Data is driving the seasonal online shopping phenomenon, claims Experian

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Boris Huard, managing director of Experian Data Quality, on the role that data has played in driving the adoption and reliance on ecommerce in the run-up to Christmas this year

“This year Black Friday surpassed everyone’s expectations with British consumers spending an estimated £810m in a single day. The seasonal retail event drove 180m online visits to UK retail sites, meaning traffic was up by a staggering 60% on last year, according to Experian.

“It appears the Brits, both retailers and consumers, have engaged with the seasonal sale. But how have retailers managed to create so much motivation in a retail event once deemed just for the US?

“Thanks to the proliferation of technology, apps and new smart devices we have a nation of always-on, always connected individuals. Yet, being online doesn’t simply drive these kind of numbers. It’s savvy marketing by the retailers that has created this huge success. The emotive campaigns created by retailers drive people online and through their doors are all underpinned by one key thing – data.

“Consumers don’t want to just connect with a retailer that they trust, they want the deal and they don’t want to wait. The right kind of information tells these retailers and marketers how their consumers want to be contacted with their latest offers whether by email, mobile or their preferred social media channels. But to be successful at this retailers need to get the fundamentals right – names, addresses, emails and mobile numbers entered by customers need to be of the highest quality as possible. In other words it needs to be correct!

“Contact details are the simplest form of information for consumers to share. Data can do so much to help businesses and can provide more advanced information ranging from geo-location data helping to point a consumer to a particular store so they can collect that special gift, to grid-referencing data that means retailers can deliver the order made online just a few hours ago to the right person, right address and on time. But, if you can’t capture this crucial contact data correctly then you are likely to miss out this Christmas.

Here’s Experian Data Quality’s top recommendations on how to drive value out of data:  

1) What do you want the data for? Think about what you want to do with the data and what it will be used for. There is more to a customer record than just a name and address. What additional information would you like that can help to enrich your customer relationship?

2) Keep it clean. Put processes in place to capture, clean and maintain information. Data quality can’t be left to look after itself; it simply doesn’t work like that. The 2014 Global Research report highlighted that more than 90% of organisations report at least one type of common error in their contact data, from missing information and inaccuracies, to outdated and duplicate data. The average organisation loses 12% of its income because of anomalies in contact data, through wasted marketing spend and resources as well as lost productivity. 28% of those who have had problems with email ‘bounce back’ because of bad data say that customer service has suffered as a result.

3) How are you doing?  Assess how your business is performing in the quest for great quality data.

Further facts:

And here’s a few findings from Experian’s Global Research earlier this year that demonstrates that a lack of data quality can cause a barrier to companies aspiring to cross channel marketing.

  • 83% of the businesses surveyed as part of this research reported that they were experiencing issues in this area and 42% of respondents stated that inaccurate data is the cause.
  • 54% named contact data as among the top three types of data driving marketing success, with more than 90% enriching it with other information such as geolocation data (48%), demographics (47%) and enhanced address data (42%). Almost 70% of organisations add two or more categories and 47% add three or more.
  • Only 38% use specialised software to check data at the point of capture, while 34% use software to clean it after it has been collected. Automation is slightly higher among organisations that manage their data quality centrally, with 45% of these using point of capture software.
  • The average organisation loses 12% of its income because of anomalies in contact data, through wasted marketing spend and resources as well as lost productivity
  • 28% of those who have had problems with email ‘bounce back’ because of bad data say that customer service has suffered as a result