COVID-19 accelerated the trend toward hyper-targeted customer experiences, forcing retailers to rethink their CX strategies and meet customers where they are.
Whether that included curbside pickups, home deliveries, subscription offers or personalized in-store experiences, meeting rising consumer expectations became business-critical in a saturated and ever-changing marketplace.
And how did brands address these strategic business priorities? By relying on the transformational power of technology, according to 87% of corporate directors.
In our recent webinar — Utilizing CDPs to Deliver Better Experiences — leading grocery company Albertsons Companies revealed how it used technology to become more customer-centric, increase speed to market and improve overall performance via its customer data platform (CDP).
Selecting a CDP
When COVID-19 struck, Albertsons and its family of brands — including Safeway, Vons and Jewel-Osco — embarked on a digital transformation that would normally take years. The grocery company aimed for much sooner.
“It was critical for us to offer flexibility to our customers and reach them where they are, rather than having them come to our stores,” said Director of Marketing & Advertising Platforms Sankett Deshpande. “We had to present them with a multitude of offerings and flexibilities.”
But to truly understand its customers — their characteristics, behaviors and preferences — and then take action on that insight, Albertsons needed a way to collect, analyze and activate customer data at scale.
The company evaluated CDPs based on seven key factors — data collection, profile unification, segmentation, signalization, activation, attribution and platform architecture.
“ActionIQ fit the bill across all of these seven criteria that we had set out when we embarked upon the journey of implementing a customer data platform,” Deshpande said.
Uncovering Customer Insights
Working in partnership with customer experience management company Merkle, Albertsons set about unifying its customer data — using both first-party data and third-party signals — to create a comprehensive view of its customers. From there, the company was positioned to better understand its customer base and the activation channels it needed to focus on.
“[I]t was definitely a successful collaboration between ActionIQ and Merkle, where we were able to send out real-time communications to our customers as they sign up within the store to our FreshPass initiative or even to any of our subscription initiatives that we have with Albertsons,” Deshpande said.
Albertsons soon began executing on new use cases, such as automated cart abandonment reminders that notified digital shoppers of products they had added to their online carts but not yet purchased.
As Deshpande said, automated communications such as these are “a huge revenue opportunity for a grocery chain.”
But even more important to Albertsons was its new-found ability to develop personalized journeys for its customers.
“With ActionIQ, we are now able to have a unified customer profile platform that combines traditional transaction data and behaviors, all focused on the customer at the center,” Deshpande said. “We can now truly get deep understanding of customer behavior intent to make every interaction the most meaningful experience for our customers where they are.”
Empowering Internal Teams
In order to deliver personalization at scale, Albertsons needed to enable its internal teams to self-serve valuable customer insights. Thanks to ActionIQ’s business user-friendly interface, the grocery company’s loyalty and marketing teams were able to access the data they needed to develop and launch cross-channel campaigns quickly and easily.
“Previously, our loyalty teams wrote a lot of pages of SQL queries, just for audience extraction, for offers and also for email targeting,” Deshpande said. “And they also spent a lot of time on QA of the audience files and who is getting allocated for what emails and offers we have within our app. With ActionIQ, our loyalty and marketing business teams can now build and activate audiences, whether it’s on LiveRamp or Adobe Campaign, inside of the CDP.”
This insight-driven approach to journey orchestration — no longer reliant on time-consuming processes or technical assistance — helped Albertsons provide greater personalization across channels while speeding up new marketing initiatives. It previously took the company a month to stand up one use case — now it’s able to activate five in the same time period.
“If we go back two years, we were writing SQL queries — hundreds of pages of SQL queries — and now we are enabling our marketing and loyalty business teams to activate campaigns where the customers are in literally the span of a week…,” Deshpande said. “For example, if a customer preference is for organic food on push notifications or email, we are able to reach out to the customer for the right product on the right channel.”
ActionIQ customers see big boosts in performance thanks to more personalized service and communications — such as increases in conversion rates and average purchase value of 80% and 20%, respectively. Albertsons was no different.
“Personalized messaging powered by ActionIQ drove approximately 30% weekly click rate and 37% weekly redemption rate,” Deshpande said.
The high-quality first-party data Albertsons is collecting and channeling into its campaigns is helping the company target and retarget customers across all channels, including email, SMS, push notifications and paid media.
“We are truly enabling omnichannel personalization capabilities across the user journey where the users are,” Deshpande said.
And the company’s investment in its CDP has helped it move up the customer engagement maturity curve in more ways than one.
“So rather than blasting the customer with multiple emails within a week, we are now taking a methodical approach on what campaign should be activated for what customers based on what segments, and then how many campaigns the customer should receive in a given amount of time where they are within the customer journey,” Deshpande said.
From dietary concerns to channel preferences, Albertsons now has the actionable data and tools it needs to deliver the experiences its customers want — where, when and how they want them.
Check out the full webinar featuring Albertsons to learn more about how the company improved customer experiences using ActionIQ.
Download our 2021 CDP Market Guide to learn how the right CDP can help you enhance and expand revenue streams, drive operational efficiency and improve customer experience.