To massively misquote the late, great Barry White, data is every company’s first, last, and everything. Data informs how brands develop content, focus their marketing, and optimize strategy. Many up-and-comers look at the big boys of their industries, like Amazon, Nike, and Starbucks, and wish they had the sheer data these companies have to work with. But it’s not the amount of data companies should be pining for -- it’s the way these companies innovate in how they use the data that hungry brands should study. Here are 5 ways giant brands utilize data to increase their traffic and boost their ROI.

  1. Enhancing User Experience with Search
  2. Personalizing Experiences
  3. Improving Organic Search Presence - also optimizing using key phrases & questions instead of just keywords.
  4. Utilizing Multiple Marketing Channels
  5. Retargeting Intelligently

If your website has poor user experience, especially when it comes to site search, your time, money, and strategy that brought them there becomes wasted. Lineate recognizes the importance of fast, helpful, and great user experience when a customer explores your site--which is why we have created an eBook that highlights the features and methodologies customers have come to expect when they visit a site, and the best strategy to utilize them. In this eBook, we go over a few examples of major brands that maximize site search functionality. One of the brands that does this exceptionally well is Nike.

Nike has a problem with ecommerce. As opposed to many other products, people still tend to purchase shoes at physical retail stores. This makes sense, since the comfort, fit and look of a shoe can vary, and savvy customers want to try them on before they buy. But Nike found a way to succeed, and a big part is in their website search functionality. A quick type of ‘jo’ in the search bar, and the most likely search, “Air Jordans” pops into the screen. Even better, they offer pictures of the most popular Jordans with a ‘view all’ link on the bottom. Clicking that, you are brought to their product page, where the left fourth of the screen is a menu that allows you to filter the products by color, size, gender, and price. Soon, you find the exact shoe you are looking for, and combined with their Nike Fit app (which uses AI to perfectly measure your shoe size), buying shoes without trying them on doesn’t sound like a crazy idea.

Nobody has been personalizing their webpage better and for longer than Amazon. For over 20 years, they have been using an algorithm they call “item-based collaborative filtering” to give personalized online recommendations to their massive customer base. This algorithm makes the homepage of each of its many millions of customers unique, based on their interests and previous purchasing history. As Brent Smith of Amazon.com puts it—“It’s as if you walked into a store and the shelves started rearranging themselves, with what you might want moving to the front, and what you’re unlikely to be interested in shuffling further away.” For an eCommerce company that sells pretty much everything to pretty much everybody, this personalization is vital to their success. And this success comes from having massive amounts of relevant data, and a great AI system to extrapolate this data into suggestions that point their customers towards their next sale.

Tech-savvy customers expect to find what they need at any time, from any method. Consumers are increasingly researching and purchasing through visual and verbal methods, as opposed to text-based searches. And once again, Amazon leads the way in providing multiple pathways to finding what their customers need. They now possess alternate purchasing avenues—such as through Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, or their new physical stores, Amazon Go—that create seamless shopping experiences for their customers. Through products like Amazon Echo, Amazon makes it easier for customers to purchase products, but also gives itself other data points, such as what music they are listening to. These data points make it easier to give more holistic suggestions.

Multi-channel marketing is the practice of using multiple avenues to contact customers. Whether through online ads, emails, push notifications or even traditional commercials, multi-channel marketing makes it simple for marketers to reach their audience and increase conversion rates and gives the customer more choice in the method of delivery. One company that utilizes multiple marketing channels masterfully is Starbucks. In addition to normal marketing methods, Starbucks began experimenting with personalized push notifications based on a customer’s location and personal data. With their app, Starbucks can track when you are most likely to buy coffee, and will send you messages based on the time and location, and will send promotions based on previous purchases. This attention to detail and use of data can be complicated, but is well worth it. Fortunately, there are data orchestration tools that manage and maximize multiple marketing campaigns, such as Lineate’s Dataswitch.

A consumer goes to an eCommerce site and looks at a pair of sneakers. She doesn't buy them. Soon, she gets bombarded with digital ads for those sneakers. That’s retargeting--but not intelligent retargeting. It just uses one data point. But the more you know about a customer, the more convincing your retargeting efforts will become. Knowing a customer’s interests, how they like to be contacted, and when are just a few ways to create targeted remarketing campaigns that work -- and that don’t seem annoying or creepy. Target, for instance, infamously retargeted customers with available data, but failed to question whether it was appropriate or even wise to do so. They learned their lesson and now run smart retargeting campaigns that bring people back to their stores. Remember that customers like to share their thoughts with companies (through surveys, reviews, social media interactions and term of service agreements), so there are plenty of datapoints to use to bring people back to your site and get the sale.

Custom search has improved website experiences, helped find products faster, and increased retention, conversions and ROI. To see how it can work for your business, contact us for a free site evaluation today.