Winter 2019 - Inside Outdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | WINTER 2019 36 A lack of personal- ized customer care remains one of the biggest blind spots for online retailers today. Despite the fact that retailers are collecting enormous amounts of consumer data, most are still struggling to truly understand who their customers are, what they want and when they want to be ap- proached with offers. “There’s a humanity to the pro- cess that gets lost in online sales,” explained Colin Giblin, eCommerce director at Turtle Fur. This is especially damaging in the outdoor industry, where having a re- lationship with a local retailer is very important to many customers. Even Giblin, who remains heavily invested in the online world, shares this view. “I still prefer going into a shop, having that relationship and having someone understand exactly what it is I am looking for,” he said. “It’s a unique aspect of the outdoor industry, and one we should aim to preserve.” Turtle Fur is now taking active mea- sures to get to know its customers, in order to improve their shopping experi- ences. The Vermont-based company, which has been in business for more than 35 years, recently started leverag- ing Pearl’s proprietary, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platform that makes it possible to create insight- ful customer profiles. Pearl’s platform pulls data from a variety of different ser- vices and makes it possible for Turtle Fur to give customers names, faces and personalities based on publicly available information. “[Pearl] is a super-powerful seg- mentation tool,” Giblin said. “It allows us to create micro-segments based around more than just purchased items. Pearl takes user data and then scrapes the internet to give that per- son context.” As Giblin explained, Pearl is helping the company connect with people, rath- er than just data points. The platform, for instance, gives Turtle Fur the neces- sary information to send highly targeted marketing messages in small batches, as opposed to generic messages that could be perceived as spam, or miss the mark entirely. “When you have all of these dispa- rate [data] systems, it’s hard to under- stand the full lifecycle of the customer,” Giblin said. “Your point of sales system, for instance, might record that someone bought a hat in your store. But your website won’t necessarily know that the customer went in and bought that hat in the store, even though they went to the website and looked at it. You need to bring all that together to makes sure you aren’t bombarding them with irrelevant advertising.” The platform is still in its beta stage, and it’s too soon to notice any significant progress. The team has run some test campaigns, though, and has noticed some en- couraging results. “Right out of the gate, two of the biggest improvements we saw were with open and click-through rates for email campaigns,” Giblin said. “We saw a 22 percent lift in open rates, and a 75 percent lift in click-throughs.” That first campaign Turtle Fur tested was also the first one ever that no one unsubscribed from its list, Giblin added. Giblin likened Pearl’s software to the experience of running a boutique shop in a small town, where a shop owner might take meticulous customer notes in an effort to better serve customers when they come in. “This tool allows an online merchant to act like a really strong shopkeeper who knows everyone in the community,” he said. In the ultra-competitive online re- tail arena, this type of approach could make all the difference in keeping cus- tomers coming back for more. m By Gerald Baldino Personal Touch Tech Savvy Turtle Fur is using Pearl’s groundbreaking customer data platform (CDP) to build stronger relationships with consumers Sample of the Pearl GUI