What exactly is identity resolution, and why does it matter to you as a B2C marketer?
Identity resolution is the process of stitching together data to fully understand who your buyers are and how they interact with your brand online—across devices, channels, and browsers.
How does that data impact you? It may sound outrageous, but your company's most loyal customers have, on average, six completely different identities in your marketing systems, including your ESP. It's not because your customers are purposely trying to confuse you or constantly adding in fake names and numbers. It's simply the nature of how buyers interact with e-commerce brands online.
Your loyal customers likely browse your site first on their mobile phone, then open an email in a different browser, then click a Facebook ad on their work computer, and then finally make a purchase on their home laptop. And that scenario is just one of the many paths of interaction your customers could be taking on their journey to a purchase.
It's incredibly important that as a B2C marketer you track each step of the journey as your customers interact with your brand. With that information, you can better understand how they buy and what they respond to, and therefore market to them more effectively.
Doing that isn't always easy to accomplish, but identity resolution is the first step to better personalizing and customizing your brand's e-commerce experience.
The Problem of the Modern Buyer
The path to purchase in e-commerce today is often complex. Your customers will use up to fivedevices within the same purchasing cycle, according to DigitasLBI. That number doesn't even include the many browsers and various channels they're using. That is ton of data you have to keep track of as a B2C marketer, and it quickly gets complicated.
At the same time, you need to fully understand the entire, winding omnichannel journey your customers take so that you can better personalize their buying experience.
If, for example, a customer browses your products on her mobile phone and then purchases on her desktop (something that is incredibly common in e-commerce), you may not realize it's the same person browsing and purchasing. If you haven't linked those two identities to the same customer, it's all too easy to send out an email offering a coupon on the product your customer has already purchased.
You've probably even seen that exact mistake before during your own online purchases. This type of personalization mistake makes your marketing team look silly and unprofessional, risking your relationship with a loyal customer.
Create a Single Customer Identity
Instead of collecting a bunch of overlapping identities for the same customer, you need to unify your view of your customers activity across website, mobile, email, and other channels or devices. That is what we mean when we talk about identity resolution.
With identity resolution technology, you can track every customer's multiple identities and unify them. That way, you know exactly when an individual customer visits your website, clicks on an ad, or makes a purchase.
That type of knowledge isn't just a nice-to-have, either. Unifying customer data allows you to truly personalize and customize every marketing interaction. Instead of batch-and-blast emails, you can personalize and target your marketing based on loyal customers' most recent interactions with your brand. If you know that they've browsed a specific product line, for example, you can send out a custom browse-abandonment campaign with product suggestions they're likely interested in.
With accurate customer data, you can start to understand the path buyers take to purchase, and you can improve your marketing results over time.
Automate and Improve Campaigns
With a better understanding of your loyal customers' behavior, you can start to better personalize and automate more of your marketing campaigns. You can actually create campaigns based on where your customers are in their lifecycle today, such as the first, second, or third purchase. You can also learn more about the products they've shown interest in, the products they've abandoned in carts, or the type of product they're most likely to buy again.
With such reliable customer data, you can send out an automated campaign without making an embarrassing personalization mistake and annoying your best customers.
With solid customer data, you'll know for a fact whether your customers haven't interacted with your brand in 30 days and are at risk. With that information, you can automatically send out a campaign to attempt re-engaging them and encouraging them to purchase again. You'll also know whether a loyal customer is browsing your site and keeps looking at the same product over and over again. With that information, you can send out an automated browse-abandonment campaign with a coupon that is likely to drive a sale.
The possibilities are truly endless once you have the right data driving your e-commerce marketing.
If you don't have the ability to resolve customer identity, it's incredibly easy to make marketing mistakes. Because your loyal customers can have numerous identities in your marketing systems, you need identity resolution. If you know your customer data is solid, you get more specific and personalized in your all of your e-commerce marketing.
Don't be afraid of the complexity of your customer data—get better at managing it.