Updated March 3 at 11:03am

Mining customer data can pan out in repeat sales

By Lindsay Lorenz
PBN Researcher

If a company has customers, then it also has data about them. For some businesses, the uncertainty comes in how to harness that data and leverage it to their benefit. More

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Mining customer data can pan out in repeat sales

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If a company has customers, then it also has data about them. For some businesses, the uncertainty comes in how to harness that data and leverage it to their benefit.

During the second part of PBN’s Social Media and Marketing Summit held Feb. 27, panelists attempted to shed some light on this topic and other areas of technology-based marketing.Through customer interactions, company websites, mobile apps and social media sites – even payment transactions – companies have access to what’s known as “big data,” data sets that can be measured by volume, such as the number of transactions; velocity, perhaps the number transactions per minute; and variety, things like tweets, reviews or likes on Facebook.

According to panelist Matt Sly, vice president of products at Swipely, a company specializing in payment marketing for small businesses, there can be clues about customers in that data.

Swipely, which works mostly with restaurants, uses credit card transactions to learn more about a company’s clients. Each client who pays with a credit card begins as an anonymous user, but by tracking that user’s actions, a company can build a profile around its customers to find out how much the average sale is, who the best customers are, the amounts of new and returning customers and how sales are affected during campaigns. Eventually, if the customer opts into a program, the merchant can attach an identity to the customer to tailor its marketing efforts.

Knowing so much about people’s habits is something that, as a lawyer, fascinates Brian Lamoureux, a partner with law firm Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC. Lamoureux said companies are starting to explore a new trend called “if then marketing,” in which technology makes both the company and the consumer marketers.

For instance, when a waiter stops by a table to collect payment, he can offer an incentive to the customer. He might suggest that if the customer posts to Facebook that they just ate at the restaurant, the restaurant will pick up the tab for their valet parking.

“Within that five-second interaction with payment, there will be this interesting dialogue with the consumer to help us push our product to your friends and you’ll get something right now,” he said.

In addition, it could help the company learn more about their customers.

But sometimes, how much you can learn about a customer depends on how it easy you make it for them to share information about themselves.

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