Measuring Customer Intent Value

Knowing shopper (or customer) intent is an incredibly powerful tool.

This insight allows you to reward the shopper with an intelligent discovery experience built around their specific interests. It also lets you convert shoppers into customers at a much higher rate. Compared to brick and mortar, it is much easier in the digital retail space to glean customer intent. This is due to the wealth of first party data available to the retailer (clicks, add to carts, previous shopping experience, etc.).

Customer intent is all about the individual. It is their individual intent. On one plane of determining the value of data defining customer intent is its distance from the retailer’s site itself. In general, 3rd party data is much less valuable than the data collected directly on your site through the customer’s shopping behavior (first party data).  

As an example: The fact that a shopper was just at a men’s related publishing site might be a tell to the fact that they are most likely male, but after that, no one really knows their intent.  There is certainly a range of value in measuring intent from various 3rd party sites (CNN vs. Google SEO search) but this is still only directional for the most part. The highest value is their behavior on your site.

On another plane of measuring data value to define customer intent is time since the data was collected. While this applies to 3rd party data (ad network collected profile) as well as 1st party, it is particularly valuable in measuring the value of 1st party data. This is easily seen in a comparative example; if I came to a site 45 days ago looking for item x and then returned vs. looked for item x yesterday and then returned, the value of what I looked for on a retailer site 45 days ago is much less valuable than yesterday. Similarly, what I looked for yesterday is less valuable than what I am looking for right now, in real time.

Customer Intent Chart

As a formula to defining intent this helps understand the relative value of information and also provides objectives for retailers to work towards gathering the most valuable data to measure customer intent. That being said, the value of the data is only exploitable if your digital commerce site can respond in real time to that intent. So in truth, there are two critical elements to succeeding in measuring and using customer intent:

1) The value of the data and 2) The ability to respond to that individual shopper’s intent.  

These are intrinsically linked and one without the other essentially negates the overall ability to maximize conversions for visitors to your site.

Learn more about customer intent in our guide to the topic: Unlocking Shopper Intent: The Real Time Imperative

Kurt Heinemann
Kurt Heinemann

Kurt is Reflektion’s CMO. His resume includes CMO positions at Marketwired and Monetate. He’s also held senior executive positions at Priceline, Time Warner and Walker Digital Companies. Despite living in Yankees territory, Kurt is a die hard Tigers fan.