Like most grocery stores, Sprouts Farmers Market offers discounts and promotions to its customers through several channels including e-mails and online coupons. But thanks to new data Sprouts is acquiring through a partnership with analytics provider Manthan Systems, the grocer is launching a new loyalty program based on customer analytics, which provides the company with specific data about its shoppers and their behaviors, Sprouts Chief Information and Marketing Officer Steve Black said during a Big !deas session at NRF‘s BIG Show in New York City on Monday. The new program will transition from one that is based on data about items to one that integrates both customer analytics and item data, giving Sprouts a better picture of who its best customers are and how to best engage with those who fall into its target market, he said.
“Every single experience of every single customer is important every single day,” which is why Sprouts hopes to improve the customer experience through the new program, Black said.
As a business whose customer engagement is based on face-to-face, transactional and social interactions, Sprouts is hoping to build on the success it has found with its strategy that emphasizes its intersection of healthy eating and value, and capitalize on the success of analytics-based campaigns that thrive in an age in which people are always engaging with each other and brands on their mobile phones and other devices, Black said.
“Our jobs as retailers is to get to the future first and greet our customers when they arrive,” he said, and that is what Sprouts is hoping to achieve by integrating customer analytics into its marketing and loyalty strategies.
Ultimately, Black said Sprouts hopes to develop a system that knows the customer. The company is working on integrating multiple channels including social media and the Web to get the “full 360 view of the customer,” he said. Once Sprouts determines what its best customer looks like, the grocer can then work on one-on-one marketing, which Black said is the “future of marketing.”
“You can’t do one-on-one marketing until you know the customer,” he said.
Sprouts is also using customer analytics to help the company know when it loses customers and what the retailer needs to do to get them back. It’s also focusing identifying the channels through which customers choose to engage with with the grocer.
“We live in such a busy world…Customers want to be engaged where they want to be engaged,” he said.
Customer analytics data is being used to determine how to reach and educate customers on the platforms that are important to them, and the company wants to make sure that the information it gives customers is relevant to them, Black said.
The retailer is also looking toward using the data gleaned from customer analytics to help vendor partners provide Sprouts with better products, Black added.
In short, how does Black define what customer analytics means to Sprouts?
“I’ll give you three words,” he said. “Market to me.”