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EBay exec says mobile loyalty missteps are driving away consumers

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January 13, 2015

ebay real 185NEW YORK – An eBay executive at the NRF 104th Annual Convention & Expo said mobile loyalty program data collection must be more stringently managed to keep the process from driving away consumers while marketers are on a learning curve.

Gayatri Patel, director of data platform strategy and initiatives with eBay, said in a panel, “Changing Face of Loyalty Marketing,” that restraints in loyalty program data collection are necessary to prevent consumers from feeling invaded and turning off.

“We’re a little too immature in our industry to just let data run itself,” Ms. Patel said. “We need to err conservatively.”

The panel speakers also included Eric Singleton, chief information officer, Chico’s, and  Sahal Laher, executive vice president and chief information officer, Brooks Brothers. Steve Gordon of SAS moderated the session.

Consumer’s needs

The panelists were asked how the use of data, technology and analysis let marketers better anticipate and meet the consumer’s needs.

“We’re data-rich but insight-poor,” Mr. Laher said

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At what point will consumers say, enough?

The discussion raised the issue of whether marketers are going too far in allowing data and automations to take over decision-making.

“We let data and automations of our models just run and make decisions for us,”  without a human presence saying this is too personal for this group of customers, Ms. Patel said. “Maybe we should err on the conservative side. At least you protect customer from feeling that ‘I gave you information, now why would you recommend this?’”

Data-driven marketing is becoming prominent. Organizations that are leaders in data-driven marketing have reported far higher levels of customer engagement and market growth than their laggard counterparts.

The travel industry is setting itself apart from the pack in its ability to leverage mobile data to drive customer engagement, loyalty and satisfaction, according to a report from Forbes Insights and Turn.

Sixty-seven percent of travel executives say they have achieved competitive advantage in customer engagement and loyalty through data-driven marketing, with a big contribution from mobile, according to the report, “Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: The Rise of the New Marketing Organization.” The results also show how integrating mobile data with other digital initiatives can increase customer loyalty, customer engagement and market growth.

When panelists were asked for their five year retail industry outlook, the increasingly global nature of marketing was highlighted.

“It’s not about locale – coming to one location to buy goods and services,” Ms. Patel said. “It’s going to be worldwide. Because it’s global, we’re going to have access to products and goods and services we’ve never had before.”

Key part

The report clearly showed that data is a key part of today’s new marketing organization, and a fully integrated approach among digital initiatives – big data, cloud, social and mobile – is critical for success, Paul Alfieri, senior vice president of marketing for Turn, told Mobile Marketer.

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Time to put the brakes on data?

“The omnichannel experience is hard for the retailers to react to, how to react back to the customer,” Ms. Patel said. “To make it more tailored and personalized. There’s just too many new changes that need to be developed and integrated,” she said.

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

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