Embracing seamless cross-channel customer engagement is paramount for retailers, according to a new study from Viant.

While ecommerce sales have experienced exponential growth during the past decade, 93% of retail transactions are still occurring offline, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, with the 25-44 age range doing the most online shopping.

According to “The Anatomy of a Department Store Shopper,” which focuses on the shopping habits and lifestyles of consumers at three top national department stores−Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Kohl’s−the relationship between in-store purchasing and online purchasing is a very fluid one. As consumers increasingly embrace online shopping, retailers need to focus on creating a seamless brand experience.

“In order to create the kind of personalized interactions shoppers expect, retailers need to heavily invest in their first-party customer data and the technology needed to map and leverage all customer touch points,” the study says. “By leveraging their CRM lists and the right ad technology partners, retailers can achieve a single view of their customer and provide a continuous, connected path from mobile to desktop to in-store and back again. In addition, this approach enables closed loop sales measurement providing a true measure of return on ad spending.”

When it comes to beer, Macy’s shoppers prefer imported beer. In fact, they are five times more likely to buy Heineken and four times more likely to buy Corona than Kohl’s shoppers. Kohl’s shoppers heavily prefer American lagers. They are 46% more likely to buy Bud Light than Nordstrom shoppers and 41% more likely than Macy’s shoppers. Nordstrom shoppers favor micro-brews, with data showing they are almost twice as likely to buy Sam Adams than the general public. 

Nordstrom and Macy’s shoppers both prefer Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts with Nordstrom shoppers 53% more likely to buy coffee at Starbucks than Kohl’s shoppers. Conversely, Kohl’s shoppers are 21% more likely to buy coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts than Nordstrom shoppers. When it comes to brewing coffee at home, Kohl’s shoppers are heavy instant coffee drinkers with 86% of shoppers more likely to buy Maxwell House than Nordstrom shoppers. 

“By knowing the food and drink preferences of their shoppers, department stores can better target key consumer segments,” the study says. “Rather than relying on past purchase as the only indicator of future spending, retailers can now cross reference other categories and criteria to better target customers. For example, Macy’s could zero in on customers who purchased imported beer or Häagen-Dazs ice cream in the past 60 days. This opens up new customer segments to prospect that have a higher probability of converting than more random, broad-reach approaches.”

What’s more, the study finds that now is the time for department stores to place a premium on first-party data and shift away from cookie-based targeting toward a people-based approach.

“While cookie-based targeting has been the adopted mode of digital advertising, it is problematic in today’s cross-device environment as cookies are temporary, don’t work in mobile apps, and don’t work effectively across many mobile browsers,” the study says.

Retailers must refine their approaches and drive more accuracy and accountability in their advertising.

“As the powerful breadth of data in this study illustrates, a people-based advertising approach that delivers insights like actual ages, devices, incomes, locations, preferences, and purchase histories can create robust, multifaceted customer segments that include both offline and online behaviors,” the study says. “By creating this rich, unique customer persona, marketers can deliver the right message at the right time to the right consumer across all of their devices, ultimately creating a better brand experience for that customer.”

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