4 Retailers That Own Customer Identification

While we’ve done a comprehensive look at retailer customer identification over the past month, sometimes the easiest way to see how this is approached is to look at the retailers that are currently implementing these today.  For these purposes, companies who are deemed successful are ones who not only are able to gain the data, but they use this information to learn more about what their customers want and create a better shopping experience as a result.  This reflects that a retailer truly understands their customers and tailors the retail experience to their needs.  One should not simply think of customer identification as capturing emails just to send out promotional messaging.  An end goal should be in mind so one knows exactly what data needs to be known.  And then, every choice made should relate back to the customer and what would benefit their experience. The companies highlighted below show creative ways to capture customer data, but they also take what they learned to create an experience that is unique to their brand and reflects how their customers want to shop.


An innovator in the retail space and providing a superior customer experience, Starbucks also helps set a standard for customer identification. While many retailers and restaurants struggle to have customers download their app, Starbucks has had no problem with mobile app usage, where one in five transactions is done via mobile. It is not uncommon to see customers taking out their phone to pay through the app so they can become one step closer to a free pastry.  And if that wasn’t incentive enough, free drinks on users’ birthdays have caused a few downloads via customer loyalty. The app overall provides a significant enough incentive for customers to have it open while they are in the shop which gives a wealth of information about how customers are moving around.

Recently, Starbucks added in the ability for customers to order through their app so they can pick up immediately when they walk in the door. This shows Starbucks is giving customers what they want. If the baristas hadn’t already noticed, the in-store wifi could probably tell corporate that their lines were long, so they provided a way to show that they want to give each person the best experience.


Nordstrom has been talked about for omnichannel, mobile, in-store experiences, social media, and anything that retailers discuss for years. Nordstrom’s efforts show what new things there are and what actually sticks. In terms of customer identification, they have unrolled a lot of unique opportunities for customers to enter in an email or interact with their brand. They can receive a phone number by having a shopper sign up for their text-to-buy program. They will soon be able to see how they can sell through a Pinterest feed with Pinterest’s new buy buttons. And they have always been a big fan of adding digital experiences in their store. The constant that they have is giving shoppers a way to buy or receive their goods that is most convenient for them.

American Signature Furniture

When it comes to mobile applications, low-cost and repeated purchases are when retailers see the most success. However, with high-consideration purchases like furniture, a retailer has to be more creative to implement a tactic for customer identification.  In the case of American Signature Furniture, they used CloudTags to place mobile tablets for customers to use to explore their stores. This helped to blend the offline and online experiences and only ask for a customer’s email if they feel that the wish list they created would be useful to them. They are able to use the information they receive to have customer intent data and to better understand where the purchase journey starts and ends. It is not ok for a retailer to look at offline sales and online sales as separate, and American Signature Furniture is able to efficiently join the two.


Nike is a leader in personalization when it comes to their shoes and apparel. Their customers are known for paying top dollar to have their shoes be unique, and Nike has the resources to do so. Nike is an example of a retailer that has been able to successfully issue an app and provide in-store digital experiences.  One of their apps targeted for women, Nike Training Club, gives workout guides, lets users track progress with friends, workout with celebrity trainers, and buy featured items. Nike not only gave customers a fun way that leads them to a product, they now will have a greater need to wear their stuff if they’re doing the workouts. Additionally, some stores will feature augmented reality, digital mannequins, and iPads throughout the store to make any online purchases. Nike truly sets a standard that’s hard to beat.


There are several other retailers that could be named, but these four show a variety of sectors and techniques. The constants across all four can be summarized as follows:

  1. Make the customer experience the most important goal
  2. Have something creative that will make shopping very unique
  3. Know what information is the most important to be known

What other retailers are leading the charge in customer identification? Let us know on Twitter @cloudtags.