How One Retailer Is Thriving in the Age of Disruption

January 15, 2019 Anne Curtin

Retailers have had a tough go of it lately. A record-high rate of store closures rocked the industry last year, and many retailers are already looking to shutter more stores in 2019.

The problem stems from far more than just issues like subpar customer service. The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with brands and buy products.

The rise of ecommerce and online giants such as Amazon, with its easily navigable site, plentiful product choices and precisely targeted advertising, have raised the bar on customer expectations.

Retailers can survive and even thrive in this new world if they are willing to embrace technology that enhances the consumer experience.

Digitally-savvy consumers now demand relevant content, offers and experiences as they shop across channels, devices and platforms. If they don’t get it, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Even worse, they’ll take to social media to broadcast their bad experience globally.

For retailers, it’s adapt or die.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Retailers can survive and even thrive in this new world if they are willing to embrace technology that enhances the consumer experience.  

The challenge is being able to reach and engage consumers as they move across a tangled digital path, and knowing which interactions influenced their decision to buy.

Fortunately, most retailers already have access to the data necessary to evaluate the touchpoints a consumer encounters on their journey to purchase. They simply need a way to combine that data from disparate sources, analyze it to identify opportunities, and process it in near real-time to make immediate improvements.

For many retailers, multi-touch attribution is proving to be the right tool for the job.

Unraveling the Consumer Journey

Multi-touch attribution enables retailers to break down data silos and get a people-based view of the consumer journey across all touchpoints, assigning fractional credit to multiple elements in the chain of influence that lead to a purchase. Daily remodeling ensures data is processed quickly enough to reveal the nuances of what drove each day’s conversions — whether that’s an element of creative or a keyword choice.

This not only provides a deep knowledge of campaign effectiveness, but also a view of how to uniquely tailor messages and tactics to suit specific target audiences and enhance their experience.

Case Study: Keeping Pace with Consumers

Here’s how one company has leveraged multi-touch attribution to survive and thrive in the new age of retail.


Legendary for its gourmet food gifts and holiday gift baskets, this retailer’s digital marketing strategy is primary focused on capturing email addresses of first-time website visitors, and then retargeting those visitors to help drive their first purchase. Since the majority of its sales occur during the holiday gift-giving season, the company only has a short, 6-week window to significantly impact its business success.


This retailer leverages a mix of online channels and tactics to capture emails and drive sales, including display advertising, paid and organic search, shopping comparison engines, email marketing and affiliate marketing. However, the marketing team didn’t have the right measurement methodology in place to accurately assess the effectiveness of these efforts.

Not only were they assigning 100% of the credit to the last touchpoint prior to a conversion, but they also weren’t analyzing the performance of promotions in-market. Due to the short, 6-week window of opportunity, the team didn’t see results until after campaigns had already run. As a result, they had to wait until the following year to put optimization decisions into market.


Looking for a better way to quickly identify and reallocate budget to the tactics that produced the most conversions, the retailer turned to the multi-touch attribution experts at Nielsen.

We began by aggregating all of their disparate data so the marketing team could view performance through a single user interface. Marketing performance data was first collected from display, search and retargeting channels where it was most easily accessible, and then expanded to include shopping comparison engines, email marketing and affiliate marketing once attribution had gained traction within the organization.

We also worked with the team to define a shared set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to accurately measure and compare performance across channels, and ensure that the analyses, insights and recommendations derived from the data mapped directly to their unique business taxonomy.  

Once set-up was complete, our experienced customer success and analytics teams trained the retailer’s staff on how to use the fractionally attributed TrueMetrics produced by our solution to identify opportunities to improve performance.  

For instance, by leveraging their newly attributed TrueConversions and TrueRevenue metrics, the retailer was able to identify the actual impact of their search, retargeting and display efforts and make on-the-fly adjustments to their in-flight holiday campaigns in order to generate the most email captures and sales conversions.

They also discovered that the conversion contribution of their channel partnerships and affiliates were significantly overvalued, and so embarked on an effort to find ways to get the most value from their cooperative partner programs.

To prepare for future holiday seasons, the retailer was also able to leverage the media spend recommendations delivered by our scenario planning solution, so they could define the most effective mix of channels and tactics to meet their overall conversion goals prior to actual deployment.


Leveraging our daily multi-touch attribution and scenario planning solutions, the retailer was able to speed up their insights and optimizations to capture more emails, drive more conversions and ultimately make the most of the short, holiday gift shopping season.

More importantly, they are successfully using technology and data to their advantage to thrive in the face of disruption.

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