Endear's Unique Approach to Omnichannel Sales Attribution

Endear offers its customers a unique, modern approach to retail sales attribution. Learn about the problems with the industry's current methods and our unique way of solving them.

After the holidays, we'll be releasing an exciting update to the way we track sales for our brand customers. As one part of the larger retail CRM we offer, Endear's omnichannel sales tracking module has always been a major draw to our audience because it enables brands & retailers to trace the influence of their store team on sales regardless of where the transaction happens (in-store or online). This solution addresses what we believe to be one of the biggest blind spots for true omnichannel players.

With our upcoming release, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a bit more about our tracking system's history and what we have planned for the future.

Why sales attribution is important to Endear

Endear is the first CRM built specifically for helping retailers drive sales over email & SMS. What makes us special is that unlike the CRMs & messaging platforms that came before us, Endear offers the retail industry a unique way to attribute sales across all of your sales channels, including your website, in-store POS & mobile app. We believe offering sales tracking as part of our solution not only helps to demonstrate the value of our product, but also delivers brands a clearer picture of how their various channels work together.

The problem with today’s sales attribution systems

One of the reasons we built Endear is that the attribution system that exists today is fundamentally broken. “State of the art” sales attribution methods still rely almost entirely on pixel and link-tracking that is not only privacy-unfriendly but also increasingly error-prone. Modern browsers are constantly implementing additional features that make many of these old attribution systems unreliable or, in some cases, impossible (meaning, no tracking at all). Conversely, we have built an attribution model that requires little to no complex technical setup on the brand’s part and also avoids intrusive, privacy-unfriendly techniques such as digital fingerprinting in order to function properly. In other words, good for our customers and non-intrusive for theirs.

Some of the gaps in pixel & link tracking include:

  • If the end customer uses different devices or even different browsers on the same device, you cannot track the sale.
  • If the customer has any ad-blockers or other privacy-preserving extensions, you cannot track the sale.
  • If you have multiple ways a customer can buy, such as an online store, physical store, and/or mobile app, you cannot track the sale.

Endear’s sales attribution system

In the simplest terms, Endear attributes sales by comparing the messages users send to customers via Endear's centralized email and SMS platform to the sales that occur after those messages are sent. We do this by integrating with a brand’s POS & eCommerce site to analyze & match orders placed with the brand to the messages sent through Endear.

The process usually looks like this:

  1. A salesperson, affiliate, or marketer texts or emails one or more customers about a sale, product release, etc & they have a two-way conversation with that customer through Endear
  2. Let's say those customers later visit the brand’s store, website, or app and make purchases over the next few weeks
  3. Endear pulls the orders into our analytics module in real-time & matches them to the messages sent before the sale took place based on a customer's email address or phone number

The advantages of this approach include:

  1. No matter how the customer buys (regardless of channel, browser or device), you can attribute the sale
  2. This method of attribution does not require tracking or fingerprinting the customer in their browser
  3. This method of attribution cannot be blocked since we are matching messages sent through our own system rather than relying on the browser for data-tracking
  4. You can attribute sales cross-channel & cross-campaign

While we knew when we built our system that the old way wasn't delivering a clear enough picture of how sales were being generated, our unique attribution model has also required us to take on new challenges as our brand customers scale their outreach through Endear.

Find Out What Your Sales Could Be

Thanks to our sales attribution model, we're also able to forecast what sort of ROI we can deliver to potential customers. Find out what your return on your subscription can be with our handy ROI calculator.

The challenges of Endear’s unique attribution model

Today, Endear boasts an average 5% conversion rate on our messages. This is, on average, 100x better than standard email marketing. We achieve this high conversion rate by making it easy for our brands to scale hyper-personalized, hyper-localized outreach to their customers.  However, the most common question we get about our attribution model is, “How can I be sure that this specific message drove this specific sale?” While pixel & link tracking have the problem of generally attributing too few sales, our attribution model sometimes attributes too many sales.

Building an attribution model without tradeoffs

To adjust for us attributing too many sales to users' messages, many of our brands began to rely on different interactions on these messages in order to filter out those that likely did not drive a sale. Each brand has a different perspective on what combination of interactions should indicate that a message was responsible for a purchase, but generally speaking they were asking themselves four key questions about messages:

  1. Did the email get opened? (open tracking is impossible over sms)
  2. Did any of the links in the message get clicked?
  3. Did the customer reply to the message?
  4. How long has it been since the customer received the message?

Until now, Endear only used the 4th question to determine and report that a message was responsible for a sale - i.e. if a purchase was made within a certain number of days after a message was sent, we'd count it as being responsible for that purchase. According to our data, over 70% of the messages sent through Endear that converted into a sale did so within 5 days so, for the most part, our approach seemed to deliver an accurate picture of how a sale came about. However, to push our model to become better than traditional pixel & link attribution and achieve a no-compromise solution, we decided to incorporate all the interactions available to us.

Endear will now attribute messages differently depending on the types of interactions we capture about a message. Instead of only considering how recently a message was sent to the purchasing customer, we will also assess if the customer engaged with that message in a meaningful way. And the beauty of this system is that we can still do all of this attribution without needing to introduce any technical complexity for the brand! Just as simple for the user with more sophisticated, accurate results. And of course, no two brands or organizations are the same, so we've also made room for more customization and rule-setting on a per-customer basis.

The Road Ahead

This new model aligns better with how we hope brands use Endear. First & foremost, our brands want to engage in meaningful dialogue with their customers. By designing our attribution around that dialogue, we help our brands align incentives for their salespeople with those goals.

In the future, we plan to introduce many new messaging & chat services to Endear including video chat, WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, Facebook Messenger & more. We also plan to make it easier to integrate Endear with customer service platforms so you can use Endear to focus purely on selling. As we introduce these new integrations we also plan to introduce new & better ways to drive & attribute sales over those channels.