Customer data. We hear about it all the time. How important it is to businesses big and small. How we can use it to connect with shoppers and clients. Why every business should be collecting valuable details about their customers.
But, what do you really know about customer data?
If you aren’t sure, here’s your guide to understanding its power and uses and how you can begin to collect this valuable information.
What Is Customer Data?
First, let’s talk about what customer data is.
It is the basic information you can collect from potential and existing customers such as name, email address, phone number, and physical address. Customer data may also include demographic information such as age, income, sex, race, household size, family status, etc.
Those are probably the obvious data points you think of when you think about customer information.
But the customer data that is the most valuable doesn’t necessarily describe who your customer is — it describes how they act and what they do.
Businesses can also track data on customers that show how they:
- Use your website. You can see which pages they view and how much time they spend on the site.
- Engage with your email communication. You can see which emails people have opened and what links they have clicked on.
- Spend money at your business. You can track what types of products your customers regularly buy and how frequently they make purchases.
This type of activity and habit data is often the most powerful information that businesses can collect from their customers.
Why Should You Collect Customer Data?
When you have information on your customers as it relates to their contact information, demographics, habits, and activities, you can use it to improve both your customer experience and marketing tactics.
- You can use data to create personalized customer experiences. Collecting customer data doesn’t just benefit you as the business owner. It can greatly benefit customers. Because when you have data about what customers want, need, and like, you can provide them with it. You can create personalized experiences that wow and woo customers. And, customers love that. An Oracle report found that 46% of shoppers will buy more from a retailer when they personalize the customer experience.
- You can use data to segment your audience and design strategic sales funnels. Data that tells you what your customers want, need, and like allows you to stop sending them what they don’t want, need, or like. You can segment your communication with select groups of customers and only send marketing messages to customers who you know will be interested in those products or services.
- You can use data to retarget and remarket to previous customers. When you collect information on your customers, you can use that intelligence to retarget and reconnect with them. Through email, display advertising, and text message marketing, you can find and connect with existing customers who haven’t visited your business in a while or let them know about promotions and products that will interest them.
- You can use data to identify new, potential customers. Knowing about your current customers can also help you attract new customers. You can analyze your data to learn about your customers and can create strategies to connect with new audiences that act in the same way or share similar shopping habits.
Having customer data helps your business, and it helps your customers. So if you aren’t collecting this valuable information, it’s probably time to start.
How to Collect Customer Data?
You have multiple options and tools for collecting customer data. Some strategies involve simply asking customers to share their information, while others use hidden code to track customer habits or software the collects and organizes shopping data. Choose the strategies that will work best for your business.
- Digital customer portals and profiles. Encourage your customer to sign up for a program or portal that collects their information and organizes their sales history. A common way to do this is to set up profiles as a loyalty program that rewards shoppers for spending.
- Surveys. If you want data from your customers, you can just come right out and ask for it. Send out surveys and offer participants entrance to a contest or a small prize in exchange for their participation.
- Contests. Contests are a great incentive to get customers to fill out surveys, and they are also a good way to get customers to offer up their contact information. Host desirable giveaways to give customers a reason to connect with your brand. Have them sign up using in-store interactive digital signage, your website, or text message marketing campaigns.
- Opt-in forms on your website. Your website is also a good place to get customers to trade their contact information in exchange for something valuable. Use opt-in forms on your website that give audiences freebies or coupons in exchange for their contact info.
- Free in-store wi-fi. Another way to give customers something in exchange for their contact information is by offering free wi-fi in your store. Set up a system that offers the free service, collects customer data, and then uses that information to send targeted messages and coupons to users.
- Code on your website. To track what users are doing while visiting your website install a software or code from online advertisers like Google and Facebook to record and monitor what customers do on your website.
- Your sales records. Before you exert a lot of resources trying to collect data from your customers, take some time to consider the information you already. Your customer relationship management or point of sale system may have a lot of data already waiting at your fingertips.
When it comes to collecting customer data, you have multiple ways to track, record, and review information about the shoppers who visit your physical and digital stores.
Stop saying that using customer data is beyond the scope of your business or technology capabilities. Use these tips implement systems and strategies to start collecting useful information about new, existing, and potential customers.
Want more tips on how to connect with, impress, and excite customers by providing exceptional experiences — grab our free ebook. It dives deeper into what you can do to offer customers the experiences they want, need, and love.