Everyone knows shoppers don’t buy products in just one place. They go to the mall, visit online stores, browse catalogs and call toll-free numbers. If retailers could get a clear view of customers’ behavior across all of these channels, building one-to-one relationships would be a breeze.
So why do so few retailers bother to collect data on customer behavior across diverse channels? Because it has been hard to do – so far. Few retailers use unique customer IDs, which give the clearest picture of customer behavior across offline, online, telephone and catalog sales.
Knowing exactly how customers shop in all channels helps retailers create targeted campaigns, build customer loyalty and increase return on marketing investment. But even without customer IDs, retailers can tie together online and offline data. All they need is a robust, multichannel Web analytics platform and a little ingenuity.
Bed retailer Select Comfort is a case in point. The retailer, founded in 1987 by an inventor who hit upon the concept of making mattresses with air-filled chambers instead of springs, began a strategic program in 2002 to buy paid search listings on Google, Overture (now Yahoo Search Marketing) and MSN.
At first, using a hosted Web analytics and precision marketing solution from Coremetrics, Select Comfort measured the effectiveness of these keywords based purely on the level of Web site sales generated.
But the company soon realized that measuring Web sales alone was a poor indicator of the overall value of its paid search marketing investment. People not only made purchases at www.selectcomfort.com after arriving via the paid search keywords, but also called the call center to get more information and complete purchases.
A mattress is hardly an impulse purchase. Select Comfort customers do a lot of research and often call the company’s toll-free number for information before buying. So the company needed to learn whether its paid search listings drove people not only to buy online, but also to buy over the phone.
Select Comfort teamed with Coremetrics to devise a way to capture data about its buyers across its online and telephone channels. The retailer created a dynamic, toll-free number system for its Web site that displayed different toll-free numbers to visitors depending on the paid keyword responsible for driving the visit. For example, if a visitor reached selectcomfort.com via a search for “mattresses” on Google, a different toll-free number appeared on the site than if the visitor had entered via “beds” on MSN.
Coremetrics let Select Comfort build a multichannel report that not only showed click throughs and orders per keyword, but also the number of call center inquiries generated by each keyword. After capturing the full browsing and buying history of a customer across multiple sales channels via LIVE Profiles, Select Comfort hit upon surprising results.
The retailer noticed more than half the sales driven by the three search engines ended up being completed in the call center. Also, 20 percent of Web-influenced call center sales were driven by keyword activity, and the average value of these orders was nearly 40 percent higher than pure online orders. That’s because customers talking to a Select Comfort representative were offered cross-sells and upsells related to the intended purchase.
As a result, Select Comfort reduced spending on poor-performing keywords and implemented new cross-sell targeted promotions for those contacting the call center via the Web.
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