“The optical retail industry is increasingly relying on data analytics to drive its marketing strategies and address the unique challenges of a business that straddles health care and fashion,” said Sheila Haile, chief marketing officer at Cohen’s Fashion Optical. Haile, who spoke as part of the undergraduate executive speaker series, discussed how data analytics helps Cohen’s create a consistent message across multiple marketing channels.
“The optical industry is very unique since it is both need and want based. An individual has to have a medical need for eyeglasses in order to want them,” Haile said. Today’s consumer is in search of easily accessible products as they shop for new eyewear. “Website, social networking, and the physical brick and mortar store all help consumers navigate the eyewear decision-making process,” she said. An “omni-channel” marketing environment, where there is one message throughout multiple channels, is crucial.
Haile has been chief marketing officer at Cohen’s for almost three years and brings experience as a designer, writer, content developer and brand ambassador to her work. She spent six years as director of marketing and creative services at ClearVision Optical and over 10 years within the agency side of advertising, with clients such as Pfizer, Estee Lauder, Revlon, ESPN The Magazine, Starz Network, and Universal Studios.
Eyewear is a $100 billion global industry and Cohen’s is comprised of over 100 stores in seven east coast states and Puerto Rico. According to Haile, there are many channels that dictate the success of independently-owned franchises.
“Consumers of today still expect a shopping experience that creates an ease toward the purchase of the desired product,” she said. The “new normal” of marketing includes accessibility to coupons, real time merchandise promotions, and profile data that gives insight into a customer’s in-store shopping habits. All of these variables enhance both the consumer shopping experience and the company’s ability to fulfill consumer demand. Despite the continuously changing model, digital, social, print, television, and radio advertisements are still equally as important in the optical marketing industry.
“This complicated environment in today’s retail work makes granular data acquisition a requirement for any industry,” Haile said. Data analysts create a precise story about the individual customer’s purchases and searches, and analytics can aid brand growth by providing information about the profile of new customers, how many times they visit the site, and what they search for. It also provides information for segmentation of advertisements across the various channels. “Data analytics is vital for determining how many site visitors are returning to shop your brand, and provides the insight as to why they are (or aren’t) doing so,” Haile said. “You can then act on that information. This is crucial as it has the potential to increasingly build the brand to a level that would not have been fathomable in years past.”