lapsed customer might have remained in the fold with the proper approach. “Every customer can be targeted based on their own sensitivities to marketing programs,” the report states.

But Viamari noted that “getting it right requires having a true understanding of the needs of key and target customers, and then executing—bringing to bear marketing programs, the right products and assortments with the right prices, and highly relevant and tightly targeted marketing messages aimed at positively influencing customer loyalty.”