How Are Retail Marketers Tracking Shifting Customer Behavior?

April 17, 2020

CMOCouncilCatalina Retail Marketers Tracking Customer Needs Apr2020Only 5% of retail marketers are satisfied with the level of depth and granularity of the customer insight and understanding available across their organization, while 57% say they are only satisfied sometimes and that the depth, quality and consistency of data can be inconsistent. With consumers’ buying behaviors changing often, what are retailers using to track customer expectations and needs? Here’s what a survey [download page] of 150 retail marketers by CMO Council and Catalina reveals.

The results indicate that some tactics are in use by roughly two-thirds or more retail marketers. Specifically, the majority of retail marketers surveyed are currently utilizing internal sales and revenue tracking (87%), customer service/support conversations — either online or via phone (79%), industry intelligence from trade groups and analysts (70%), online chats and feedback from their website (69%) and sales and consumer data from retail partners (66%) to track customer expectations and needs.

Gaining customer insights, as well as understanding customer sentiment, is something that social intelligence professionals are aiming for. And, although half (51%) of respondents already say they are using social media sentiment analysis and conversion tracking to track customer expectations, another 31% say they plan on using it in the future, making this the area with the largest uptick in future planned use.

About 3 in 10 (28%) retail marketers are also planning on using shopper purchase data and insights via retail partners (currently used by 52% of respondents) and shopper purchase data and insights via 3rd party, which is only being used currently by 31% of respondents.

So, what areas of insights are retail marketers hoping for? Four in 10 say they would like to have more insight into real-time shopper behavior, while an equal percentage (34%) are hoping for more online to offline, multi-touch attribution and accurate purchase rate/purchase power data. Retailers would also like to have more digital channel engagement insights (32%), futurist trends and actionable predictions (31%) and customer voice and direct conversations (29%).

But are retailers able to put the data and intelligence they are obtaining into action effectively? Just less than three-quarters of respondents believe they are either fairly (36%) or moderately (36%) effective at putting this information to use.

That said, there may be a problem with the time it takes to progress from gathering intelligence to putting it into action. While 3 in 10 are able to move from intelligence gathering and insight discovery to action later than desired but still in good time, very few (5%) are able to do so immediately. The reasons for the delay in acting on insights are varied but include the complexity of data and the analytics (39%), teams not staffed to meet timelines and needs (34%) and siloed data (29%,) which is a thorn in the side of many marketers even outside the retail space.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 150 retail marketers.

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