How Retailers Are Using People-Based Marketing to Achieve Omnichannel Success



“Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all the dimensions’ real people have.”

– Jonah Sachs


This quote from well-known marketer and storyteller Jonah Sachs echoes the main theme resonating with marketer’s today: focusing on consumers as people.

Customers today expect seamless, personalized shopping experiences. One way retailers can deliver on this is by adapting their marketing strategy to a people-based approach by equipping themselves with the right data and the right tools to really understand just who their customers are.

But First, What is People-Based Marketing?

With the average US household having ten internet-connected devices, up from 2.8 devices just eight years ago, the probabilistic “cookie-based” approach of advertising simply isn’t an option for brands who want to deliver accurate, personalized messages to their consumers.

Instead, people-based marketing goes beyond the traditional cookie-based approach to help marketers understand who their audience really is and target them with the right message at the right time across all of their devices. As a result, instead of relying on cookies or other proxies to gain probabilistic data about consumers, people-based marketing relies on 1st-party data directly from actual people to provide real, accurate insights on consumer behavior and spending.

This brings us to one of the most talked about topics today: Creating Seamless Customer Experiences.

According to Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse Survey, 82% of consumers who switch brands say companies could have retained them with more seamless online to offline customer experiences.

The relationship between in-store and online purchasing is a very fluid one, with online research influencing in-store purchasing and vice versa. In a recent case study, Viant found that mobile actually helped drive 68% of in-store sales for a luxury jewelry retailer. And while online shopping has experienced exponential growth in the past decade, the fact is 93% of retail transactions are still occurring offline, according to the US Department of Commerce.

One of the main goals for retailers is more closely integrating the in-store and online experience to create a better customer path to purchase. While adopting an omnichannel model is difficult for retailers as it creates issues around the cost of fulfillment as well as inventory management both in-store and online, technology investments are paving the road in creating the kind of personalized interactions shoppers today expect.

Several retailers are doing this by relying on a mix of first-party customer data and a people-based approach that maps and leverages customer touch points.

For example, let’s say you started your search for winter boots online. As you’re searching, you start receiving targeted ads and promotions across your digital devices. A week later, you finally go to the store and purchase the pair of boots you had found online. However, because your online and offline channels aren’t connected, you’re still being targeted with the same ads for days and even weeks after you purchase. This is a very common, and obviously pretty annoying scenario that shoppers experience all the time.

A people-based approach allows retailers to achieve a single view of the consumer across a retailer’s online and offline channels. The more a retailer knows about their customers and their shopping habits, the more targeted offers and promotions the retailer can provide, which ultimately translates into better sales and improved ROI.

Lastly, one final point related to this is how retailers are catering to today’s digitally connected shoppers.

For most, investing in mobile and social strategies is the primary vehicle for connecting to more digitally savvy consumers. While mobile apps have yet to gain as much ground as mobile shopping, mobile apps are a particularly attractive option for retailers as the user’s preferred payment method is already saved in the app.

In addition to the simpler path to purchase, the mobile app audience is a highly engaged group. According to a recent report by Forrester Research, Amazon’s mobile website received 2x as many visitors as its mobile app during Q2, however mobile app users visit the app 4.9 days per month compared to 3.3 days per month for mobile website visitors.

From the omnichannel experience to shifts in digital investments, retailers are undergoing major transformations. While there are many challenges ahead and uncertainties in implementation, the people-based approach is making in-roads in helping retailers create the kind of seamless, personal experiences customers expect.

Learn more about how you can improve the customer experience with our White Paper: Unlocking Growth in Retail Through the Application of the 80/20 Rule. 

  • #connected devices
  • #cookie-based targeting
  • #deterministic targeting
  • #mobile ad spend
  • #omnichannel
  • #people-based marketing
  • #retail
  • #return on ad spend
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