Retailers: Unlock growth by connecting customer retention with customer acquisition


By Beth Gregg, VP sales, West

Retailers gathered at eTail West, the premier online and multi-channel retail conference, last week in Palm Springs. It was impressive to see how adept and sophisticated retailers are at leveraging technology to generate more revenue out of their current customer bases.

But this got me thinking: what about acquiring new customers? It seems that retailers have outsourced new customer acquisition to either advertising agencies or customer acquisition specialists. So much for a unified view of the customer.

Exclusive  focus on current customers seems fraught with peril the same way less sophisticated optimization is—it gets so focused and narrowed in on a smaller and smaller set of attributes, that as the output degenerates, retailers are stuck cycling on a narrowing base of customers and data points,  and productivity and growth stall completely.

But now, with sophisticated technology (like DataXu’s), retailers can effectively connect site conversion, retention techniques, cross-selling, CRM, and acquisition to make each piece of the puzzle more effective and bring more customers to a retailer’s site– after which they can optimize the heck out of that customer.  With a programmatic marketing strategy,  retailers can achieve the holy grail—a unified view of their customer- which will enrich and normalize their data, train acquisition efforts from the data of current customers, and provide valuable insights to further increase site conversions.

It all boils down to this: if retailers connect the sophisticated approaches they use for maximizing current customer interaction with customer acquisition efforts, increased growth will be unlocked.

And back to eTail; some of the companies I noticed that are clearly on the right track when it comes to leveraging technology for existing customers and are likely to be the first movers in terms of connecting acquisition to site side activities to achieve growth include:

  • Disney: responsive design techniques to crush a web redesign
  • HP: better leveraging of the “hero banner” and excellence in testing web site design hypothesis
  • Petco: optimizing the value of the “marketing placement” on the web pages
  • Newegg: tapping into an impressive, existing CRM database
  • Bonfaire: research and proselytizing of the voice of the (current) customer internally
  • Tea Collection: applying tenets of agile marketing to maximize customer experience
  • Intercontinental Hotels: loyalty programs
  • Dell: mobile
  • Gap: social
  • Zappos: retargeting! Again, talking to the customers who already know you

And as for something everyone is doing right: SEM (of course), the single most effective method used to harvest existing demand and intent

Looking forward to the show next spring!