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Studies highlight importance of data in targeting consumers

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The importance of using data to target online consumers is emphasised by two studies out this week.

Qualtrics questioned more than 2,200 online shoppers in eight markets including the UK, the US and Europe for predictive marketing platform Rocket Fuel, and found that more than half (55%) said they changed their shopping habits at least once a week, while 64% said that how they reacted to an ad or promotion depended on their mood.

Rocket Fuel says this shows the importance of using artificial intelligence to target consumers, and so improve their chance of connecting with a consumer at the right time and place. This will enable them to make real-time decisions, using their own data.

“This research shows us that the massive rise of the internet, as well as countless channels and devices has made it difficult for advertisers to sell to reach the right consumers online,” said Joel Christie, commercial director at Rocket Fuel. “If shoppers are changing their buying habits weekly, brands now need a solution that can help them find individuals at the perfect moment with the right content. And because, over time, retailers have collected so much data, they need to rely on predictive technologies, powered by artificial intelligence, to utilise it effectively.”

Meanwhile, the 2017 Holiday Retail Outlook Report by Conversant, Epsilon and LoyaltyOne found that 65% of consumers said companies, retailers or brands send them too many irrelevant communications.

It found that 87% of 25 to 34-year-olds were more likely to shop at a retailer that gives personalised offers. Just under a third (60%) of younger shoppers want these personalised offers through their mobile device, compared to a fifth (20%) of baby boomers, and 35% of 18 to 24-year-olds also prefer to communicate with retailers via texting.

When it comes to the top influences on shopping habits, the report highlighted key generational differences. Millennials place the most importance on price and value, as well as the functional and emotional aspects of the shopping experience for deciding which brands to buy from. Value for money is also an important consideration for generation X, who also expect innovation that will make their busy lives easier. For baby boomers, functionality is the top influence on where and how to shop.

Elliott Clayton, VP of Media UK, Conversant, said: “Consumers expect a lot more from brands today. They certainly do not want to be inundated with mass, irrelevant communications and it is only by focusing on true personalised communications that brands will be able to build a mutually beneficial relationship with consumers.”

The report also confirms the trend for consumers making purchases across different channels. The majority (80%) of consumers now buy online and have their purchases delivered and 75% compare product prices online. Three quarters (75%) of online sales, excluding Amazon, were from brands with a brick and mortar presence, and just over half (51%) of consumers buy online and pick up in store.

Clayton said: “Though most consumers are buying online, the purchasing process is still operating across multiple channels. Retailers and brands need to have an ongoing one-to-one conversation with consumers across all consumer devices, including offline. Using data is key for brands to stop just serving up the same ads and instead have tailored messages to reach consumers on an individual level across all channels.”

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