Take Your Omnichannel Strategy to the Next Level
POSTED : October 25, 2013

Elevate it with a multi-device strategy

How many connected devices do you own? A smartphone? A tablet? Google Glass perhaps? And, how often do you find yourself researching a product on your smartphone only to find yourself continue the same search later on your PC and eventually purchase the item on your tablet?

Certainly, you can identify with the questions above, as can your customers. In fact, recent research by Google shows that 90% of participants use multiple screens, moving from one device to another, to complete an online task. 67% of participants used multiple devices when shopping online. For you as a retailer, this means that your customers will most likely engage with you across multiple devices before reaching a purchase decision. You, in turn, must have a multi-device strategy to fully take advantage of this customer behavior and to provide reinforcing experiences along the way.

However, before you can unlock the benefits of your multi-device strategy, you as a retailer must first look inward and ensure that you have the right data strategy to serve as the foundation. This blog, Part 1 of a series, aims to help you build that foundation.

How do I know if it’s the same Alycia on her smartphone as on her PC?

Alycia is an Internet-savvy shopper who uses her iPhone, iPad and PC together for shopping. As a retailer, if you are able to identify Alycia’s typical device path to reach her purchasing decisions, you can then tailor interactions to ensure that her experiences across those devices build on top of one another to maximize impact. Alycia, in turn, can enjoy the benefits and convenience of a connected shopping experience and potential rewards for sharing her identity with you across devices.

To enable this strategy, retailers must have a technology platform that has the ability to identify and track the same customer across devices. We have 5 suggestions to help get you started:

  1. Develop a straightforward way for Alycia to tell you who she is, perhaps by logging in to an app or your website (think Amazon, Target).
  2. Consider leveraging a 3rd-party login mechanism, such as Facebook Login or Pinterest Pin It, to incorporate a social dimension into your customer profiles.
  3. Make sure that there’s a real benefit for self-identifying or else your customers will not do so.
  4. Positively reinforce the behavior.  In other words, make sure that you continue to provide benefits for self-identifying across devices and across time.
  5. Ensure that activity data across devices can be maintained both on an individual basis and in aggregate for future analysis.

This platform and the information gathered will allow you to capture and explore Alycia’s shopping pattern across her devices, which will facilitate more effective communications with her as she progresses from exploration to purchase and beyond.  For example, your data might reveal that Alycia has a habit of starting product research on her smartphone and then moving on to her tablet before she’ll make a purchase. Then, as a retailer you could make the items she browsed on your mobile app automatically appear on the homepage when she logs in to your website on her tablet, guiding her throughout her shopping journey. As an advanced retailer, Nordstrom went one step further this past August, and leveraged Pinterest via 3rd-party login to host an Anniversary Sale Pinterest Sweepstakes.  Customers who pinned their favorite items from Nordstrom’s website could enter to win $1,000 gift cards as incentives for self-identifying. This provided opportunities for Nordstrom to collect valuable customer usage and device data as well as information related to their social networks – it was a win-win situation for both the retailer and the customer.

The “right” data is the key enabler

Once you are able to link customer identities across devices, it is important to dig deeper and make sure you have the foundational data to support your multi-device strategy. Indeed, identifying and collecting the right data—not just any data – is critical to the development of any multi-device strategy that will help separate you from the competition. At PK, we believe there are 3 critical steps to building the foundation of a data-driven multi-device strategy:

  1. Collect the right information: Your company needs to collect data about which types of devices are visiting your web presence, when device-users are visiting, where they’re visiting from and what actions they are taking.
  2. Make the right connections: Connect the device information to other types of data you have, such as customer data, products and services, marketing campaigns, or financials.
  3. Empower the right users: Make the information available on-demand to users based on their needs. Your employees shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get the information they need to drive your business forward.

As a modern retailer, you need to think about these 3 steps from day 1 or else it is likely that you will not have what you need when you want it to drive effective business decisions, support your multi-device strategy, and effectively communicate with customers across multiple devices.

What’s next?

You now have a way to understand your customers’ behaviors across devices and the data to support your multi-device strategy; however, this is just the start. In part 2 of the blog series, we will provide insights on how you can leverage the cross-device data you have gathered to propel your multi-device strategy and your business forward.