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How Well Does Nike Personalize With Data? One Firm Finds Out

Footwear brands could do a better job of using customer data to personalize their messaging and experience, according to a new report.

Looking to discover how some of the most popular footwear companies interact with their audiences and prospective shoppers, marketing technology firm Customer Portfolios audited nearly a dozen leading lifestyle shoe brands.

Brands largely excel at messaging and marketing communications but sometimes fail to deliver that message throughout the customer experience, the firm revealed in the “Customer-Centricity Audit—Lifestyle Footwear” report.

“On the positive side, most brands’ messaging is consistent across all touchpoints, from email to web to digital and in-store,” Customer Portfolios co-founder and executive vice president Nick Godfrey said in a statement. “But we saw a major opportunity for brands to use data to close the gap between the brand promise and the experience being delivered—with more customer-centric marketing across all channels.”

“The audit proved to be a very revealing look at how these retailers can best compete in 2020,” Godfrey added.

Customer Portfolios reviewed Nike, Adidas, Vans, Timberland, Ugg, New Balance, Puma, Reebok, Asics and Converse to see how they fared across 10 touchpoints.

Each brand was graded on a five-point scale for its ability to capitalize on consumer touchpoints, divided between email, web, off-site and general interaction.

Nike’s leading 74.5 points still garners a middling ‘C’ score overall, according to Customer Portfolios. Vans lagged in 10th place with 40.5 points, and given the 35-point spread, “no brand is really weak or really strong,” the marketing tech firm noted.

Nike earned top marks for customer engagement,  the audit found, and Nike-owned Converse also stood out in this category.

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In Customer Portfolios’ report, Nike earned the highest cumulative scores in terms of email and web interaction, receiving high marks for querying consumers directly on personal preferences in order to accurately target them for future promotions. Plus, the Oregon athletic company garnered a high score for sending an appropriate volume and focused email volume, and a commitment to personalizing emails.

By contrast, Adidas’ strengths came in retargeting site visitors and reminding prospects about abandoned carts in ads that appear on affiliated websites, though the shoe brand landed in seventh place overall. Adidas also scored well for managing omnichannel product returns quickly—the process took about two minutes, according to Customer Portfolios—and for keeping the brand message consistent across platforms.

Overall, the report found that brands are finding success when it comes to messaging and generating loyalty but could improve how they use customer data and integrate technology into the end-to-end purchasing experience. For instance, despite retail emphasizing frictionless shopping in recent years, Customer Portfolios found points of friction along the path to purchase.

Many brands performed poorly in how they handled online orders, a process Customer Portfolios dubbed “inconvenient in nearly all cases.” Although the industry bombarded consumers with email marketing, most lacked personalization, the audit found, with brands opting instead to mass promote products and discounts that offered little relevance or individual tailoring.

Personalization was lacking in most customer interactions, Customer Portfolios found, no matter the category—be it via email, retargeting ads or even through a brand website.

The marketing firm suggested brands had an opportunity to capitalize on the benefits of positive consumer interactions by infusing personalization into every engagement, pointing to something as simple as not asking for a consumer’s email address if they are already logged into the site as a way to move ahead of the pack.

Positive online consumer interactions can have a drastic impact on a brand’s success, Customer Portfolios said, and brands can improve conversion simply by paying more attention to engagement online. In a consumer survey paired with the audit, Customer Portfolios found that 65 percent cited “ease of website use” as a crucial component of a positive consumer experience.

Of those that responded, 87 percent said they are also more likely to purchase from a brand again after positive online experience and more than half (53 percent) admitted to spending more after a good interaction.