Scale and Automate the Luxury Approach this Holiday Season

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When Internet Retailer announced its Top 500 Online Retailers report this year it was of no surprise to us that Alex and Ani made the list. What was astounding to most marketers was that the energy-inspired jewelry retailer ranked #4 on the fastest growing list with 249.7% growth in online sales in 2013.

The secret sauce? Alex and Ani’s approach to a true single customer view. And it’s an approach that you need to be leveraging this coming holiday season to maximize the opportunity to build actionable 360-degree profiles on everyone who engages with your brand.

As a marketer, you’ve heard “Single Customer View” or SCV over and over again in the past 12 months. It has officially reached buzzword status, but it’s not without meaning and most certainly not without merit. For us, the simplest way to define SCV is as a data-based representation of an approach that the world’s corner stores and Mom and Pop shops created; one that the most well revered (and revenue generating) luxury brands have scaled and refined over decades, or in some cases centuries.

In the luxury world, customer service and attention for top customers goes above and beyond. Before ecommerce changed our worlds, high end retailers’ sales associates had to form meaningful relationships with their customers to retain business. Knowing a customer’s size, style, likes, dislikes, and serving them with the types of product mixes relevant to her was what made individual customers come back time and time again. As far back as we know it, luxury retailers referred to this as clienteling and today this is being redefined in luxury as “omnichannel clienteling.”

So how do you scale this approach for use this holiday season and beyond? For this, we’ll go back to Alex and Ani to highlight their approach.

To build their single customer view, Alex and Ani relies on Sailthru’s ability to natively collect first party data from all online channels and our robust set of APIs (REST and Purchase API) that allow the retailer to pump in purchase data from their brick and mortar locations. The data that is collected is associated to a single core identifier so that each individual customer has a profile that contains data from email, mobile (including device level), onsite and social channels along with in-store purchase data. If desired, Alex and Ani can also pump in high-value third party data and easily associate this data with individual profiles. Essentially, at this point, we serve as a highly flexible, robust CRM. What makes the relationship Alex and Ani has with Sailthru much more valuable than traditional CRM is their ability to slice and dice the data, automate action based on that data and perform long-term longitudinal analysis with that data all within the Sailthru platform.

By actioning on the SCV with automated, personalized communications using Sailthru, Alex and Ani is able to easily navigate the needs of today’s omnichannel consumer. The data housed within Sailthru combined with the platform and algorithms that we’ve created are used by their marketers to deliver product recommendations and content that are wholly personalized to every individual customer. This approach is what has helped drive the brand’s online growth and is much stronger than segmentation alone.

This holiday season, Alex and Ani will use this information to ensure that their top customers shop not only for themselves but for their family and friends. They’ll use every channel within their arsenal to engage with their customers throughout their journey, from email to onsite, from social to in-store, and so on and so forth. Should a customer abandon their cart, they’ll have the means to message across channels to recover the purchase. Now imagine just how much more powerful your seasonal revenue would be if you took the same approach?

Just like the snowflakes that will fall this holiday season in many parts of the world, every customer is unique. The opportunity at hand for all marketers is to leverage the true power of the SCV to connect marketing channels in an experience that is much deeper than a programmatic retargeting buy or a blanketed social media campaign. By testing this approach now, you might just find that those customers you acquire this holiday season who you assume are “one and done” purchasers might just have the potential to become high value customers over the long-haul. It works for Alex and Ani and it will work for you.

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–Neil Capel, CEO & Founder of Sailthru