The eCommerce platform allows an excellent communication platform to be opened between the consumer and the retailer.  With the dramatic increase of smartphone penetration and acceptance in the market by the consumer this channel of communication has increased dramatically in importance.  With the increased and new capabilities that can be achieved with big data technology and methods the retailer has an opportunity to create a customer retention strategy that incorporates the fluid communications capabilities of the eCommerce platform with the big data research and analysis capabilities to bring added value to the individual customer.

The big data technology and analysis capabilities adds a dimension to the customer relationship that cannot be achieved through surveys and focus groups.  To put it bluntly, surveys and focus groups are developed to answer specific questions about specific practices or products and these questions can lead the response to achieve desired outcome.  Where big data allows analysis of the actual activities and response to the products without the filter of the person performing the analysis.  In other words big data allows you to ‘watch’ the customers behavior by analyzing their shopping and purchasing habits.  This is where the eCommerce platform brings the greatest value because the customers clicks and searches and even their movement and sequencing of movements around the pages can be tracked and analyzed. 

Now think about what you can do when you add to this information the location technology available from smartphones and that will allow you to trace customer shopping through the brick and mortar store as well.  All of this information included in your big data structure will allow you to develop a ‘three dimensional’ view of consumer shopping habits across two channels (brick and mortar and eCommerce) at the same time!  The value of this data comes from the collection of all customer shopping habits to understand trends and develop the true consumer feedback. 

When you have these consumer practices information you can then layer on top a consumer communication strategy that describes types and methods of communication.  There are already many location based apps for your smartphone to provide of sales and special membership offers from stores near your location.  Combine this information with frequent shopper information and you can imagine the opportunity for retailers to take advantage of this technology to communicate directly to consumers.  The key to customer retention is developing a personal relationship with the customer. 

The technology available today will only improve and expand into more areas of the consumers’ life and this provides the opportunity for retailers to develop that personal relationship with each customer.  Social web sites have shown us that people embrace the electronic relationships as easily as the in-person relationships and retailers are missing a great opportunity if they don’t rush to develop that personal relationship with each of their customers.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumers’ experience?  Improving the consumers experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?