Customer Data: Tailor Your Approach

Customer data is where it’s at. Everyone wants it, but retailers can be timid when asking for it. Beef up your customer database and get to know your customers better. Here are some ideas to get the conversation going at checkout, without turning off the customer.


Ask for the important information first. When you ask for customer information, you are taking a risk that the customer will say no. As email boxes everywhere are overflowing with promotional emails, customers are becoming apprehensive to release their contact information. With that in mind, be creative, but prioritize what information is most important to your store.

Instead of asking, “What is your email? We would love to send you information about our upcoming sale,” try making the question a statement. For example, “Let’s get you into our store system so you can get our loyalty rewards.” This way gives you the opportunity to win them over, before they say no.

Make the offer worth it. If you are going to ask for their contact information, you should have a stellar deal or promotion worth their time and their email address. Based on your promotional offerings, focus on what they are getting, not what they are giving you. You can start with something like, “We give free gifts for customer birthdays- I would love to enter in your birthday so you can claim your gift!”

Incentivize your staff. Encourage your staff to be creative as well, and collect as much customer information as possible (while still keeping the customer happy). Provide your staff with rewards as you would your customers. For example, for every customer they successfully add into the system, they get a point. At 10 points, they get a store gift of your choosing. According to retail coach Barbara Crowhurst, you can offer your employees $1 for every email they get.  Once you get customer data, there is the question of how to use it.  Brad Anderson, ex-CEO of Best Buy contends that customer data is most useful to map customer preferences and behaviors, so retailers can better focus their strategies.