Retailers: What is multichannel attribution, anyway?

Retailers from top brands like Nordstrom, Zappos, GameStop and Barnes & Noble are gathered in Chicago this week for the Digiday Retail Summit. One of the biggest challenges confronting them: multchannel attribution.

Ideally, retailers would have some sort of complex model that essentially lets retailers figure out what the different components were that drove a specific sale.

But there isn’t a lot of agreement when it comes to actually defining it and identifying the challenges that come with it.

We stopped attendees at the summit to ask them to define multichannel attribution, in the hopes of reaching a satisfactory conclusion.

Some highlights:

Neil McKenna, director of interactive marketing, 1-800-Flowers
“Look at every media touchpoint in a path to conversion: How would you attribute a $100 order as fractional revenue, if it touched more than one channel? So if someone got an email and then went to Google and saw a paid ad, last-click would give a 100 percent of those dollars to the affiliate ad. The biggest challenge is how to weight the email and weight the Google ad.”

Vicken Balian, senior manager, digital marketing, BCBG MaxAzria
“We have been reporting a lot of it based on last-click, which is challenging. This is a problem we’re having with the finance team, because they like to see last-click, and they don’t care about first-click. My goal this quarter is to bring up to execs the benefits of first, or second, or third click. So we can present this to the finance team so we can show them the benefits of each channel.”

Julianna Lupinacci, manager, ad solutions, eBay Enterprise 
“I would define multichannel attribution as being able to identify conversion taking into account all the different channels the shopper was exposed to leading up to the actual purchase. There’s a ton of channels, all right now siloed so if you can have something to identify it holistically, that would be really helpful.”

Linda Balfour, director of brand marketing, KEEN Footwear
“It’s taking a look at all the places traffic is coming to our website from and then determining which places are actually driving levels traffic and sell-through. The hard part is that a lot of people can count the same traffic at the same time. Our PR head counts it, social counts it, so it’s hard to tell.”

Jeremy Barrett, product manager, business services, Staples.
“Being able to track customers across every platform they’re coming into. Awesome question.”

Original video by Hannah Yi

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