Data leverage and retail

We are often asked to drop our visiting cards or fill up forms to emerge winners in the lucky draw .the aim of this being to collect data.The data collected thereby is humongous. Unfortunately the data is hardly used to offer any specialized offerings. It defeats the very purpose for which the data is collected. The names, phone numbers, mail ids are just an addition to their database. The lack of leveraging the data has been a norm in the retail industry inspite of each of them having piles of data with regard to their customers.

But a classmate had an interesting experience to share. She is a Bengali staying in Mumbai for past few years. She received a message stating that as the Navarathri festival was approaching she was asked if she would she like to shop for clothes (would any lady say no?) and the retailer had just launched a new festive collection. She was asked to visit the store to get the best deals on the latest collection the message said. A Bengali being asked to shop for Durga Puja and being invited by a retailer to shop for the festive collections did raise few eyebrows. This is not a mass message. Not a message for their entire loyalty customer. A Punjabi or a malayali would not be impressed and act on the invitation for a durga puja shopping (though she would love to shop anyways).Hence this message was specifically sent to the Bengali customers.

That’s quite a task. How did the retailer manage it? A quick understanding would reveal that from their database it was easy to identify the Bengalis by their surnames (The Roys, Banerjees,Chaterjee, mukherjess, gangulys, basu, Sen, Ghosh, Bose,Bhattacharyya) and a Durga Pooja is a festival celebrated by all the Bengalis. Thus the message was sent to all those having surnames as suggested. Wasn’t that intelligent?

This would lead to additional shoppers of atleast a few hundred without incurring any cost (almost nil).

Now there are various such initiatives which a retailer can take using the vast databases. Going forward how about informing customer of mustard oil (Bought by a Bengali) about an offer on Gobind Bhog rice, a Malayali customer (based on a past purchase of coconut oil & Matta rice) about the newly launched puttu podi powder or to a Maharastrain customer (buys Ambe mohar, chitale Bandhu brand and sabudana) about the availability of modaks during ganesh chathurthi or even wishing Christain customers on Christmas.

Going forward the retailer can also study a shopping behavior of the customer and suggest products/offers accordingly. E.g. a mother buying diapers for her baby will require lot of kid’s related stuff going forward from clothing to shoes to tricycles to toys to books. If the retailer can track the lifecycle and suggest products accordingly and offer a good deal then it has gained a customer for a very long period, for every customer feels important and feels her/his specific needs are catered to.

Have you received any specific marketing communication catering to your need? Any examples of how a retailer can engage with a customer by identifying his specific need?

Please share with me?

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