Leslie Su Shares Digital Media Strategy

HIGH POINT – Few people are more plugged into the digitally-driven marketplace than Google’s Leslie Su, but even she needs to catch her breath on occasion to contemplate the enormous amount of data that’s available to help retailers analyze everything from broad consumer shopping trends to how many clicks a product photo receives on a retailer’s website.

“It’s crazy how things have evolved to the point where we can collect that type of data and make it available almost instantly,” said Su, a principal analytical lead at Google who helps many top U.S. retailers develop their digital media strategy. “Not long ago, you based product decisions mostly on intuition because this rich data wasn’t available. Today, you can use this data to make informed merchandising decisions.”

Su will outline the types of data available from Google and help retailers learn how to use it effectively during a presentation at the upcoming ICFA Educational Conference, which takes place Feb. 4-7 at San Diego’s Kona Kai Resort.

Her presentation will include data specific to the outdoor furniture category, highlighting among other things, current consumer demand trends by region.

“We can look at real-time consumer demand and provide insights into omni-channel shopping trends, which will help retailers develop their merchandising strategy,” she said. “That could involve everything from figuring out their promotional calendar to SKU selection to deciding when it makes sense to advertise a specific SKU.”

Su will also discuss the importance of having a top-notch retail website – regardless of whether a retailer chooses to sell product online – because the majority of consumers do extensive online research before making a major purchase such as furniture. Many, in fact, have already decided on a specific product to buy before they go to the store.

She noted that in 2004 only 13 percent of consumers made a purchase decision based largely on internet research, but that number has soared to 60 percent in 2019 and shows no signs slowing down.

“We are quickly evolving into a digital-first world, so that means getting the most out of your digital spend,” Su said. “Nowadays, you have to think about the full customer journey. If your store is not top of mind when the consumer starts their journey to purchase, it’s going to be really tough for them to discover you.”

Google analytics can help with website optimization and provide insights into what entices a consumer to visit a particular site. The data can also help retailers identify key words that will ensure their store consistently is at or near the top of search results, she explained.

“The discovery phase is the key, especially for a category like outdoor furniture where there are no established brands,” Su said. “Google search data is very, very indicative of how people are thinking about a product or category. It tells you how you should be organizing your marketing calendar and your digital spend.”