How Big Data Powers the Omnichannel Customer Experience

Nanette George, Senior Product Marketing Analyst

Nanette George, Senior Product Marketing Analyst

Author Bio

Nanette connects great companies with smart solutions. A trained journalist, she shares information that engages brands meaningfully with technology they’ve purchased, so they can achieve higher ROI. With more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, technology marketing, product launches and events, Nanette is Bronto’s senior product marketing analyst.

Creating a personal customer experience requires the smart collection and management of data … a lot of it. But how do you take on this daunting task and come out on top?

At Bronto Summit, Uri Minkoff, co-founder and CEO of global lifestyle brand Rebecca Minkoff, offered attendees an intriguing glimpse into the brand’s successful user-focused approach. It wasn’t a smooth experience to start, he said, but the brand eventually began using data derived from social media to get closer to shoppers and fast-track product improvements. Now with every interaction, data is collected on what customers like and what they pair products with, and the brand has introduced its own store of the future that incorporates this data to give shoppers a truly personalized retail experience.

Let’s dive in to the concept of big data and explore how you can it use it to create a personalized omnichannel experience for your customers.

Big Data = Chrysler Building Full of LEGOs

What is big data? The amount of data we’re talking about can be difficult to fathom. Businesses receive, store and manage billions of data points every day.

Chrysler Building

Dan Paulus, Bronto’s Hadoop administrator, shared how we might visualize it. “Imagine a box of LEGOs, where each brick is a piece of data. Then, imagine a toy chest full of LEGOs. Now, imagine that we had enough toy chests full of LEGOs to fill the Chrysler building in New York City. That’s 77 floors of LEGOs. That’s big data.”

He cautioned that more data is not necessarily better. “It’s what you do with the data that matters. We can analyze the data for insights that lead to strategic business moves,” Paulus said. For example, you could organize LEGOs by size or color or function. How you organize the data often determines whether you’ll be able to achieve your business goals.

Access to More Data Than Ever Before

“Data democratization is the trend,’’ says Sanjay Mehta, an ecommerce expert and industry principal for Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit. “In the past, marketers were limited by data we could buy or uncover with census or other research. But using commonly available technology, we can now more easily access, compare and use that data.”

This graphic from Mehta’s Bronto Summit presentation shows some of the many data points a marketer can access and leverage to improve the omnichannel customer experience – from inventory and financials to content management and merchandising to customer support and channel management.

Sanjay Mehta slideIntegration Is Critical

The goal, as Mehta sees it, is to bridge front-end and back-end data points and drive your marketing efforts by unifying data in real time. Doing so requires an integrated data structure that allows you to automatically share data across platforms. When big data is integrated – or unified, as Mehta calls it – you can identify the behaviors that most directly affect your brand’s bottom line. Spoiler alert: They’re the ones tied to revenue.

With highly integrated commerce systems, you can identify:

  • Your most profitable campaigns, promotions and segments.
  • Which products sell best together or have the highest return rate.
  • Your channel-specific return on investment (ROI) and most profitable partner.
  • Average fulfillment cost by customer.

Big Data Is the Key to Better Marketing

All of this data makes marketers more aware of their brands and how they’re performing in the marketplace. “You can use this data to create the roadmap for how you are going to grow your business and your customer base,” Mehta said. It also helps them better understand shoppers and make changes to increase overall customer lifetime value (CLV).

For example, having a reliable flow of data that’s well-organized and managed allows you to tailor the customer experience with things like personalized product recommendations in your email marketing. You can choose a predictive model and identify relationships among your products based on the contact’s browse and purchase histories and related content. And by applying your own business rules, or product criteria, you can recommend not only what speaks to the customer but what makes the most sense for your business (e.g. products that satisfy a certain profitability margin or those that are top sellers on your website).

The Bottom Line

Uri Minkoff and his team made their brand’s shopping experience more personal by getting to know their customers and embracing social media to solicit their feedback. Big data can give you the business intelligence to answer the same questions so you can plan more effectively and pivot more smoothly as you drive toward your overall business goals.