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CapitaLand on how to use big data in shopper marketing

The digital age has given rise to a new marketplace borne out of the combination of physical and online stores.

Speaking at Marketing’s Shopper Marketing conference 2015, Jason Ong, senior marcom manager for CapitaLand Mall Asia, said this meant that now, more than ever, “consumers are empowered”.

Here’s how brands can cater to this audience.

How the era of big data has changed shopper marketing

Noting the rise of the new-age shoppers, Ong said that consumers were equipped with a digital voice that enabled them to be connected and influential.

“Digital has allowed consumers to become even more influential and the digital sphere now replaces the traditional word-of-mouth where information and opinion can be shared instantly and wirelessly,” he said.

The rapid rise in technological adoption means that shopper behaviour within malls can be traced to discover shopper habits.

“You can see a lot of technology, with censors looking at all the traffic points,” he said noting that high investment in new infrastructure is being made to ensure connectivity.

“Because of this one-touch lifestyle, shopper behaviour has changed,” he added, arguing that marketers also need to reinvent themselves and learn new skills to keep up with this shift.

“A lot of things are influencing consumers.”

Big data has contributed to a more measurable and more trackable platform, generating a lot of data on shoppers’ habits. Thus, shopper marketing has changed due to the specific insights gained from big data that were unavailable before, adding that “past shopper marketing theories and approaches are becoming redundant”.

“Five to 10 years ago insights drawn from data were limited compared to where we are now,” he said, adding that marketers should change their playbooks.

“Marketers should forget what you have learnt and learn new shopper marketing knowledge and skills in order to target the empowered consumer effectively.”

Getting insights without POS systems

“Since points of sales are owned by tenants, deriving customer insights through points of sale is not possible,” Ong said, explaining the firm had other ways of tracking insights.

However, according to Ong, there are other sources of customer insights that can be gained through other platforms, namely loyalty products, Wi-Fi usage, digital platforms, mall traffic sensors, shopper surveys and feedback, queue systems, CCTV and tenants transaction reports, among others.

For example, the mall is able to track the time of day when data is used frequently, signalling areas of heavy traffic in the mall. The mall’s free Wi-Fi also requires a user to sign in, thus enabling another form of tracking and customer insight.

CCTV technology allows the study of shopper habits and preferences in shopping malls.

CapitaLand Mall Asia also conducts shopper surveys to study shopper behaviour. In deriving reliable customer insights from these sources, Ong explained that to process multiple sources of insights, marketers need to understand the differences of these sources and mix and match them accordingly to derive fresh shopper insights.

Using customer insights to take the retail experience forward

“Big data is overwhelming and there is a need to simplify it. Select what is essential and stick to the three T’s – target, test and try again.”

Since shoppers are increasingly going digital, on-site shoppers are more than ever looking for an experience.

“On-site shoppers these days are looking for entertainment, not just for product, so a sales person must do more to delight your customers so they can then share this experience on social media.”

Consumers want to contribute and have a share of voice in the digital and shopping spheres, since big data goes beyond transactional data.

Ong cited examples of taking the retail experience forward by mixing digital and physical interaction. CapitaLand Mall Asia, for example, installed a Social Wall @ Westgate – a self-service kiosk to encourage mall shoppers to interact with one another.

Other digital initiatives also include the #BuildSG2065 campaign which encourages Singaporeans to submit inspiring ideas online on the kind of buildings, for example, malls and houses, they envision in the next 50 years.

The era of big data has changed shopper marketing, therefore customer insights will be the key to staying relevant, he concluded.

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