Forget the funnel, focus on data

July 2015

From the moment they wake up to when they go to sleep, people are adopting an always-online approach. Because consumers use multiple devices in the discovery and search period, AO World CEO and Founder John Roberts maintains the traditional funnel is dead. “We have to offer a consistent experience tailored to the device that the customer is using in that moment.”

Humanising data is really important to We’re an extremely customer-centric and data-orientated company. We track all elements of the customer journey, and this means we produce a lot of data. Through our own cross-device attribution model, we’re able to drive a consistent customer journey across multiple devices.

Cross-platform attribution means we’re identify when a customer has been on one platform or device, understand what they’ve been searching and their intent, and then feed that into our next point of contact, such as display or email. We then serve up content that’s relevant to their stage in the journey to constantly move the customer towards making an informed purchase decision that’s right for them.

What’s crucial to us is how we then make use of that search data or that customer query. Data should fuel customer insights to make things better, quicker, easier, cheaper and more efficient; it’s not just the latest buzzword. So, who is the visitor? Do we know them? Do we know people who look like them? How should we talk to them? If it’s a product search, what is that product? Data can tell us who is likely to buy that product and what interests them. This allows us to then execute the next step in the communication process by effectively giving them the information they’re looking for in a way that relates to their needs.

We obsess about, and invest in, every micro-detail of our customer journey. Data and digital sit at the heart of our ambition to help each and every customer make a purchase decision as an individual. Our teams across ecommerce, operations and customer services work closely together to make sure that we understand the needs of our customers, whether they be in the pre-purchase, in-market or post-purchase stage of their journey. Data has helped us understand what exactly the customer is after when they land on our site. We use data to see whether a consumer wants more information, ia shortlisting options or needs clear product advice. We also use it to understand the pinch points in the journey and whether there’s a more human way we can elevate our content and service above that of our competition.

Even once the customer has made a purchase and the product has been delivered, our data machine doesn’t stop. We are fanatical about capturing information on how the customer found their AO experience. We use a combination of NPS data and our own customer experience score system to constantly define areas for improvement and ways to keep our customers loyal.

In the next 12 months, we’re facing a huge opportunity to better help customers to make the right product choice for them. As we start to better understand customer intent, we plan to develop a suite of great content that serves every customer’s need, whether that be informative, advisory or inspirational. As we bring together our different data silos, the more relevant we can be. A stronger, more joined-up approach will enable us to have a more relevant discussion over the channel that the customer prefers, at the right time, and in the right location for them.

What can brands do right now to emulate our approach? Be honest with where you are and what you need to do. Often there are a lot of other foundations that need to be in place first, both in terms of infrastructure and culture, to enable the other things to happen. The world is moving to a model of one-to-one communications, so digital marketing will help brands to engage with the consumer in this changing environment.

Consumer behaviours are changing: 3 ways first party data can help you stay on top