Follow the Shopper

Shoppers, via their online and offline actions, provide a ton of information to the marketers. Smart marketers can and should leverage this information to understand shoppers motivations and needs to create a better relationship with the shoppers and ultimately make more money for their organizations.

Every customer touch point is a goldmine of data. It starts from the keywords that shoppers use to arrive to your site, the links that they click on to get to your site (and the sites they visited before they came to your site), clicks on emails, clicks on banners, every click and every action on your site, purchases etc.. All these actions by the shopper provides you with the information that you can use to follow the shoppers.

What does following the shopper mean?

In simple terms, following the shopper (visitor) essentially means using the shoppers behavioral data to understand the shoppers’ needs and then serving them with personalized ads/messages/offers , wherever you see them online, to bring them back to you site to buy from you. (This concept goes beyond online though).

Following the shopper has several other names such as Behavioral Targeting, Retargeting, Remarketing etc.

Who is following the shoppers?

Pretty much all the major eTailers follow the shoppers (read my posts on Behavioral Targeting to see how widespread this is).

eCommerce giants have been following the shoppers for years using some combination of in-house solutions and 3rd party solutions. Recently they have also tapped into cookie exchanges to reach shoppers who have never been to their site.( More on cookie exchanges in future post).

Can small retailers with limited budget do this?

Yes they can. Until recently small eTailers did not have the know-how or the money to engage in such activities. But that has changed now, Google has came to the rescue of small/medium retailers with Adword remarketing. More and more small/medium companies are now “Following the Shoppers”.

Sounds good, right? But wait before you jump into it.

Remember, Remarketing is not easy and there are privacy concerns. You should think and plan before you leap into remarketing because if it is not done right then you can make your customer uneasy and risk losing them forever. (see my post titled 5 Questions to Ask before Starting a Retargeting Campaign).

Where can I learn more?

Well you can start on this blog and shoot me any questions you might have. Tomorrow, I am going to be moderating a panel at OMMA Behavioral in San Francisco on this very subject.

If you read this in time (before the panel) send me the questions that you would like answered and I will ask the panelists. The panelists include:

  • Michael Andrew, Director, Search and Analytics, Mediasmith
  • Michael Blais, Manager, Interactive Marketing, eBay
  • Chris Duskin, Director, Product Management, Omniture, An Adobe Company
  • Scott Jensen, Interactive Marketing Director, Extra Space Storage
  • Matt Karasick, Sr. Director of Product Management & Marketing, Advertising Decision Solutions, Akamai
  • Thomas Knoll, Community Architect, Zappos

So go ahead and email me your questions or tweet your questions to @anilbatra

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One Reply to “Follow the Shopper”

  1. Very interesting post Anil. I would like to say that, according to me, one of the most exciting challenge is to merge both online and offline data to have a more comprehensive customer view before targeting the client.

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