Retail customer identification capture: time for a checkup!

“Why does Radio Shack ask for your phone number when you buy batteries? I don’t know.” — Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld, Episode 142

Of course, we really do know the answer.  Customer understanding and identification from retail transactions is of critical importance to us as marketers.
However, given recent court decisions, a lot of our clients are reviewing and updating their processes to identify who their customers are.  Are they in compliance with current laws and rulings?  What will the next restriction be?  Is it customer friendly?  Should they stop asking for any customer information at all in order to avoid a lawsuit?

Most likely, only you and your compliance and legal teams can answer these questions based on your own interpretation of the rulings.  However, stopping the practice of store customer identification cold turkey can have a significant impact on not only retail performance, but your other channels in your marketing ecosystem as well.

Some of our clients are trying new things, in addition to reviewing specifically what is captured at or after point of sale.  Some companies’ business models, such as warehouse clubs, allow for a very high capture rate by definition.  Others capture their customers’ information through highly vibrant and engaging loyalty programs.

Even if you take a step back and reduce what you’re capturing, such as going from asking for full name and address to only asking for Zipcode or email, you still are getting enough information that your teams should be encouraged to capture it.

We all know that what is measured is what gets improved; so identifying and publishing capture rates at the store level can help.  Share with your store managers that the higher the percent of store information they capture, the more support they will receive from other channels to drive traffic to their stores.  For example, if you knew that email is responsible for driving 20% of your retail store traffic, it makes sense to spend appropriately given these results.  (But that’s a topic for another discussion.)  Publishing the results and rewarding top performing stores will enable your database marketing teams to further expand the relationships with these customers.

Your well thought out and executed cross-channel marketing plans are only as good as the customer information you have to drive them.  Take the time to evaluate your retail customer information capture program and policies as a strategic initiative, and work with your service provider partners to ensure the data is as fit for use as possible.  If you haven’t reviewed it in a while, run…don’t walk…to your Experian account team and talk through the possibilities.

Then, watch it drive success across all channels.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Questions / Comments contact me
Email:  michael.clark@experian.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/clarkmichael1
Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-clark/1/a26/a5