This Holiday Season, Brands Need to Pay Special Attention to Data Details

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This is a sponsored post from Brandify.

The 2016 holiday season could be a huge opportunity for retailers—if they can harness a wealth of data about consumers, and apply it in real time.

Every year, a flurry of activity and energy propels consumers into the marketplace as they begin preparing for gift-giving, group events and activities. And shopping. 54% of all holiday shoppers say that they plan to shop on their smartphones in spare moments throughout the day, such as when walking or commuting, according to Google’s Consumer Holiday Intentions Study from last year. It’s a small window of an opportunity for brands to connect.

“To start off with, for multi-location brands that have hundreds or thousands of locations, it’s always been a challenge for them to maintain accuracy and consistency of their location information online,” says Nip Zalavadia, vice president of business development for location-based marketing software company Brandify.

Last week during Street Fight Summit 2016 in New York City, Brandify launched its new Brandify 360° Network, a new solution that partners with a network of 18 publishers and 200 directories to data-cleanse listings information—ensuring that customers receive the best possible brand experience.

Brandify owns proprietary Social Data Matching (SDM) technology that ensures webpage consistency and accuracy before syndicating and claiming locations across the local ecosystem. The new product links the most powerful data insights with a special attention to detail that catches mistakes that sometimes only the human eye can see.

“You get full visibility about how your consumer came across your website,” Zalavadia says. “You’ll see the top targeting keywords, where is the primary source of traffic coming from. Say it’s an optical business—is the consumer looking for contact lenses? Did they use a free eye exam campaign ad? How did they find your business?”

Between automated data cleansing and specialized agent service, the Brandify 360° Network detects, cleanses, structures and de-duplicates and serves as the single source of truth to power customer engagement channels.

“We don’t rely on an automated process,” Zalavadia says. “When you rely completely on automated solutions, they’re prone to mistakes. It takes a human eye to recognize that these two stores are in the exact same location, it’s just that the addresses are phrased slightly differently. Before we onboard a new client, we’re going to cleanse all that data with a real person who looks at every listing.”

Many brands are already breaking out holiday decorations, hoping to attract the efficient crowds this early in the season. But glittery ornaments and fake snow only goes so far: 30% of local search users have cited “inaccurate” information as the issue they most frequently experience, and Google’s “near me” searches have increased 34-fold since 2011.

Once the Brandify 360° Network completes initial listing corrections, the solution provides additional insights and value, such as pinpointing where online traffic originates from for specific listings and automating details to save time and energy for management.

“For example, lots of multi-location brands will maintain two or more sets of hours,” Zalavadia says. “Once the holidays or the weekend is over, then they need to go back and revert to the traditional hours. Now, a brand manager or a marketing manager doesn’t have to worry whether those updates are there or not. They can rest assured that holiday hours are affected in real time, so they can focus more on strategy or how to improve customer experiences, rather than getting stuck in the weeds of a listing on Google or Facebook.”

Those instant updates are powered by geocoded data that covers a huge realm of information that consumers search for: 4.5 million locations and 125,000 specific listings, including names, addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, special hours, description categories, websites, photos, user generated content, menus, specialties, social media links, preferred photos, payment types and multiple languages.

With nearly 20 years of experience in the local marketing sector, the Brandify 360° Network is providing insights that prove brands see significant improvement by using a comprehensive strategy over paid search advertising.

“Our clients find that every dollar invested in our holistic organic search optimization drives far more traffic to their locations with better attribution than the same amount in paid search advertising,” says Manish Patel, Brandify CEO.

Google calls this holiday season the “Year of the Supershopper” – with customers more mobile-ready than ever before and can instantly access information they want in order to make purchase decisions. The National Retail Federation predicts that this year’s holiday sales are expected to increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion over last year – and most consumers wait until November to begin shopping.

With more than half of shoppers already researching holiday purchases in the coming weeks before Thanksgiving, brands must take a closer look at their outreach strategies and focus on their quality of data throughout the customer experience.

For more information about the Brandify 360° Network, join Brandify’s webinar, “3 Ways to Boost Your Local Marketing Strategy This Holiday Season,” to walk through using location data holistically to engage customers and drive sales this holiday season.