This post is sponsored by Loqate, a GBG Solution.
Navigating the customer experience is an increasingly complex maze, and it can be easy for retailers to get lost. But taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies, such as location intelligence, can set retailers apart from the competition. In this interview, Matthew Furneaux, global commercial director at Loqate, discusses meeting consumer demand for personalized, relevant shopping experiences, how location intelligence helps retailers deliver on those demands and where Loqate fits into the bigger picture of retail location intelligence.
Why is location intelligence important in today's retail environment?
Today it's vital that brands understand that a location is more than just a pin on a map. Digital-savvy consumers demand that their chosen brands completely understand that “everyone has their somewhere” and that individuals have their own set of unique circumstances. The trick is using this knowledge to deliver relevant and seamless experiences.
For example, on-demand consumer services using GPS to RFID and in-store beacons fuse real-world browsing with digital experiences and purchases. Perhaps your fridge pings an order of low-stock food items direct to your grocery retailer to have it delivered to its exact location. Technology that seems like it's from a futuristic movie starring Tom Cruise is now becoming the everyday innovation that consumers demand, and it's all powered by location intelligence services. When retailers use location technology to its fullest they will be in the unique position to bring order to a chaotic world of consumer data. At Loqate, we are helping some of the world's leading retailers to improve their customers' experiences through enhanced location technology and better data -- or put more simply, helping every business in the world reach every customer in the world.
How does the launch of Loqate bring together the strengths of different brands to offer retailers what they need when it comes to location intelligence?
At Loqate, we’ve combined the best technology capabilities, data and customer service of five of the world's leading location intelligence brands into one global solution. We are now the foremost data specialist in location intelligence.
Together as Loqate, we help over 13,000 businesses all over the world to give their customers a better experience, however they choose to shop. Our technology gives consumers the power to search in real time and instantly validate their address, email or phone number in their favorite retailer's checkout, improving user experience, reducing cart abandonment rates and ensuring accurate customer data is captured -- vital for building customer relationships, and, in some cases, vital from a regulatory point of view. Additionally, by combining the capability of these five brands, Loqate is also able to help businesses ensure data already in their systems is accurate. For example, when retailers join forces, how do they ensure that once combined their customer data is the best it can possibly be? Loqate has the powerhouse engine that can rapidly cleanse databases and ensure data quality, meaning businesses can always reach their customers.
Describe the importance of high-quality data, technology, customer experience and consumer insights in today's retail environment.
Customer and retailer relationships are more important than they've ever been. A bad experience can mean you’ve lost that customer forever, and not only that, but that customer probably will spread those bad vibes to family and friends. It is therefore important that multichannel retailers -- particularly ones who are looking beyond their domestic markets -- build trust and provide the best possible experience. This starts from the moment a customer walks through the door or lands on your site, from product selection to checkout and delivery, and of course ongoing sales and marketing efforts. I'd add that it's important not to forget data that is already in your system, potentially rotting away -- there are opportunities to re-engage with old and forgotten customers if you are able to cleanse that data and make sure it's relevant for today. Retailers can continue to build a positive brand experience for individual customers at home or abroad, as well as improve the efficiency of business operations and analysis when they combine great technology with great data.
How does Loqate help retailers ensure they are incorporating these things into their business operations?
Consumers are demanding a better experience, and they are justified in doing so. Why would they want to hand over their hard-earned money to a brand that doesn’t care about making the experience the best it can be?
At Loqate, we continuously strive to support retailers in their quest to offer the best customer experience through deep customer insight. We do this through better data, better technology and better people.
Our real-time data capture technology -- however it is consumed -- works across any device and is quick and simple to integrate. This means we can cater to all sizes of businesses, from a retailer who might have a small online presence and ship a thousand t-shirts a year right through to a multinational enterprise with millions of customers and a presence on every continent. We work with official data partners and our data sets can accurately verify addresses in over 245 countries and territories. This means our customers can offer that same great experience and collect and maintain quality data wherever they are in the world.
Why is offering consumers a seamless shopping experience, wherever they are in the world, vital in today's digital age, and how does Loqate play into that aspect of retail?
Digitally empowered shoppers expect seamless and relevant customer experiences, but this needs to be underpinned by personalized information across multiple channels. The smartest of retailers allow for customers to interact with them how they want, when they want and where they want -- location intelligence is key to this.
Forrester recently reported that 20% of global e-commerce sales will be made up of cross-border purchases by 2022. However, international retailers will only see success when they ensure they provide a seamless shopping experience. Retailers who are looking to expand internationally really need to understand what internationalization means to them, and that they should only work with technologies and partners that help them to cater to the unique circumstances of their global customer.Loqate has partnered with Retail Week, a team of retail experts and journalists, Planet Retail RNG, a global retail intelligence and advisory business and World Retail Congress who bring together the minds and expertise of retail leaders from across the globe to produce the first ever Loqate Internationalization Retail Index. The research analyzes the best of the best when it comes to retailers who are expanding internationally. What’s unique about the index is that it looks at more than just revenue and presence – it evaluates the full online capabilities that leading retailers are using so other retailers can learn what quick wins and long-term strategies they can put in place to broaden their global appeal and provide and maintain that seamless customer experience.
Matthew Furneaux is the global commercial director for location intelligence specialist Loqate, a GBG solution. As co-founder of Global Address in the late 1990s, he helped to create the international address verification sector as it’s known today, and since then he has spent the past two decades working in the field of commercial technology, with most of this time spent specializing in data quality and location intelligence. Matthew joined GBG in 2013 to lead the international address verification business, and now, as global commercial director across the enlarged location intelligence business known as Loqate, Matthew is responsible for setting future strategy and aligning customer needs and behaviors with Loqate’s technology solutions.