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Today’s brands depend on data. And over the past decade, digital companies have leveraged data to thrive. E-commerce companies know their customers’ browsing and buying behaviors. And after taking action on analytics, they’ve been able to personalize rewards and cultivate long-term customer loyalties.
Brick-and-mortar stores have lagged behind. Traditional retailers spent the first part of the 21st century with little to no data on in-store purchases and limited knowledge of customers’ purchasing behaviors. Brands that have both online and offline retail presence generally have been unable to integrate their online data with the offline experience to learn who their customers really are and how they can provide them with the products and services they desire. To quantify the dilemma, roughly 80 percent of all purchases still occur in physical stores—but CRM systems gather the lion’s share of data from the digital details of purchases.
That’s changing, as companies like Spring Marketplace are meeting brands’ need for omni-channel retailing, which bridges the gap between online and offline data. The brand bills itself as “a turnkey solution with no impact on in-store operations.”
Spring Marketplace partners with major money networks, like Visa and Mastercard, to bring real-time data on in-store and online purchasers to forward thinking retailers. The company’s platform supplements brand’s existing CRM efforts with valuable offline data. The company connects consumers’ payment cards to customized retail loyalty programs, enabling retailers to track how their digital marketing affects in-store transactions and tailor their future efforts accordingly.
The platform offers two key services. One is Customer Insights, which provides clients with a complete view of customer behaviors, online and offline. The second is Customer Engagement, which provides clients marketing strategies (such as rewards and other incentives) to act on the data and drive measurable sales.
On the Customer Insights side, the platform collects several key pieces of information. It creates an identified profile with contact information and permission to market to them. It tracks online and in-store purchase activity. It also examines customer purchase activity with the same brand in different locations. If a customer makes a purchase from the same brand at two different malls in the Spring Marketplace Network, then the platform recognizes it. Through Wi-Fi and phone ID, the platform also gathers geolocation information.
On the Customer Engagement side, Spring Marketplace provides several services, such as targeted incentives based on actual buying behavior, loyalty enrollment, feedback channels, and wi-fi sign-up. Spring enhances the overall shopping experience, resulting in higher and more frequent spend across channels. Shoppers can enter loyalty programs at an online checkout, physical kiosks, over store Wi-Fi, or at physical checkout. This flexibility is necessary, as the company has found that only 10 percent of shoppers join a retailer’s private-label credit card loyalty program, despite widespread interest in loyalty and rewards programs.
The company uses real-time, transaction-triggered emails and text messages to gather feedback and offer incentives to customers in-store or online at the time of purchase. The convenient interface engages customers through messages triggered by Spring transactions. These messages have open rates of 40-50%.
The company’s services offer many competitive advantages, the real-time transformation of transaction data to marketing strategy being chief among them. Its platform also has an existing network of malls, which enables clients to access customer data from all other participating retailers in the network. One major advantage is that the platform requires no additional infrastructure or integration from the clients. It doesn’t interfere with the client’s normal business operations. Customers who sign on to the rewards program need only to enter an email or phone number, and their rewards are communicated in dollars, not points, which makes the service extremely user-friendly.
By all indications, e-commerce is making gains on traditional, physical commerce. However, the majority of purchases still occur in brick-and-mortar stores. The way forward for physical retailers then is to adapt to the pressures from online retailers by staying competitive in data and loyalty rewards. The services offered by Spring Marketplace are a new and viable way forward for traditional retailers.
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