Brands should use online shopping data with caution

With 113 million visits to retailer sites on Boxing Day alone, according to the latest figures from Experian, it’s clear that online will continue to be an important channel this year – but brands need to factor in smarter insight as well as reaping the profits.

Mindi Chahal

The potential insight you get from online transactions is a bonus for retailers, which now have masses of purchase behaviour data at their disposal. However, there are things that will need to be worked on this year to get the most out of the information that’s gathered.

People want to shop online for many reasons. Avoiding the rubbish weather was probably one of the main reasons not to hit the sales via the high street over the holidays, but consumers are becoming aware of how much information they give away in order to do so. Retailers need to be transparent in how customer data is used, if at all, to get those weary of having their details and shopping behaviour stored online using the channel more.

Another important part of online shopping is how the data is used. We all get annoyed when companies fill email inboxes with irrelevant offers on random products post-purchase. Personalisation is a key trend this year as mentioned in our feature on lessons for marketers in 2013.

Brands will miss out or even turn consumers off by not using research to offer smarter communications on products and not making a consumer feel they are getting a unique and targeted experience.

Speaking of experience, accessing websites via mobile was topical last year but mobile optimisation is a must this year.

According to the annual online Christmas activity survey by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, the number of people accessing the internet from their smartphone or tablet device on Christmas Day and Boxing Day reached an all-time high in 2012.

Nearly ninety per cent of the 2,000 online consumers surveyed went online over the two days with around a third doing so via their smartphone and another 21 per cent from their tablet device, an increase of 8 per cent and 13 per cent respectively year on year.

Brands therefore need to be transparent on how they gather insight, get personal with the research data they gather and ensure their websites are optimised for multi-channel shoppers. A digital presence should then work well for both the brand and the shopper.

If you have created a great online campaign that deserves recognition you should enter the digital category at Marketing Week’s Engage Awards 2013. Click here for more information and to submit your entry before 15 January 2013.

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