Customers expect us to use their data to target them, says Boots

By Sooraj Shah
23 May 2012 View Comments
Boots sign

Customers of high-street pharmacy chain Boots expect it to use their data to target them with personalised messages across all channels, according to director of customer loyalty at Boots, Ruth Spencer.

Spencer, who was speaking at IBM's Smarter Commerce Global Summit held in Madrid this week, said high-street retailers had to change to keep up with these new consumer expectations.

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She said retailers must maximise "touch points" where customers and the business can interact, and then analyse the data that these interactions generate.

"Customers now believe [the company] uses its insight. They think ‘you've got my data, I expect you use it'," she said.

Spencer said Boots uses IBM owned-company Unica's marketing software solution to help it manage quarterly loyalty programme statements and in-store kiosk marketing programmes.

The solution helps the retailer to determine how best to contact a customer and the frequency of doing so by analysing a consumer's preferences and balancing this with the business' marketing goals.

Spencer said that Boots' Advantage Card scheme, which has 17.8 million members, allows the company to know what a customer is buying and to detect trends from their buying history.

"We can see if someone went to Boots to buy a few everyday products and then bought a sandwich [just because they were in the store] or vice versa," she said.

Another big shift for retailers is the ability to use social media and mobile.

"With social media we read through things that are written about Boots and if we find something of interest then we do an analysis on it.

"Retailers should not be afraid to adapt their websites for mobile. However, they have to focus on what consumers are really going to use the website for, such as store locations – not a big basket shop," she added.

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