SalesTechStar Interview with Matthew Furneaux, Lead Analyst at Loqate

Matthew Furneaux, Lead Analyst at Loqate chats about the importance of location data in deriving better retail and shopping experiences:



Tell us more about your journey through the years and more about your role at Loqate?

I’ve been working with location data technology for almost 25 years and have seen firsthand how it helps build trust and loyalty between businesses and their customers. The same address and location data that was once crucial for sending billions of pieces of direct mail, now powers the multi-trillion-dollar global eCommerce industry and more broadly, the ongoing creation of the digital economy. At Loqate I have the fortunate opportunity to use my experience to further our commitment to innovation and guide the strategy of our business.

We’d love to dive into a few top retail trends that are defining the marketplace at the moment from your view…

After more than a year of living with tight restrictions and store closures, shoppers are looking forward to spending time exchanging gifts with family and friends. However, even as people get vaccinated and shopping behaviors regain some sense of normalcy, retailers still face holiday challenges, from labor shortages and global supply chain disruptions to changing consumer preferences.

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Our research shows that consumers want flexibility in how they shop this year, requiring retailers to prepare for an omnichannel season. Of the consumers we surveyed, 49% will be doing their shopping in-store and online this year. However, 34% prefer the digital experience and will be doing the majority of their shopping online, while just 17% will shop mostly in-store. With more options for consumers, retailers could have a hard time determining exactly which channels will best engage shoppers.

Late or missing gifts continue to be concerns for holiday shoppers as multiple circumstances have the potential to adversely impact deliveries this year. Fears surrounding the Delta and Omicron variants have driven many shoppers back online, potentially leading to higher sales than current infrastructure or operations can handle. To prepare for what’s ahead, 55% of retailers plan to alter their sourcing approaches by utilizing alternate suppliers.

How according to you can retailers proactively engage and build better experiences by meeting their customer’s digital demands in a more seamless manner?

With most consumers shopping in-person and online, optimizing the omnichannel customer experience can help retailers accommodate shopper preferences for holiday strategies that worked in 2020 and are continuing into this year, such as Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS).

Retailers should consider all generations in planning and testing, and sweep web and mobile UX for any unwelcome friction. Thirty-four percent of Boomers will be shopping strictly online this year, whereas only 17% intend to walk into a brick-and-mortar store. With the majority of Boomers choosing to shop both in-store and online, ensuring that consumer data is accurate will help retailers deliver a seamless checkout and fulfillment experience across every channel.

Adding auto-complete type-ahead technology to address field boxes will not only keep data clean, but also create a more seamless checkout experience by reducing the time consumers need to spend filling in forms.

The addition of address verification tools can also be a helpful component for defeating fraud, helping retailers pinpoint fraud risks by accurately matching customer address data to the right customer profiles and ensuring shipments are sent to a real location.

What are some of the top challenges you see them experience today when trying to optimize this?

Our research shows that 87% of consumers are concerned about late deliveries this season.

Accurate addresses are critical for on-time delivery. Nineteen percent of failed deliveries are the result of inaccurate delivery address details and the repercussions are significant. Failed deliveries cost businesses $216,171 annually. Retailers shouldn’t underestimate the impact that on-time delivery will have on the customer experience this season and it starts with capturing accurate address data.

What are some of the top shopping and retail predictions that you feel will reinvent the game in 2022 and beyond?

Expectations will continue to increase, although many consumers will also have an eye on sustainability, whether its avoiding purchasing single use items, or getting more involved in reuse and resell. Waste is high on the list of concerns, so retailers will want to ensure first time delivery to avoid unnecessary redelivery attempts that come with added fuel and carbon overhead.

As eCommerce and mobile commerce trends evolve, what are some top technologies you feel global retailers need to invest in more?

Data is the golden thread that unifies a shopper’s online and offline activity. With customer consent, retailers can use data to truly understand behaviors and make the omni-channel experience relevant, hyper-convenient and personal. Retailers will need to make every possible purchase, collection and delivery option available to increasingly demanding customers, which over a third sharing that they the ability to use their mobile location as a delivery address in the near future.

Some last thoughts and takeaways before we wrap up?

Digital transformation continues at a rapid pace and for retailers, making the shopping experience ever more easy, quick and convenient is table stakes. Retailers that combine choice with an elevated customer experience will reap the rewards.

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Loqate is a GBG solution, the brand is a trusted data specialist for businesses of all sizes and sectors. By combining market-leading technology with the most accurate location data available, they give businesses worldwide the precision and reliability to deliver exceptional customer experiences across 240 countries and territories.

Matthew Furneaux is Lead Analyst at Loqate

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