July 13, 2023

Insights to Action Series [Part 2 – Cross-Shop]

Insights to Action Series
[Part 2 – Cross-Shop]

By Liz Emery, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Affinity Solutions and Sakina Presswala, Staff Engineer II

Insights to Action

Welcome back to Affinity’s “Insights to Action” blog series, exploring how to use Consumer Purchase Insights to solve complex business problems. Consumer Purchase Insights provides a complete, granular view of customer and prospect purchase behaviors, across and between brands and categories, to inform a wide array of growth strategies based on deeper audience understanding. This is part 2 of an 8-part series where we dive into different examples of how to gain insights into – who your consumers are, how they spend, and where they buy – to inspire meaningful action. Our first blog Insights to Action Series [Part 1 – Market Share] is live!

Part 2: Cross-Shop

Time to discuss cross-shop analysis. Creating cross-shop insights involves diving into data around actual consumer purchase behaviors from specific stores including, but not limited to:

  • Competitive Retailer Preferences – Are my customers shopping at my competitor(s)? How often? How much are they spending there?
  • Shopping Patterns – Are my customers shopping online or in-store? How much do my customers spend on average per visit at my locations vs competitors? 
  • Complimentary Vertical Shopping Behaviors – Where else are my customers shopping in general? Should I create a partnership with a specific brand? 

Understanding these preferences helps brands and businesses strengthen everything from marketing strategies to the overall customer shopping experience, leading to increased sales, loyalty, and retention.  

The Problem

Most retailers only know what is happening within their own four-walls. They know who their customers are and what they are buying, but what about what happens outside of their own experiences? Planning with first-party data is a strong starting point, but looking through a narrow lens gives a limited view into who their customers are.

Brands need to widen their lens to understand what is happening outside of brick-and-mortar locations as well as online stores. Insights into what their customers are doing when they leave the store, where else they shop (competitive analysis and customer shop-a-graphics) and to what extent, can help fuel marketing innovation and the right market opportunities, including identification of anchor partnerships. Without an expanded view, decision making across the organization is a guessing game leading to:

  • Missed Opportunities for Store Location Expansion
  • Decreased Market Share
  • Ineffective Marketing Messaging & Competitive Conquesting
  • Customer Churn

So how does a brand gain these insights? At Affinity Solutions, we know EXACTLY what retail customers are doing when they leave the store – we know this because we know where else they shop.

Using Insights to Create Action Plans

Understanding where your customers are shopping informs multiple aspects of a business strategy. The examples below are illustrative of the value of cross-shop insights in answering strategic questions.

  • Should the NFL care about the top 10 QSR’s their fans frequent?  The NFL ad sales team cares, it could convince those QSR’s to invest in NFL sponsorship opportunities.
  • Should St. Jude care that their best donors are heavy Williams Sonoma shoppers? Absolutely, it could prompt them to approach Williams Sonoma as a partner in their mission.
  • Should Marriott care that their elite guests are also heavy Delta flyers and big Avis’s renters? All these brands want to reach travelers, these insights can drive partnership opportunities.
  • Should McDonald’s care if their best customers are also heavy Taco Bell customers? Sure, it could inform menu design.
  • Should Ford care if their customers are going elsewhere for service and repair? – Yes, Ford wants to know where their owners are going for service and repair. 
  • Should Starbucks care that their “loyal” segment is shopping more and spending more with one of their competitors in the state of California? Yes, it could drive a targeted loyalty campaign in California.

Affinity Solutions has a fully permissioned glimpse into where credit and debit cards are used or what we call “real-time deterministic shopping behaviors” to close the gap in understanding brand customers. We call it shop-a-graphics; and it is more insightful than demographics or survey data alone. Shop-a-graphics are a glimpse into customer’s actual shopping behaviors, the choices they are making across retail, travel, hospitality, food service, charitable giving, streaming, sports, betting, and more. Where customers shop says a lot about who they are and the things they enjoy, from both a personal and shopping perspective. It can drive important marketing and product decisions including messaging, channel investments and business partnerships.

By using cross–shop insights, you can truly understand customer shopping preferences to improve business decision-making across the organization. To learn more about Consumer Purchase Insights cross–shop reach out to

That wraps up Insights to Action [Part 2 – Cross-Shop]! Up next, check out Insights to Action [Part 3 – New to Brand] where we dive into the value of understanding new customers!

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