Demo Jam

Salesforce Demo Jam

Salesfloor won it all at the Salesforce Commerce Cloud #DemoJam! With only 3 minutes to pitch our product, we went up against the likes of Dynamic Yield, PerimeterX, Amplience, and battled it out for the Demo Jam crown. Congrats to all for their great demos! Watch the video to see our demo!

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about Salesfloor.

The Evolving Customer

The Evolving Customer

Watch “The Evolving Customer” webinar moderated by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded’s Publisher. Hear from Salesfloor’s CEO, Oscar Sachs who discusses Salesfloor’s latest study findings. The study uncovers how today’s customers want to communicate with sales associates, what information they communicate to customers effectively, and where retailers are missing opportunities to create connections with customers.

3 Things You Can Do to Avoid the Retail Apocalypse

Every day, there seem to be more announcements that retailers are in trouble or closing. Certainly, there are multiple reasons why retailers fail, but there are a few common themes to the current closures that we can all learn from. Understanding the needs and habits of today’s consumer, we cover some ways to avoid joining the growing list of retailers affected by the retail apocalypse.


1. Make service a priority

 

Most interactions in retail stores are about servicing customers, and it’s important to recreate that experience online. That’s why all apocalypse-thriving retailers have web features that bridge the online and offline service gap that plagues other lagging brands.

Rent the Runway, an NYC-based luxury label rental store, has increased business by 100 percent since opening their first store by amping up their online service to the quality of that in-store. Online, customers can purchase rentals or even request items to be delivered within three hours for a nominal delivery fee. Rent the Runway also makes their reputable fashion and fitting consultants accessible to customers online via their “Dedicated Unlimited Concierge Team” service subscription.

Similar digital service features are also being successfully used by high-end brands such as Harry Rosen to connect customers to in-store sales associates. In fact, after integrating customer engagement banners into webstores, service requests went up 50 percent on average.

2. Be data-centric

Personal data is the key to understanding the preferences and purchasing patterns of shoppers, and it’s been beauty giant Sephora’s secret weapon in becoming retail apocalypse-proof.

Sephora uses customer data to construct highly personalized marketing campaigns, offers, and adverts to convince casual browsers to check-out online and in-store. The insights gained from their online shoppers and VIB loyalty program have helped them become the number one selling cosmetics retailer in Canada and the US, and their brick-and-mortar locations are only expanding.

Using data from online channels also helps in offline marketing. Monitoring customer product reviews online, for example, now helps retailers better manage and display their inventory in-store. Best Buy has just recently integrated such data into their own stores by displaying online reviews alongside their products on shelves, which makes their customers’ omnichannel shopping journey even easier.

3. Use the newest tech

Top-tier retailers are using only the latest gadgets to improve their shopping experience. In fact, you could say there’s now a retail arms race to integrate new “endless aisle” technology into stores.

Endless aisle-ing is yet another omnichannel approach that allows customers to easily order out-of-stock items on their mobile device or other convenient interfaces installed in their local store.

Walmart Canada has already begun pioneering endless aisle tech by outfitting touch screen kiosks in its stores and providing local pick-up options to combat the rivalling convenience of other online mega-retailers such as Amazon.

Sephora has also geared up its stores by collaborating with Pantone to produce ColorIQ, a program that pairs shoppers’ skin tones with a matching shade of makeup. The beauty giant continues to produce other creative solutions through their innovation lab in a race to be one of the most tech-enabled brands in the market.

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Brands taking steps to improve their service, data collection, and tech demonstrate the difference between surviving and thriving. Bringing the online shopping experience into brick-and-mortar stores and vice versa expands consumers’ purchasing options, and that convenience brings foot and web traffic running to brands.

If you, too, want to avoid joining the ranks of the retailers succumbing to the retail apocalypse, you’ll need to keep up with your customers’ expectations. And yes, we can help with that.

How Each Generation Shops

From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, each generation has its own defining political and cultural traits that have characterized their coming-of-age and shopping habits.

As of now, there are four major generational demographics that economists have recognized as distinct markets: Baby Boomers, Gen X,  Gen Y (more popularly known as Millennials,) and Gen Z—each of which is unique in their perspectives on marketing tactics and purchasing preferences.

If retailers want to make their products available to each generation in the best way possible, they need to adapt their brand experience in a way that accommodates all the options that these groups rely on. That’s why we gathered all the data you need to know just what each generation is looking for.

Baby Boomers Shopping Habits
Born 1946 to 1964

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

When it comes to the joy of shopping, Baby Boomers want convenience above all else.

The Boomer generation is just too stressed for shopping trips, as Colloquy reports that at a 27 percent response rate, Boomers were the least likely to agree with the statement “I think shopping is a great way to relax” when compared to all other generational groups. They also scored well below Millennials in terms of browsing with only 37 percent of Boomers reporting that they would be likely or willing to explore a store for new products.

The Baby Boomer’s aversion to browsing is understandable; with a greater amount of disposable income than all other generations, Baby Boomers also have the spending power to make purchases without necessarily hunting down for bargains in-store, which is a greater characteristic of Millennials and Gen Z. However, Boomers are very comfortable browsing and shopping online with 85 percent of surveyed Boomers reporting that they research products on their web browsers. In a surprising finding by Immersion Active, Boomers aren’t opposed to taking a leap of faith to purchase products online either as 66 percent of Boomers reportedly make regular purchases via web devices.The root of Boomers' brick-and-mortar preference is tied to their high expectations of customer service.

Although they regularly make purchases online, Baby Boomers by far prefer the personal engagement of traditional stores when making actual purchases. At 84 percent, Boomers were highest amongst all survey groups in expressing their preference to shop in-store, and 67 percent report that if an item they want is available online or in a nearby store, they prefer to purchase it at their local retailer rather than order online.

The root of Boomers’ brick-and-mortar preference is tied to their high expectations of customer service. According to a LoyaltyOne survey on generational consumer habits, Boomers were the most likely demographic to take their business away from retail chains following a subpar exchange with one of their sales associates.

Boomers place immense value in brands based on their interactions with sales associates, and retailers can capitalize on this by offering the experience through digital channels. Social web store features and clienteling apps have become vital tools in engaging the Boomer generation and catering to their reliance on associates’ recommendations.

When it comes to social influence, Boomers are more selective on what sources they trust for brand recommendations. Although 82 percent of Baby Boomers are on social media, they are still unlikely to use the platform as an influence on their shopping habits, and only 12 percent of Boomers say they look to friends and family for advice on their purchases. Instead, Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to have their interest sparked by the reported popularity of a brand when purchasing a new or unfamiliar product. This suggests that brands with bold and consistent omnichannel engagement are likely to perform better among the Boomer demographic due to their suggested popularity.

Generation X Shopping Habits
Born 1965 to 1980

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

Sandwiched between the Boomers and Millennials, Gen X is often referred to the “middle child” generation due to its reputation of often being forgotten by marketing specialists. Because of this, there is little market research into their spending habits compared to those of Boomers and Millennials. This comes as a shock when the spending power of this generation can’t be ignored: Gen Xers produce 31 percent of total US income despite representing a mere 25 percent of the population.

One of the greatest obstacles in the marketing approach to Gen Xers is that they tend to shop more conservatively than other generations. They’re more sceptical about marketing tactics, which means they won’t be won with flashy advertising but with practicality and proof of performance.To avoid regretting their expenditures, Xers won't purchase a product until they've researched it thoroughly, which is why they make extensive use of search engines, online reviews, and social media networks before making a purchase.

To avoid regretting their expenditures, Xers won’t purchase a product until they’ve researched it thoroughly, which is why they make extensive use of search engines, online reviews, and social media networks before making a purchase. That being said, having any doubts about product performance will easily dissuade them from their buying journey.

Gen X prefers honest explanations of product usage and trusts clienteling techniques that cater to their own habits. When marketing to Gen Xers, it’s critical to make products and services especially visible and accessible online by using SEO strategies to optimize their research and an active social media presence to demonstrate a personable and authentic brand image. Digitally, email is one of best channels for reaching out to this generation. Gen Xers check emails on a regular basis and are more likely to respond well to personalized offers based on their previous purchases. Like Baby Boomers, Xers also rely on quality customer service for brand loyalty as they see store associates as people who can relate to them on a consumer level and relay the best options for their purchases without an upsell.

Generation Y (Millennials) Shopping Habits

Born 1981 to 1997

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

Whether for social media, research, or purchases, Millennials use web devices in nearly every aspect of their life, even while shopping in stores. 68 percent of Millennials demand the convenience of omnichannel accessibility during their shopping journey, which means having an integrated experience that can effortlessly transition their consumer data from their smartphone, to laptop, to local store, and back again.

Millennials are so omnivorous in their point-of-sales that as a generational demographic, they’re the most likely to make use of every avenue of purchasing available to them. In fact, younger Millennials (aged 20-23) on the cusp of Gen Z are more likely to shop in a brick and mortar store when compared to older Millennials (aged 32-35,) who are the most likely within the group to buy via mobile. And overall, when Millennials shop for something both online and in a store, they are much more likely to make a purchase in a store than they are online. But while the myriad of online stores and buying options today have offered Millennials the ability to be more selective with their purchases, the options can get overwhelming as Millennials actually tend to prefer browsing for products across brands rather than settling on an option and purchasing it.

 82 percent of Millennials say word-of-mouth is a key influencer of their purchase decisions.Seeing shopping as a social event is another trait that strongly characterizes the Millennial market and sets it apart from older generations. In stark contrast to Baby Boomers, research shows that Millennials enjoy shopping and see it as fun and relaxing activity to be shared with friends and family. According to Gen Buy, the grand majority of Millennials report that they shop with other people at least half the time, and 60 percent consider advice from their friends when deciding what to buy.

Of course, the social consumer experience is not only limited to shopping mall excursions but social media as well: 68 percent of Millennials admit to being strongly influenced by social media posts while 84 percent say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy.

Retailers should recognize that social media is extremely important to Millennials in their purchasing journey because even though they value the opinions of family and friends, they seek out the experiences of other consumers above all. Not only do 90 percent of Millennials research product reviews online, most tend to rely on other consumers’ reviews on retailers’ sites over those of people they know. By taking advantage of all these forms of recommendations, it’s no surprise that 82 percent of Millennials say word-of-mouth is a key influencer of their purchase decisions.

Like Gen X, Gen Y is also sceptical of overbearing marketing tactics. Millennials tend to reject retailers who constantly push products through messaging and instead prefer authentic interactions with sales associates who happen to also be consumers of their retailer’s products. Millennials are also likely to interact with brands and retailers through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook in order for their voices to be heard.

Gen Z Shopping Habits

Born 1998 to 2010

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

Gen Z is the generation of digital natives that can’t remember a time before Internet, and as such, the platform has become the foundation of their buying process. Gen Z uses their plethora of Google resources to compare prices, styles, availability, and ratings of products to make the most educated purchase possible. Being savvy with price-checking tools also makes Gen Z more selective when making big expenditures with many often buying products only when they’re on sale or even delaying gratification by waiting for newer products to become available.

While much of their research is digital, Gen Z still enjoys visiting stores as a social excursion in the same way Millennials do. In fact, 84 percent of Gen Zers intentionally structure their shopping trips a social activity and wait to accumulate a solid list of wants and needs before visiting stores with friends.

Despite being inundated with digital content, Gen Z still prefers to shop in-store versus online, but they crave a store that can keep up with their tech more than anything.Like Gen Y, Gen Z is also likely to contribute to consumer-generated content for brands by voicing their comments and concerns online and by seeking out interactions with brand representatives. As Sara Spivey, CMO of Bazaarvoice, says, “Companies should encourage Gen Zers to share photos and videos with their purchases, create polls and contests on social media and, most importantly, listen and respond to their feedback.”

Catering to Gen Z’s online expectations by providing consumer-generated content is crucial for retailers, because not only do these teens respond extremely well to word-of-mouth, but they actively participate in it as well. Spivey claims that 40 percent of Gen Zers give online reviews “very often,” which in turn encourage others within their generation to purchase products. In this sense, Gen Z consumers sharing brand content on social media can easily be considered unofficial brand ambassadors.

Despite being inundated with digital content, Gen Z still prefers to shop in-store versus online, but they crave a store that can keep up with their tech more than anything. Companies need to understand that technology drives Gen Z’s shopping experience—an established social media presence should complement touchscreens in brick and mortar stores if retailers want to keep tech-savvy Gen Zers eager to interact with their brand.

Ironically, the instant gratification that Gen Z has become accustomed to through their digital habits isn’t entirely sustainable from their web devices when it comes to shopping.

“Two-thirds say they’re comfortable shopping online but still prefer to shop in-store for the instant gratification of not having to wait for their orders to arrive,” says Spivey. “The shopping trend of buying online and picking up in-store is quickly gaining traction with this group.”

Additional research shows that other wallet-friendly incentives, such as coupon offers (all generations love coupons,) are also a great way to bring Gen Zers in store.

Considering how Gen Z and Gen Y both still shop both online and offline, and reportedly more so than older generations, retailers need to prioritize enhancing both groups shopping experiences by appealing to their affinity for technology and perspective on shopping as a social enterprise. Offline, stores should promote a chic, tech-savvy, communal atmosphere. Online, retail sites should interact with and promote user-generated content to provide a seamless shopping experience across the average Gen Zer’s many juggled web devices.

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With generations old and new increasingly using web devices to help them make purchases, digital tools are shaping the way customers across all generations interact with brands. Using the right clienteling apps and social media engagement techniques will help retailers build lasting relationships with consumers who continue to seek social and authentic customer service experiences during their buying journey.

The New Role of Omnichannel Associates

Watch “The New Role of Omnichannel Associates” webinar moderated by Joe Keenan, Total Retail’s Executive Editor. Hear from Kiehl’s Retail Director, Jason Steiner and Salesfloor’s CEO, Oscar Sachs. Kiehl’s Retail Director, Jason Steiner, shares how they redefined clienteling with new store associate tools to help increase online conversions and drive traffic back to the stores. Salesfloor CEO, Oscar Sachs, provides best practices and insights from leading retailers who are empowering store associates with new clienteling tools.

Mobile-First or Context-First?

The mobile-first approach to marketing was a fantastic idea…at first.

At the turning point of the smartphone era, a new UX strategy needed to be developed to suit what appeared to be the only preferred platform of the customer on-the-go. Working outward from a mobile to desktop interface ensured an identical experience that carried over without sacrificing all the bells and whistles that a desktop platform would boast, and while we celebrate the platform shift, it certainly hasn’t been the best or last development in improving the shopper’s journey.

As uniquely form-fitting as mobile development is for improving users’ access to products that they would otherwise have via desktop, it recreates some of the same problems of desktop-only sites. Mobile first fails to ask why online shoppers are using one device or another, and what they’re looking for in choosing that option. Do they need efficiency, experience and incentives? And how can a platform assist in each of those? Omnichannel retail platforms with mobile, desktop, and brick-and-mortar façades have the potential to adapt their interfaces. The myriad of reasons for why a customer might opt for a mobile over desktop interface or interchange between the devices over the course of their shopping journey are addressed and accounted for in its features.

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The case against mobile-first is a matter of meeting the potential that the platform truly offers. It’s no longer enough for retailers to adapt their sites and retail apps to the parameters of a smartphone or tablet screen—they need to contextualize their usage as well. The use of a mobile device is within the context of a user’s immediate needs and trend-proven preferences, and catering to these whims goes beyond simply distinguishing between them to actively striving for an interface that suits each experience. That’s why the next logical step for ease-of-access marketing is a leap from a mobile-first to a context-first approach, which considers the circumstances in which the platform is used, then adapts it to suit that need.

If a millennial is researching product reviews on their smartphone before making a purchase in-store, as over 80% of them reportedly do, their user experience could be improved significantly based on the context of their location.

Should the retailer’s context-first-built mobile app recognize that the buyer is presently at the store, a feature could allow it to forgo all the animations and filler content that usually characterize the app and instead prioritize product reviews in its preview icons and native search engine. Other possible extensions of using context to optimize the online experience have even included suggestions to program retail applications to analyze a device’s battery power and data usage to estimate what context the user is presently in and adapt itself to suit that contextual need best.

While these examples may seem idealistic, they’re not far-fetched technology-wise. They also serve to illustrate just how much a web interface can be optimized by using the context of the customer’s location to streamline their interactions and make their journey from the aisle to check-out counter as breezy as possible.

One of the other many strengths of the context-first approach is that it operates aside from live, time-and-space data monitoring. Context-first also offers all the benefits of the classic marketing technique of demographic targeting, only instead of using dated census-based guidelines such as age or gender, it operates off a concrete set of consumer personas uniquely identified through user interaction and shopping habits.

Let’s say you’re a returning customer at Saks Fifth Avenue. Are you a professional looking to class up your look for a potential promotion, a parent dressing their child in the latest trends, or a fashion enthusiast aiming to shine out in a crowd? How can Saks know which persona you are, and how can they situate their product placement to suit your needs best?

Screenshot of Saks associate interface

Saks’ secret is that it uses the context-first-built retail tool Salesfloor Storefront™ to customize product recommendations to their clients via the application’s Most Recommended feature. Salesfloor’s Associate Data Cloud uses the data gathered from purchasing, browsing, and other activities from every store in the network to update and selectively suggest relevant products to different shoppers.

Now potential and returning customers of blazers, headbands, and sequin skirts can be readily recommended deals on products that are more relevant to them, such as blouses, strollers, and six-inch heels. The professional, the parent, and the trendsetter now each have a personalized interface where they can browse for curated products at their leisure without having to step over the items that would only interest the other personas.

Harry Rosen mobile appAnother Salesfloor client, Harry Rosen, uses Salesfloor Connect™ to personalize their online customer experience even further by taking advantage of the application’s embedded tool that allows customers to interact and connect with associates based on their location. Not only does this feature increase engagement with the brand, but it also optimizes the customer’s use of their preferred platform by adapting product recommendations to suit their needs best. As for the brand itself, they benefited from up to an average of 50% more service requests by customers after they integrated Connect™ directly within their site pages.

The new customer journey starts with checking out reviews and ends in the checkout line, but all the steps and motives between the two points are unaccounted for in a mobile-first approach.

Mobile first is limited by its simple mirroring of desktop content when it has the potential to be just as complex and nuanced as any one person’s shopping habit. The context-first approach is designed to synch with the in’s and out’s of daily life, the customer’s shopping persona, and the high-quality customer service that they expect when they go to their browsers to interact with a brand.

As more high-end brands secure their clienteling by adopting context-first built applications, retailers that lag behind the trend are apt to miss out on the benefits and sales offered by the industry’s latest innovation.

6 Lessons We Can Learn from Sephora

[title image from Flickr]

Sephora is now the #1 specialty beauty retailer in the world, and it’s all due to how they’re different from your mom’s makeup buying experience. Sephora’s success shows that when you let customers create a shopping experience that works for them, it also works for you. Here’s how you can do the same:

1. Build the in-store experience they desire

http://gph.is/2cD1nBU
http://gph.is/2cD1nBU

When you walk into a back-lit, booming Sephora store, you feel more than welcomed, you feel empowered. Sephora’s approach to merchandising has contributed immensely to their success as they identified all the hurdles of purchasing makeup and promptly tossed them out the door.

Sephora knows that customers are exhausted by the grab-bag quality of pharmacy makeup aisles and the competitive product-pushing found in traditional department stores. The Sephora alternative offers a more accessible shopping experience that’s designed to be low-pressure. Retail assistants are taught to refrain from the hard sell that department stores rely on and instead work with each customer holistically to find the products that match them best while stepping back as needed. This gives Sephora customers the power to choose both their products and their service; they have the freedom to explore the store as they would a pharmacy without sacrificing department store-quality brands, tutorials, and assistance.

2. Offer a personalized approach

http://gph.is/2feVUAr
http://gph.is/2feVUAr

Customers are increasingly demanding customization as part of their shopping experience—especially if they’re shelling out for luxuries like makeup. Whether it’s primer for oily skin or moisturizer for dry, Sephora recognizes that their customers require a unique and personalized approach, and they offer this through in-store swatch samplings and makeup demonstrations that allow shoppers to test different brands to be sure they’re buying the right product at the right place.

But Sephora doesn’t stop there: their personalized shopping experience extends to the web, which has been a major key to their success in keeping customers loyal to their brand.

3. Reward loyalty

http://gph.is/2gm4Ffa
http://gph.is/2gm4Ffa

While baby boomers tend to be brand-loyal, the growing millennial market is more cost-conscious and would rather selectively pick and choose across brands so long as they fit their budget. So how do you get them to be loyal to your business? Give them the most bang for their buck: a loyalty program that rewards them and caters to their needs.

One of Sephora’s secret weapons is its VIB loyalty program, which grants members free gifts, in-store event offers, and discounts after their purchases. What makes VIB so dangerously effective is that it also requests that its members fill out their profile with information regarding their complexion, skin type, and other preferences. Sephora then analyzes this data to create a curated set of product recommendations that suit their specific needs.

The strategy is meant to digitalize the personalized, in-store shopping experience that customers have upon walking into their local brick-and-mortar.

“[We] figured out early on that if we were to get the basics right, we should ask the questions as if we were standing in the store,” Bridget Dolan, VP of Interactive Media at Sephora, shares with Forbes. “What skin type do you have? …If she tells us that she has dry skin then the product that she’s going to receive in an email will have that attribute.”

Evidently, all that tailoring works—Dolan says that a whopping 80 percent of Sephora’s transactions now run through VIB and that clearly, “It’s a win-win.” [Source]

4. Think mobile and digital first

http://gph.is/1EG0D3R 
http://gph.is/1EG0D3R

Much of Sephora’s success is due its digital customer experience, which is interactive, multipurpose, and totally on-point. Nearly half of Sephora’s digital traffic is through its mobile interface [source], which features almost all the accoutrements of its desktop site, including a user-friendly layout that conveniently highlights all product news on the front page.

But Sephora didn’t just build their website around their customers’ desire to shop—it also accommodates their pressing need to ensure quality before they buy. This is why Sephora.com is revolutionary for providing sections for user-generated content such as BeautyTalk, a forum for casual customers and experts alike to discuss products, and the Beauty Board, a space for customers to post pictures of how their Sephora-bought cosmetics fare out in the real world.

5. Collaborate with the culture

http://gph.is/1TGai6o

If your customers aren’t already shopping through your website, they’re still likely to research your products online. Beauty bloggers on YouTube and Instagram are gradually replacing counter clerks in educating consumers on the best makeup brands and application lessons. Sephora embraced this culture by partnering with such key influencers, and their collaboration has indirectly increased the brand’s engagement with all other consumers online.

The reason why is simple: word-of-mouth continues to be the best way to market, and these big-name beauty bloggers are trusted by even the most discerning customers. Bloggers will speak plainly when they feel a product is expensive or reliable, and because customers crave this authenticity, they’re more likely to follow their advice than that of expert cosmeticians. Sephora now owes a great deal of its brand awareness to these bloggers who preach the quality of their products; their promotion has helped increase traffic to Sephora’s online storefront and cultivate a positive reputation on social media.

Speaking of social media…

6. Be truly social

http://gph.is/1Az5DFO
http://gph.is/1Az5DFO

Customers hate feeling that they’re speaking to a marketing department; they want brands with an online presence that’s personified, humorous, conversational. This is why being interactive with consumers via social media is crucial in giving them the experience that they want.

Along with actively liking, commenting, and responding to customers’ posts, Sephora frequently uses their Instagram to share looks posted by their fans. The prestige that comes along with this promotion has since encouraged thousands of users to tag #Sephora in their posts for a chance to be featured on their page. It’s Sephora’s sincere, mutually beneficial, give-and-take relationship here that keeps their customers engaged and their social media truly social.

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Combining the best of both in-store and online shopping is what makes Sephora shine in the industry. The beauty brand knows that digitalizing the in-store experience is the new market tactic, but it’s no secret—and it’s applicable to all retailers.

Want to bring your customer service to the mobile world, too? It’s easier than you think! Get started now with a retail app that works for you.

How Retailers are Harnessing Data to Increase Sales and Make Happy Customers

Data data data. Seems like everywhere you turn these days, it’s being thrown around as the answer to all of your woes, but when you dig deeper, it’s impossible to figure out how to leverage it to solve anything.

Most retailers these days don’t have a problem with data – they have plenty of it! With more and more technology, we have data about our supply chain, sales numbers, customer preferences, and much, much more. The problem is how do we harness this data to make meaningful changes in our customers’ lives?

We think about that a lot, too, so we’ve put together five examples of retailers that are harnessing customer data to increase sales and create happy customers.

#1. Improve Merchandising – Modcloth

If you aren’t familiar with Modcloth, it is an indie fashion site, carrying a mixture of vintage and vintage-inspired fashion. Or, at least until it was recently acquired by Jet.com and Walmart, it was.

Either way, it has a strong community of users that buy up their new arrivals faster than they can post them. The reason that they have this level of commitment and success is due to their incredible openness to customer input in their merchandising program.

Up until the recent acquisition, they had a feature called “Be the Buyer” on their site that invited their customers to vote on the items that were to be added to the store:

This popular feature worked two-fold: they were able to improve their merchandising as well as sell products before they even hit the site. Those that voted on items would be notified when they were available in the store.

#2. Leverage Your Customer’s Passions – Sephora

Reviews and star ratings on a website are quite often more confusing than helpful, but Sephora is a retailer who has learned to leverage the right kinds of reviews to tip confused customers in the right direction.

I’ve often looked at a lip color online and wondered how it would look on me – with my fair skin and hair. Enter Sephora’s Beauty Board, where tens of thousands of customers have uploaded themselves wearing various lipsticks, eyeshadows, blushes and more:

#3. Guide and Empower – Harry Rosen

Some sales are lost because the customer is just plain overwhelmed with choice or an inability to do something as simple as putting an outfit together. Harry Rosen solves this by connecting their online customers to in-store advisors through Salesfloor Connect™. This allows them to increase customer engagement by integrating their own links, buttons, banners or other call-to-actions within product pages as they look native to the site (as seen below). Recent results showed that service requests by customers increased by up to 50% after retailers integrated Salesfloor Connect directly within site pages.

This means that a customer who comes to the site and feels a little lost can reach out to their closest associate. They can start a conversation, search for an advisor and explore their profiles to see one whose style suggestions match their tastes, and get the help they need to make the right decision.

They can even request an appointment to go into the store to get full-service help and reserve products in-store with click and collect. This has been a successful strategy for Harry Rosen. All in all, the in-store sales impact of associates serving the online customer is that for every $10 sold online by associates leveraging Salesfloor, $4 in sales was driven in-store..

#4. Uncover the Latest Trends – Saks Fifth Avenue

For customers who are more about browsing and discovering hot new items, data is useful for this, too. Another Salesfloor customer, Saks Fifth Avenue, is using an associate Storefront, which gives them access to the newly released Most Recommended feature to further customize recommendations to their clients.

How it works is that the Salesfloor’s Associate Data Cloud pulls in data from activities across all stores in the network and displays to shoppers what the most recommended products are that day. Displayed in order by the number of recommendations, the section is automatically populated with the product name, image and price and updated daily. When a shopper clicks on the image, they are navigated to the product detail page on the retailer’s website. The shopper can then continue to shop with their associate as the footer is accessible across the site. They can also live chat or send an email at any time.


[according to these recommendations, it must be Spring dress shopping time!]

What this means is that the customer will get recommended the hottest new items fresh every day. If you are a customer who loves to discover the latest greatest, this use of data will definitely excite you.

#5. Predict Their Next Move – Target

Though the media has made it seem like a bit of a boogeyman to customers, predictive analytics is more useful than nefarious. Almost everyone is familiar with the story of how a father found out his daughter was pregnant through Target’s predictive algorithm (this may or may not have been a viral hoax), illustrating how far predictive analytics has come. Though you never want to move into creepy territory, understanding what your customers are buying and mapping buying patterns in general may help you to better serve your customer’s needs.

If someone buys a bathing suit in winter, you can probably infer that they are planning a warm vacation. It makes sense to follow up that purchase with other items frequently purchased for a winter getaway. If someone starts looking at maternity clothes, it’s pretty safe to say they’ll need baby items in 6 months or so.

As long as you don’t push your boundaries too far – like sending a congratulations note – your customers will feel better served.


These are just a few examples of retailers using data to make happier customers and, ultimately, drive more sales. If you have any other examples to share, let us know.