Retailers: Now Is the Time To Flex The Digital Engagement Power

Eva Maria Schmidt
April 9, 2020

Now more than ever, retailers are re-evaluating their customer engagement strategies, relying on programs that focus on value and people-driven marketing efforts. Omnichannel marketing engagement has been a focal point thus far, and while that still continues to be the case, digital channels are proving to be where most are spending their energy and resources.

By definition, digital marketing and engagement can easily lack the human touch of marketing. Our recently-published joint report with Dutch e-commerce professional group, ShoppingTomorrow, and global marketing agency partner Merkle Netherlands, uncovered some interesting stats on how to make the most of every customer touchpoint as the world navigates new ways to connect with customers and drive relationships forward in an increasingly digital world.

Here are a few areas the study uncovered that shed light on where organizations should invest in order to be successful:


Data suggests that people expect tailored customer experiences which can only be informed by highly important, personal data. With a focus on delivering seamless and relevant experiences, retailers will have the opportunity to engage, capture critical data, and apply those preferences to future customer engagement. If the personal information requested is reasonable, consumers are generally understanding of the data value exchange: you must give a little to get a little. However, in the marketer’s case, that ‘little’ can go a long way.

56% of people aged between 18 and 35 are willing to share personal data to ensure a more personalized experience

The joint study’s data shows that focusing on a positive customer experience can result in customer growth, retention and satisfaction. Specifically:

○ 1.6 times more growth on an annual basis;

○ 1.7 times higher retention rate among customers;

○ 1.6 times higher customer satisfaction rate


Driving positive experience aligns with driving relevance, ultimately making customers feel listened to, with their wants and needs prioritized. Part of successful relevant marketing is about creating consistency, which is an ongoing struggle for many retailers. Because there are many channels, campaigns, and content to track, redundancy and disconnected experiences have become a growing problem.

Awareness of customers’ histories means knowing what they purchased, viewed and consumed, as well as why they made these decisions. This information enables organizations to ensure a consistent and relevant experience across all touchpoints.

A total of 65% of consumers are more likely to shop at retailers (online or offline) that remember their previous purchases

Ways to accomplish improved relevance involves taking a close look at customer data and determining how much value it drives currently, and identifying what data is necessary to take relevance and the overall customer experience to the next level.

How well is the organization understanding customer journey data? If you’re only looking at the very basic information (region, age, gender), you’re missing an opportunity to build campaigns that are truly reflective of who customers are and what they care about. Look at historical information to figure out behavioral insights and look to platforms that can leverage Artificial Intelligence to help map out individualized experiences based on engagement data.

Are all marketing channels integrated seamlessly? Digital marketing merges channels include email, social, web, etc. How well channels integrate is critical to success. Retailers need to know if they’re serving the same information to customers on multiple channels unnecessarily. For example, if a customer signs up for a discount code through the website, when they shop in-app, are they asked to sign up again or simply given the opportunity to copy their existing code? These glitches can ruin the experience and drive customers away.


To no one’s surprise, data is at the heart of all successful marketing, but mastering it can be complex. Data can either be a company’s best friend or your biggest challenge — sometimes both — when it comes to marketing. In a post-GDPR and CCPA world, brands are forced to re-evaluate what they capture, how it’s used, and the implications of new customer boundaries.

Some steps to data program re-evaluation:

● Understand multiple types of data — first-party, second-party, and third-party — and how connected these data sources are and need to be in order to be leveraged properly

● According to the study, “[i]n order to categorize the multitude of data and source types, it is useful to subdivide these types of data into four groups: Identity, Behavior, Social and Panel. Data from each of these groups is needed in order to enter into a relevant relationship with the customer, since the availability of this data allows you to obtain a 360-degree customer view.”

Retailers can use data to inform segmentation strategies by asking “What is working? What needs to change? What are different ways to organize customer groups?” Brands should have a renewed view of customer data to develop engagement strategies and campaigns with the intention of listening and learning.

By focusing on experience, relevance and, most importantly, data, retailers can lean heavily on their digital channels for success in both the short- and long-term. Along the way, they’ll learn more about their customers, their own marketing strategies, and refine perspective on both for improved outcomes as the quest for successful human-first marketing is prioritized.


We encourage you to download your free copy of “People-Based Marketing,” the joint study and report with Shopping Tomorrow and Selligent global marketing agency partner Merkle Netherlands: