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Understanding your customers better than they understand themselves is the key to success. Insight into the customer’s digital behaviour is increasingly becoming a game changer when it comes to giving customers the unique and personal buying experience.

The man behind Wal-Mart, Sam Walton, shared the secret to success several years ago: ”Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want – and a little more”.

The consumers’ behaviour has changed, but Walton’s recipe for success is still relevant. Create the unique customer experience, and your customers will come back.

Today, an increasing number of consumers are shopping online, and the buying process is more complex than ever. At the same time, customers are still expecting an even higher degree of personal customer service.

This places huge demands on businesses if they want to attract and retain their customers. And therefore, one of the most important sales parameters today is to capture the customer’s digital footsteps and target the sales resources at them. The game changer is called Big Data.

Social networks have to a large extent based their business model on registering and analyzing our online traffic. The results of the analysis are used to sell adds that can be targeted to the smallest detail. The big players are of course Google and Facebook. Google because they have a unique insight into our searches and general online traffic. Facebook because they know about our social relationships and behaviour. This also applies for Facebook’s other services like Instagram and WhatsApp.

Virtually everything we do on the Internet generates useable data. On average, a person touches his or her smartphone one million times in a year, and each of these digital interactions generates data. When we use our payment card online and in a physical store, we generate data. Or when we share our location via our smartphone, we generate data. Over time these data create a 360-degree view of us as consumers, which companies can use to target their marketing efforts, and provide the very unique service we expect.

The next big thing in the technology landscape is IoT – also called the Internet of Things. More and more products are monitored by sensors that are digitally connected and catches huge amounts of data, which can be used to predict consumer behaviour. A good example is Nespresso, which has inserted IoT sensors into some of the coffee machines that capture information about the most commonly used capsules and drinking habits. Nespresso uses that information to personalize their offers to each customer. It provides better customer service and generates more sales.

Companies have never had so much information about their customers, as they have today. Our smartphones, kitchen appliances and even our clothes leave digital footsteps that companies proactively can use to give customers that unique and personal customer experience.

But so far we have only scratched the surface. The development is progressing rapidly, and data is constantly becoming increasingly “fine-grained” and detailed, which means that the potential for personalization is boundless. So my advice to Danish companies, who have not yet begun clarifying their customers’ digital footsteps, is to explore the new technology. Otherwise, a new player will enter the market. A player who understands giving customers what they want – and a little more.

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