I like olives: embracing the internet of things for consumer data

When I get groceries at Stop & Shop, I never buy olives. So based on my consumer behavior, Stop & Shop has likely assumed that I dislike olives and hence never markets them to me. But the company may be surprised to learn that I’m SO keen on olives, I purchase them at a specialty market where I can buy them in bulk.

Once you leave the doors of a specific store chain, their data network is often incapable of identifying the purchases you make at any other retailer. For this reason, the profiles that most data-networks are able to piece together about a consumer tend to be fragmented and often lack important insights about that individual, such as…their love for olives.We’re actually working with some retailers that are trying to predict if consumers like certain products, let’s say it’s olives.

The power for a retailer is in “knowing” that I like olives and their ability to take certain real-time actions to help propel the sale. This might involve a retailer telling me they have my favorite olives, letting me know that they’re on sale today and just for comfort’s sake, you might like to know these 10 other olive buyers just like you who have purchased our olives and love them. In fact, gin manufacturers would be wise to take a closer look at my profile which offers them a very natural and synergistic cross-sell opportunity. This is a world where consumer interactions are not limited to a single data-network, but rather marketers can pull data from a number of sources to compile a fully comprehensive, individual consumer profile.

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a digital space that is helping marketers make this dream a reality. This universe, first introduced back in 1999 by author Kevin Ashton, allows for an advanced connection of nearly every “thing” with the Internet, creating new sets of data that marketers can leverage to build more personalized customer connections. By 2020, it is expected that there will be nearly 50 billion “connected” things on our planet.

As marketers begin to attain a better understanding of this accelerating digital reality, it’s crucial, that they position themselves to capitalize on the emerging IoT industry, to propel their marketing efforts and business results to the next level. The following steps will help marketers aggregate consumer and shopper data as they start to navigate their way towards a more interconnected and richer consumer experience.

  • Pinpoint the business objective – In order to prepare for the approaching digital future, you need to clearly outline your business objective and understand what success looks like for your brand. The goal is to create a clear vision for the digital brand ecosystem you seek to create within the IoT.
  • Assess the technology and data infrastructure – In most instances today, technology and the brand experience are inextricably linked. You’ll need to understand what data is available and how it’s being used. Do so by looking at data infrastructure, site infrastructure, applications and the success rates of campaigns.
  • Build the idea – Use the findings from your data assessment to build an idea that can inspire your customers and help you develop the best platform for engagement. The idea should address a connected world, embrace your consumer, span the physical and digital realms and tell customers “why” they’re experiencing this and “what” the brand will do for them.
  • Create the customer journey – Marketers need to use consumer data to build experience maps to define how consumers will interact at each stage of their journey. The maps will reveal how to collect data and provide relevant experiences, pegged to target audiences.
  • Test and re-test – Consumers can’t always articulate their needs with respect to technology. When feasible, ideas should be deployed in small-scale test projects, advancing those that show promise while aborting those that fall short.

These tips will help prepare your company for the transition to the Internet of Things, but are there more ways a company can “brace for the storm” of full customer digital integration? Comment below and share your own strategies.