Identity, Proximity, and the Future: What We’ll Be Talking About at eTail Asia

Mar. 10, 2015

eTail Asia starts today in Singapore, and I’ll be kicking off Day Two of the conference with opening remarks, as well as moderating the morning presentations.

So what will we be talking about? The agenda at eTail Asia is strongly focused on omnichannel marketing. Retailers are thinking about it, investing in it, and planning around it. Here’s why:

In recent years, omnichannel strategies have been treated as a major opportunity. But today it’s more than an opportunity; it’s a requirement. Customers now expect a seamless brand experience, and it can feel awkward when an experience is misaligned. This means retailers have to do more than measure—they need to take action.

Shoppers who use mobile in-store more buy more. That’s good news for savvy marketers, because 84% of smartphone-owning shoppers use their devices to help shop while in a store. Huge opportunities await marketers who can successfully connect mobile and in-store experiences.

But this is not just about retail: it’s about proximity. As we’ll be hearing at eTail Asia, proximity can enhance many other verticals including enterprise, local government, education, and human resources. The opportunities for proximity-aware technologies (such as beacons) to reshape our world are nearly endless, especially if we think big and share our ideas across industries.

So if tying these disparate channels together is where the marketing action is, why isn’t every retailer going all-in on omnichannel today?

The answer can be traced to the underlying and fundamental problems that stand in the way. Among them is a dated data infrastructure: Sixteen years ago, the only thing marketers could track was what customers did in the browser, using cookies. Today, there are many ways to track customers, not all of them simple.

There’s also the fragmentation issue: As the number of channels multiply, customer identifiers proliferate wildly. The systems that power these channels don’t talk to each other, and they can’t keep pace with omnichannel reality.

The only way for marketers to keep pace has been to rapidly increase the number of tools they use. A recent survey conducted by the Winterberry Group showed that the average marketer uses 12 distinct toolsets, and that some marketers use as many as 30.

Marketers need a single view of the customer solution that can collect, connect, and act on all available data—so that marketers understand where their customers have been, and where they’re going next.

After all, the customer journey can be a circuitous one, and there is no quick fix for getting the right experience to the person. But right now is the time for marketers and retailers to take a step back, and consider whether they truly have a view of the customer across all touchpoints at all times.

For every new media program, personalization strategy, or technology you adopt, customers expect your brand to know who they are and what they like. Now more than ever, it’s important to future-proof your marketing technology. And that’s our business at Signal.

Signal’s purpose-built platform helps brands create a unified view of their customers. If you’re at eTail Asia, let’s chat about how Signal can help you get a better perspective on your customers. Find me on Twitter at @toddchu, and learn more about a Unified View of the Customer in our ebook.