This time last year, Google revealed that there had been a year-on-year increase of 41% in ‘last minute valentine’s gift’ searches. Time is an invaluable commodity in the modern world and with the best will in the world, Valentine’s Day can creep up quickly on lovers.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Could #BigData be the key to keeping your sweetheart sweet this #ValentinesDay?” user=”comparethecloud @NetApp”]

The apparent increasing reliance on the Internet to save the day shows there is a massive opportunity for retailers to make Valentine’s Day a far less stressful time of year for their clients. All that is required is an approach that is customer curious rather than impersonal, and a more sophisticated use of data to inform marketing, promotion and sales strategies.

Most leading online retailers nowadays will target promotions, discounts and offers at customers. This is increasingly happening on mobiles, taking factors such as location and buying habits into account. However, recommending that I buy something based on a previous purchase is not customer curious – it’s a fumble in the dark rather than a helping hand.

Most leading online retailers nowadays will target promotions, discounts and offers at customers

Customer curiosity is about asking questions of your customers so that you can develop a persona for them that is contextually aware, and using that data to provide a superior service. For example, a florist sending me a text message when I’m at work saying that there is 25% off flowers until 10th February is not customer curious. If, however, I receive a text message when I’m walking through the area during the week preceding Valentine’s Day that says ‘10% of off geraniums if you buy in-store’, because their data records show that I bought geraniums last Valentine’s Day and on my wife’s birthday because they are her favourite flowers, that is an experience that I will remain loyal to. It’s contextually aware and tailored to me.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Customers are loyal to experiences rather than brands, so use #bigdata to your advantage” user=”comparethecloud”]

In today’s economy, customers are loyal to experiences rather than brands, and brands that are customer curious will provide better experiences. Data is crucial to exercising customer curiosity, and retailers that use and manage data more intelligently than others will win the hearts of their customers this Valentine’s Day.

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Elliot Howard, UK & Ireland Country Manager, NetApp

Elliot is NetApp’s UK & Ireland country manager. In this role, he focuses on accelerating sales, expanding operations and developing business strategy for the region.

Elliot also oversees NetApp’s field operations, ensuring that its expanding portfolio continues to develop in line with the changing business needs of its customers.

Elliot’s personal ambition is to improve the industry through the use of technology - helping organisations provide a more personalised, on-demand, secure and transparent service to their customers. 

Elliot has a strong background in business development with a focus on customer experience and operational excellence. Before joining NetApp, Elliot was Executive Vice President and UK Managing Director at Sopra Banking Software, and before this, he was Global Client Business Manager at HP.