Charlotte Graham-Cumming

Data gathering will boost customer engagement

Retailers should be utilising the data they already have to engage better with their customers, a marketing specialist has argued.

Charlotte Graham-Cumming (pictured), a director of Varia Solutions, told kbbreview ahead of kbb Birmingham that a data strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but presents an excellent opportunity to build better relationships with your customers.

“If you have the right data, you have more insight and knowledge about your customers,” she stated. “The more you know, rather than assume, the more easily you can engage with them in a more relevant way.

“If your competitors aren’t doing it, then you have an excellent opportunity to build better relationships with your customers. But to do that, you need a data strategy – and it doesn’t have to be complicated.”

The first step, she explained, is in sorting out what data you already have. She advised combining all of the data collected on a spreadsheet or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and to make sure it is clean and up-to-date, removing anything that is out of date.

Next, retailers should check the rules, meaning they should check how they are allowed to used the data they have gathered.

GDPR data protection regulations state that customers can’t be contacted without their consent, so this needs to be secured at the checkout by asking customers if you can contact them about your products and services.

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Then you need to do something with the data gathered, which can be through marketing campaigns to attract the right people, or e-mail marketing and direct mail. But make sure all data collected from these is all stored in one place, she advised.

Finally, dealers need to translate what data they’ve collected to use to gain an insight about their customers and use it to connect more effectively with them.

“Knowing how customers prefer to be communicated with means they’ll be more responsive,” Graham-Cumming explained. “If you gain knowledge around problems and challenges they are having, then give them online guides and content based around solving those problems, instead of just selling.”

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