About Jordan Elkind

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Relationship Marketing In Custora – New Software Release

“What can we do this month to nurture ‘almost VIP’ shoppers into ‘VIP’ customers?”


“What churn prevention tactics do we have in place for our highest value customers?”

“How are we converting our 1x buyer, fashion-focused customers to make a 2nd purchase?”


We all know marketing is about building long-lasting relationships with our customers. Yet with all the new marketing technology that has emerged over the past few years, we still find ourselves caught up in the busy short-term needs of manual list pulls and frenzied scrambles to get the daily email out the door. Marketing is busy, and marketing is hard — and there is usually little, if any, time for questions such as the ones above.


The new release of Custora is designed to make these types of conversations a reality. Over the past few years, we’ve been fortunate to work with some of the biggest names in retail, large and small, and young and old — and we’ve expanded the software to capture best practices across the board.


These include the “playbook” that most successful retail marketing teams follow for formulating and executing marketing strategy:

  • Opportunity sizing and prioritization: what opportunities emerge from the data — and where should the team focus its time and resources
  • Testing and iteration: what ideas and messages are the most effective for reaching different customer segments
  • Automation: how can the best ideas be automated to create a sustainable “retention system” over time?


How do teams actually use the new release in practice? Let’s imagine that BigStore USA, an ecommerce retailer, were to log in to the new retention dashboard. They’d see a breakdown of the most important customer-centric Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), tracking the strength of their relationships with customers throughout the lifecycle. (Click here to learn more about these KPIs.) And an opportunity sizing would show them the gains, that they could expect, benchmarked against results from similar retailers.


Exploring their data, they might discover that their most significant opportunity involves increasing the purchase rate of customers who are active and engaged with the brand. By navigating to the Retention Marketing Manager, they could then access the full array of triggers available to them to reward and deepen the loyalty of their most valuable customers. They would also discover the opportunity to launch “programs”: recurring campaigns focused on strategic segments of customers, like their VIPs and almost-VIPs.


BigStore USA would try a variety of ideas to surprise and delight their VIPs. One month they might try exclusive sneak-peek access to a new shoe collection; the next, they might try a thank-you note from the CEO. And for their “almost VIPs,” they might try rolling out the red carpet with free shipping upgrades and personal shopper consultations.


As they experimented with different approaches to loyalty cultivation, they would discover what ideas worked best for each segment — and the retention dashboard would track exactly how much their efforts were moving the needle on the relevant KPI. Over time, they would continue to iterate and automate their best-performing ideas to capture the full opportunity from this segment.


We’re excited to have the opportunity to share this new release — stay tuned to learn more about how other retailers are using Custora to power relationship marketing!

8 KPIs Every Customer Centric Marketer Should be Using

It’s no secret that retailers covet the ability to become truly customer centric in every facet of their business — from supply chain to marketing to customer service. For marketers, being able to communicate the right message to the right customer at the right time is critical.

Customer centric marketing allows you to put customers (not categories, channels, or events) at the center of all analysis and decision making, and allows you to internalize that customers each have different behaviors and preferences. And now, thanks to advances in technology, methodology and tools, it’s possible to appeal to each customer as an individual.

However, becoming a customer centric marketing organization takes buy-in on many levels. One of the first, and most important, steps is agreeing on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that your team will use to determine success.
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Mobile is Eating the World, the E-Commerce Edition

In looking at holiday data from The Custora Pulse, we were struck by how much mobile shopping matured in 2013. More and more people are browsing and buying on mobile devices, and revenue from mobile continues to climb.


To get a sense of just how much e-commerce mobile has grown, we looked at the period of time between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday for 2013 and compared it to the same period in 2012. In 2012, 25% of e-commerce site visits came from a phone or a tablet, while during that same period in 2013, mobile was responsible for 40% of visits.


In 2012, less than one of every five purchases was made on a mobile device, in 2013 that number jumped to one in four. Black Friday specifically (aka “Mobile Friday”) saw over 40% of online transactions coming from mobile.


While these trends were observed during the holiday season, the trend will surely continue in 2014. Here are a few recommendations e-commerce marketers can benefit from as they’re getting ready for this new, mobile reality:


Keep your eye on iOS
While Android did gain a little bit of market share (up to 17% in 2013 from 13% during holiday 2012), iPhone and iPad users continue to drive online mobile retail with 83% and 90% of their respective markets. (tweet this stat)


Prepare for total device convergence
By looking at average order value (AOV) across different devices, we’ve been able to see that shoppers are behaving in similar ways across devices. In 2013 we saw mobile AOV pull almost neck-and-neck with AOV for desktop purchases. The AOV within mobile got closer as well, with tablets seeing just 10% higher AOV compared to phones in 2013, versus 20% more on tablets from 2012. (tweet this stat)


Keep working on converting
While mobile site visits climb, conversion rates continue to lag behind those for desktop shoppers. Desktop users converted at about 25% higher rates than tablet and almost 90% higher than mobile phones during Holiday 2013. (tweet this… you guessed it ;)) It’s imperative that retailers make their mobile sales and checkout process as comfortable for their customers as possible– think intuitive, secure, and easy to navigate.


The holiday season demonstrated just how big mobile has become. Now it’s time for online retailers and smart marketers to take advantage of this huge opportunity in 2014.
To continue keeping an eye out for mobile and e-commerce stats, sign up to receive updates from The Custora Pulse. The Custora Pulse is the only free, real-time US e-commerce industry benchmark, and is based on transaction and customer data from over 100 US e-commerce retailers. Check it out here: http://www.custora.com/pulse.


Craving more Holidata?
For extensive coverage of US e-commerce holiday performance, download our recap report:

A longer form version of this article was recently published on Direct Marketing News. You can check it out here.

Announcing a New Custora U Course: Predictive Analytics

predictive analytics headerOur newest Custora U course on Predictive Analytics is now available. This course will get you acquainted with Predictive Analytics, and why it is important in e-commerce marketing (hint: you can see into the future without using magic).

We discuss when and why to use predictive analytics, talk about how it’s made a big impact in industries ranging from airlines to healthcare, and discuss its uses in retail and e-commerce marketing.

By the end of the course, you will be able to answer the following questions:

1) What is predictive analytics and how does it apply to retail and e-commerce marketing?

2) How does predictive analytics complement historical analytics?

3) What sorts of questions can predictive analytics help you answer?

4) How can you begin to use predictive analytics in your business?


Check out the course here, or get the ebook: A short PDF you can download, print out, or read on the go on your reader, phone or tablet.

Enter your email address below to download the Predictive Analytics ebook PDF.


What is Cross-Channel Customer Centricity and Why it Matters

The promise of customer centricity is better, more personal relationships with your customers — the ability to answer (and take action) on questions like:

  • Who are my most valuable customers, and what do they have in common?

  • When are individual customers beginning to “fade away”?

  • What category or product is an individual customer most likely to respond to?

The foundation of a customer-centric marketing strategy is knowing your customers. Not in some general “average-y” way, like the average age or income or order value of your customer base. It means, literally, being able to observe and follow individual customers over time.

E-commerce provides the perfect platform for a customer-centric marketing approach. By nature of the online checkout process, e-retailers collect all of the information on their customers that they need to track that shopper over time. Retailers can piece together how individual customers are evolving, what types of items they’re buying together, and what messages and offers are likely to resonate most with them.

This is great for e-commerce retailers. But what about companies that operate in the traditional brick-and-mortar channel as well as online? How can they link the online behavior of their shoppers to their in-store purchases to create a richer picture of individual customers?

The possibilities of this cross-channel “single view” of the customer are tantalizing. Imagine a customer goes into a store and buys a particular pair of heels. The next time she logs into Facebook, she sees a display ad from the same retailer highlighting jewelry that would go well with those shoes. A few months later she receives an email showing her winter boots from the same shoe brand, and when she logs in to her account on the company’s site she sees other items that are recommended just for her based on her initial purchase.

This is exactly the kind of cross-channel marketing strategy that would facilitate a rich, fulfilling brand relationship. But it turns out that tracking individual customers has long posed a challenge to traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s more difficult to identify individual customers — in part because shoppers may pay in cash or use a variety of credit, debit, and gift cards. The most effective way that stores have developed to track customers is through proprietary loyalty programs that reward customers with discounts or perks. Celebrated success stories include the casino Harrah’s Total Rewards loyalty program and Tesco’s Clubcard.

In short, the challenges are real. But why is it so important to develop a single cross-channel view of the customer?

Get a clearer picture of your customers. You might know a customer well based on his online behavior. But wouldn’t you have a richer profile if you could also bring in what he was doing offline? For example, a customer who bought only a wallet from your website might look like a budget-conscious accessories shopper. But if you knew he had also purchased a suit and shoes from your brick-and-mortar location, you would talk to him in a very different way. Leveraging all the data you have on your customers enables you to form a more accurate picture of each and every shopper.

Engage your customers across all touchpoints. Brick-and-mortar retailers invest heavily in training their sales staff to engage with prospective customers, educate shoppers about products of interest, and provide tailored recommendations. But all too often these same companies then talk to all their customers the same way through “batch-and-blast” emails. Imagine you could bring the same level of in-store personalization to your online communications — reaching your customers at the right time, with the right message to reinforce the brand relationship and maximize the likelihood of a purchase. Tools like email and Facebook custom audiences enable you to target individual customers, while e-commerce sites that have an account login can personalize the onsite experience for users. Leading home decor site One Kings Lane, for example, uses predictive data on individual customers to customize the merchandise that these shoppers see when they log in to the site.

Deepen brand relationships. Creating a single cross-channel view of the customer enables retailers to delight customers and reward loyalty, regardless of where the interaction takes place. Imagine going to check out at your favorite store, and being rewarded with a discount or an invitation to an exclusive in-store event based on your online shopping behavior. Or being on the phone with a customer service representative, and having the service rep thank you for your recent Facebook “like” with a free shipping upgrade. Retailers like apparel company Bonobos are already putting metrics like customer lifetime value (CLV) at the center of their customer service and in-store efforts.

Ultimately, a truly unified “single view” of the customer across channels is still in its early days. But savvy marketers are already looking at ways to move past channel silos and put the individual customer at the center of all of their marketing communications. If early indicators tell us anything, it’s that these efforts will pay rich dividends.

About Custora and How We Can Help

Custora is a customer-centric marketing platform that helps e-commerce retail marketing teams acquire, retain, and segment their customers. Retailers are using Custora this holiday season to improve their customer acquisition and retention efforts by finding out which marketing channels bring in valuable customers, making changes to acquisition budget and programs, optimizing promotion performance and segmenting their customer base to provide a personalized holiday shopping experience across all channels.

Custora works with leading e-commerce innovators and established retailers such as LivingSocial, Etsy, Fab, and Bonobos. If you’re interested in learning more about Custora, you can request a demo here.