As shoppers hop between digital channels, they generate an influx of data. When combined, this data forms a unique fingerprint of each consumer’s unique wants, needs and preferences. So it’s easy for retailers to offer personalized, relevant marketing experiences, right?

Actually, no. In fact, 39% of retailers can’t track consumers across devices and 36% can only track customer behaviors some of the time, according to a new Curalate-sponsored report from Internet Retailer. The report concluded that the best digital marketers in e-commerce have one thing in common: they have in-depth data about their shoppers and their behaviors, helping them determine the best ways to engage with customers across a variety of digital channels.

Who are best digital marketers in e-commerce? The report ranks them as follows:

  1. Target
  2. Home Depot
  3. Wayfair
  4. Amazon
  5. Best Buy
  6. Nordstrom
  7. Sears
  8. Overstock
  9. Lowe’s
  10. Sephora

What can we learn from these successful brands? Here are three lessons:

1. Use Data To Power Paid Advertising

When retailers are able to access and analyze customer data, they’re able to make more informed marketing decisions. Target, which ranked No. 1 on the list, takes data-driven advertising to the next level. The omnichannel retailer has a treasure-trove of data from its stores, the e-commerce site, mobile app, the Cartwheel coupon app and even Target-branded credit cards.

“We’re one of the lucky ones with rich first-party data,” said Kristi Argyilan, Target’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “That enables us to target real human beings.”

Target uses this data, along with inventory and local store information, to create tailored paid search ads, which drive 13.5% of’s overall traffic and also contribute to in-store traffic/sales. Through in-depth analysis, Target found that more transactions influenced by paid search took place in stores. Deeper research confirmed that more searches were being done on mobile devices, which encouraged Target to shift more dollars to mobile paid search.

Online retailer Overstock, which ranked No. 8 on the list, proves this theory by spending only 8.2% of its revenue on marketing efforts — a far cry from the industry average of 30%.

Overstock promotes a “narrow slice” of products to a similar sample of customers. “We’ve built a significant infrastructure that looks at the factors that indicate shoppers’ intention to buy. When we see a consumer is ready to buy, we try to talk directly to them,” said J.P. Knab, Overstock’s Vice President of Marketing.

Using a combination of email, social media retargeting and Google Product Listing Ads, the retailer can “speak to shoppers” and spotlight the most relevant products and offers. For example, 98% of Overstock’s emails feature a promotion.

2. Connect Social Inspiration to Action

Despite falling outside of the final top 10 list, Macy’s was recognized in the report for its innovation in social media marketing. The retailer has invested more heavily in social ad retargeting to drive shoppers who express interest in a product to click and buy. Using Sizmek Inc. ad technology, the retailer can retarget consumers through Facebook and Instagram.

Although Macy’s uses buyable pins, Serena Potter, the company’s Group VP of Digital Media Strategy, noted that the retailer relies more on Pinterest to drive discovery and inspiration. For example, Macy’s ramped up its investment in social video ads to promote its “Celebrate” holiday campaign. When Pinterest users clicked on a video ad within the platform, it opened Pinterest’s native video player, which was accompanied by promoted pins featuring products shown in the video. This was a powerful way for Macy’s to delight customers and create a clear path from inspiration to conversion.

“We want to start at the consideration phase,” Potter said. “As people are looking for new ideas, we want to help move them into action by presenting them with relevant products.”

3. Personalize Emails To Stand Out From The Inbox Clutter

For years, Amazon has been recognized for its scary-relevant personalized email campaigns. Between its e-commerce site, Zappos property, third-party sellers, and electronic devices, Amazon has acquired a lot data about its customers.

Having this wealth of data has empowered Amazon to create robust customer profiles and, in turn, finely tune email campaigns to granular customer segments. Amazon’s email marketing influence rose to new heights during the 2016 holiday season. The online giant sent 1.6 billion emails between December 11 and 25 — a 23% jump from the 2015 holidays, according to eDataSource. Within this period, Amazon sent a staggering 1,970 email campaigns and still saw open rates rise 25% year-over-year.

Use Data To Your Advantage

These examples show that with the right data, you have the power to acquire more knowledge about your customers and create more meaningful marketing campaigns and interactions. If you want to learn more from the top digital marketers in retail today, download your free copy of the full report now.

Curalate connects moments of discovery to commerce. By creating a compelling commerce experience that adapts to how your consumer discovers your products, we enable a seamless transition between offsite discovery and onsite conversion. The result? Greater order values, conversion rates and customer loyalty. Curious about how Curalate can help your business? Request a free demo.