Addressing the retail data disconnect

Read time 2min 50sec
Marcel Matodes, marketing platform lead at Google South Africa.
Marcel Matodes, marketing platform lead at Google South Africa.

Jane is Millennial mom. She heads to her nearest retailer to buy an HD TV. A day later, she gets an e-mail from the store she visited asking her if she’s keen to buy an HD TV.

Having just bought one the day before, she simply deletes the e-mail. A week later, she visits the retailer’s Web site and again it is advertising the same HD TVs.

“This is not a good experience for Jane,” said Marcel Matodes, marketing platform lead at Google South Africa. “Generally, when someone buys a big-ticket item like a TV, they’re not really looking to buy a second or third TV a couple of days or weeks later.” So where’s the disconnect?

Speaking at a Google Cloud for Retail event in Cape Town yesterday, Matodes explained Jane’s retailer has implemented a marketing strategy that tracks her search habits and then uses this information to market to Jane based on that behaviour. But there’s a layer missing.

When the data it is collecting is properly analysed and transformed into insights, the store knows Jane has already bought a TV and now it can offer her something that may complement her new purchase, like a surround-sound system.

“Only when you use data effectively, can you really customise the experience you offer to customers and that’s what will keep customers coming back for more,” he explained.

When Gartner asked marketers about the value of customer experience a few years ago, 80% of respondents believed they’d be competing mostly, or completely, on the basis of customer experience in 2019.

But is it happening? In some cases yes, in others, not so much. Getting customer experience right is about combining smart marketing and technology to foster a real relationship with customers, added Matodes.

Often, retailers attribute their inability to effectively use data with a mismatch between IT and marketing, continued Matodes. But their goals are actually the same. When CIOs/CTOs and CMOs speak the same language, they can figure out what is technically possible and what is practically possible and work towards turning these possibilities into realities.  

“Pretty much everyone is using the same tools and technologies. So being competitive comes down to what you know about your customers and how you use that information.”

During his presentation, Matodes also chatted to Brad Whittington, CTO at Superbalist, about how the online retailer is using cloud to market its offerings and connect with customers.

According to Whittington, as a start-up, Superbalist was able to start with a clean slate. It had the freedom and flexibility to stumble around and find its way.

For example, on a day like Black Friday, its teams and resources need to be geared to handle any influxes in demand and to do so without having a negative impact on the people using the site, he said.

“Cloud allows us to change things up if and when it makes sense for us.”

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