The best data wins…

Most of you have read or seen Moneyball. The true story explains how the Oakland Athletics had the data to make great decisions right under their noses for years. They only started winning when their brave GM stopped focusing on the same metrics as everyone else and realized that “if you want to buy wins, you need to buy runs”. The A’s built a team and an action plan around this simple idea. Arguably the rest of the league focused on metrics that were common but imperfect proxies for runs (e.g. batting average).  

Today retailers are overwhelmed by data: trends, panels, sentiment, satisfaction, profitability and more. But what retail data matters most to winning? Sales data of course. But more specifically, sales data that illuminates:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What can you do to influence them to buy more from you?

Amazon and other e-tailers know these answers, but most traditional retailers don’t have the customer data they need. They can’t connect sales transaction data to consumer data to marketing data. Consumer data is the foundational issue for retail marketing. Although it can be partially overcome through focused efforts within eCommerce, mobile, loyalty, or payments, mapping purchases to consumers is very hard to do. This is not just a technical problem, but also a legal/privacy one, as acquiring and using consumer information requires you to navigate the rights associated with it.  

The biggest data source you never knew about

What if one of your closest partners had the missing link? With years of historical data? With consumer privacy standards above your own? Ready to go next week?  

No it’s not a dream. Merchant acquirers have it and it is indeed available to you next week.  

Merchant acquirers are the banks that serve retailers within the Visa and Mastercard Network. They typically receive 100% of your card transactions, along with the information that merchants send them like transaction ID, store ID, transaction type… etc. Within Visa/Mastercard network rules, merchants have the right to use card transaction data for the purpose of loyalty and marketing. The historical challenge is that merchant acquirers hold no consumer information, and even if they did, they would be constrained in how they could use it.  

Commerce Signals solves both problems, allowing retailers to access the biggest first party source of your consumer sales data, in a near real time, within our privacy centric architecture. With over 1.2B Visa and Mastercards in the US, your acquiring bank covers 92% of all credit and debit card transactions (The Nilson Report; Mar 2018). If cash and gift cards account for 20% of your sales, that is 74% of all your sales transactions, sitting in a data lake ready for you to leverage. Merchant acquirers have your data and it can only be used for your benefit.  

Of course, merchant acquirers can’t just give you their database of transactions for you to append to your CRM. And that’s probably why you didn’t know about it until now. There’s no “buy now” button for this data in 3rd party databases and CDPs. Commerce Signals bridges the control and privacy gap between banks and retailers by creating a Federated Data® connection. Now you can access your payment data and use it to win.  

Location Tracking: Everybody’s Doing It

Over the last 6 years, location data (i.e. foot traffic based upon mobile data) has been the primary data set used to answer questions like “Who are my customers?” and “What can I do to influence them?” Location data is akin to batting average in Moneyball. It’s a pretty good proxy for what really matters (sales), but it has drawbacks that reduce its actionability:  

  • Relies primarily on incomplete 3rd party tracking that isn’t always on
  • Typically takes weeks
  • Ignores online and mobile app buyers

This means that location data provides much smaller sample sizes than card data. Sample size is hugely important to uncovering statistically significant, actionable insights. Here’s an example:  

  • Study A shows your campaign drove a 2% sales lift
  • Study B shows your campaign drove a 2% sales lift with Ad X delivering 4% lift and Ad Y delivering no lift at all.

When this data is provided in near real time, clearly, study B is the actionable one. You would shift spend from Ad Y to Ad X and double your sales lift. All thanks to deep transaction coverage that drives huge sample sizes available through your merchant acquirer.  

Your Biggest First Party Data Resource

What does reliable sales data at speed allow you to do? Play Moneyball!! A great place to start is to measure your addressable marketing campaigns. When you know what’s driving sales this week, you can choose to do more of it next week. Can you imagine trying to coach the Oakland A’s based upon 3 week old data derived from the phones in a few players’ pockets?  We let you see the hits, runs, and errors.  

Did we mention this is available as soon as next week? No IT work required. Ditch the common proxies and start playing Moneyball today.

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