4 steps to measuring demand in an omni-channel retail environment

Both brands and retailers are in a race to better understand the evolving customer path to purchase in today’s omni-channel environment. Companies continue to emphasize a brand ‘persona’ for their new products or launches, i.e., outgoing and adventurous, imaginative and eco-friendly, family-oriented and relationship-driven, etc. Simultaneously, marketers in all industries are facing the decline of ‘brand’ marketing as the trend toward demand generation continues to grow.

The demand vs. brand debate has been a popular one over the last few years. If you’ve been keeping up, you’ve likely noticed that there has been a shift towards prioritizing demand generation in marketing. While building a brand image is essential, organizations have recognized the benefits of demand generation and are investing significant resources into it. As we continue to reflect on the recent and ongoing change taking place in retail, one question our clients often ask is this: If marketing and sales is moving from brand to demand, how do retailers measure demand in an omni-channel environment?

However, with demand generation being such a broad topic that covers a wide variety of customer touchpoints, actually drilling down and making sense of how to measure demand can be difficult. This is especially true in the brick and mortar stores. Fortunately, savvy retailers can stay ahead of the curve by learning how to go about measuring demand accurately.

In this piece, we’ll walk through the steps involved in tackling demand measurement in an Omni-channel environment. As you’ll see, it is a cyclical process that involves strategizing & developing specific goals, accounting for all your customer touchpoints, honing in on specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and learning as you go, effectively creating a customer data-driven feedback loop.

1. Strategize

At the core of any efforts to optimize demand generation tracking is a sound strategy. Start at a high-level and consider your organization’s near-term goals and long-term objectives. The first step in adequately strategizing is asking the right questions. This will involve brainstorming, considering your place in the market, who your customers are, etc. Good questions to start the process include:

• What does success mean to you?

• Who is your target consumer?

• What is the ideal customer experience you want to create?

• What are your customer touchpoints?

• What have you done well in the past?

• What have you done poorly in the past?

After exploring the answers to those questions, come up with an action plan that pushes your marketing efforts in the right direction. At this point, you’ll still be asking questions, but you’ll begin to become more pointed and specific. That is, you’ll need to move from the “who & what?” of your strategic vision to the “where & how?” of getting it done.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are an excellent way to do this. By using S.M.A.R.T. goals you’ll position your organization to focus on goals that are tangible, increasing accountability & visibility (two very important aspects of any KPI!).

Stacking multiple S.M.A.R.T. goals based on your strategic vision makes success much more likely. As you go through this process, be sure to keep the unique circumstances surrounding your organization as well as your products and services in mind, and don’t forget the ever-important “why?” (increase sales, enhance customer experience, etc.) that is driving all your efforts.

2. Account for all your customer touchpoints

With the framework for implementing a plan out of the way, we can now dive into the nuts and bolts of measuring demand generation in automotive retail. This is where it gets interesting and the advancements in technology over the past few years unlock a world of new possibilities.

In the past, retailers had fewer touchpoints to work with, but in the digital age there is a wealth of data on consumers that can enable effective marketing campaigns. A holistic Omni-Channel approach to marketing accounts for all of these and helps ensure that you are effectively engaging with consumers and accurately measuring your performance across all the channels you use to engage with customers. In today’s digitally connected world, touchpoints that must be accounted for include:

• F2F – Arm each sales rep with a tablet, and develop an easy system for them to capture and report on their customer interactions inside the physical store.

• Web – Both your own website and the many comparison sites

• Social media – Did you know that Facebook tells every visitor to your Facebook how quickly they can expect a response from you? OR, if you’re jumping on the public Instagram/facebook/snapchat story bandwagon, are you monitoring who most frequently views your page’s “story”?

• Mobile – Geolocation paired with SMS marketing is a great way to reach audiences.

• Call center – Is there an inside sales team working on your behalf to stay in front of customers? If so, establish a solid feedback loop by instituting call tracking service and reinforcing the important of recording and reporting on customer feedback.

• Kiosks and DOOH (Digital out of home) advertising – These days, smart signage options can tell you who sees your instore ads and the areas of your store that are generating the most interest.

The only way to adequately track marketing effectiveness across all these channels is to capture customer data at all these points. This means using taking a digitally enabled approach to marketing that leverages customer behavior sensing technology, surveys, IoT devices (e.g. smart cameras, beacons, network-connected displays), QR codes on OOH ads, etc.

3. KPIs to measure

The specific demand generation KPIs you’ll want to measure will vary depending on your industry, market position, sales structure, and business objectives. As a marketing professional, you’re likely already familiar with many important metrics popular in the online world such as Engaged to Qualified Lead Conversion Rate, Lifetime Customer Value, Net Promoter Scores, etc. These are all important in their own way, and tracking them is often vital. However, the world of physical retail adds an additional layer of complexity to account for, and for that reason, we’d like to discuss some more physical-world specific KPIs you should keep in mind.

Some of the most important marketing KPIs for retailers include:

• Footfall metrics - KPIs in this category cover things like number of unique customer visits, new customer visits, walk-in rate, etc. In retail, it is important to understand the flow of foot traffic into and around your store, and these metrics help you do so.

• In-store journey metrics - Cover in-store dwell time, customer path, etc

• Transaction frequency - How often are your customers coming in to make a purchase?

• New customers - How many customers are coming into your store for the first time?

• Repeat customers - How many customers are making repeat visits?

The list of metrics we could discuss are almost endless, but the takeaway is simple: don’t get tunnel vision and focus only on what you can track online. A true omni-channel retailer offers a consistent customer experience across all channels, and doing this well means measuring KPIs across all channels.

4. Make granular insights

While capturing data and focusing on the right KPIs is important, knowing what to do with that information is what separates the winners and losers. Retail analytics gives your store granular insights to consumer behavior that allow you to accurately measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and make better decisions as a result. By incorporating all customer touchpoints into an omni-channel marketing demand strategy, you and your customers will be able to reap the benefits of the digital experience in retail.

This enables you to learn what works and what doesn’t and increase the effectiveness of your demand marketing. Customized and engaging content is more important than ever before. By analyzing what works and what doesn’t for a given customer demographic, you create an opportunity to optimize customer experience and refine your advertising campaigns to fit the needs of your customers. Further, what you learn can then help shape your strategy going forward, creating the aforementioned customer data-driven feedback loop.

Conclusion: Measure, learn, repeat

As you have seen, developing a plan to effectively measure demand generation in an omni-channel environment requires a focused, strategic, and analytical approach that uses data to drive decisions. By taking into account the unique circumstances and opportunities surrounding your business and focusing on measurable data and unbiased analytics to drive decisions, you can ensure you’re doing everything possible to accurately measure and optimize your demand generation efforts. To learn more about how a digitally enabled, data-driven approach to measuring demand generation can help you, contact Samsung SDS today.

John Bertoli
John Bertoli

John Bertoli currently serves as Head of Marketing & Partner Services at Samsung SDS America where he is responsible for brand awareness and driving demand through outbound campaigns and optimizing inbound marketing channels to generate meaningful opportunities for the various business units and solutions, namely retail technology, digital out of home (DOOH), HPC Managed Services, blockchain, and retail analytics software.