Seamless and personalised experiences are essential in today’s increasingly crowded retail market. Consumer expectations, and the desire to shop in various ‘channel-hopping’ ways, means that being able to deliver seamless experiences across each touch point across every channel is the only way to win consistent customer loyalty.
2018 has seen many retailers embrace technology as a way to meet these changes. However, many retailers are struggling to meet customer expectations because the data in their systems are not accurate, and therefore insights from newly-installed systems are not delivering the returns that these retailers are hoping for.
Larger and smaller retailers alike are struggling to adapt to these changes in the market because, in part, there is a lack of company-wide commitment to data-first operations across the industry and partly because of the siloed nature of many teams within retailers themselves.
To achieve truly seamless and personalised retail experiences, data needs to be the starting point for retailers of any size.
First Steps – Data is Your Most Valuable Asset
Many retailers may not recognise the full value that data holds within each department, but data is key to success in retail. No department can operate without data. A challenge that many global retailers will face is that each department operates mostly independently in day-to-day activities, which limits the value of the insights departments are collecting about customers.
For example, Sales teams will hold customer data records on who their customers are and what their buying preferences are. From this, retailers can identify what the best-selling products are at any given time and can be used to predict future trends and inform stock range planning.
This information would be valuable to an Operations team/department but in many companies this data is simply not collected and made available to every department, or Operations collects their own data separately from Sales. Collaboration between departments is a key challenge that can be solved with data management.
Data Clarity’s CEO, Kevin Carrick, recently wrote an article on the concept of data as the new oil in the retail space. In his article, Kevin discusses how data is an untapped, but valuable, resource that will define the retail experience more than any other technology.
Data is collected on every customer, every purchase and every interaction that customer will have with that company, but for many retailers, the value of this information is lost because the data is stored in various source systems.
To deliver personalised experiences to the individual consumer, retailers must have a single view of each customer across all channels, which means harmonising data sources using master data management is the crucial first step in the process.
Master Data Management and Why it Matters
Master data management enables retailers to build a complete profile of an individual customer. When used correctly these insights can be used to personalise marketing messages, tailor in-store experiences and deliver consistent value, leading to an increase in customer engagement and loyalty.
This is done by combining the data from multiple systems such as your CRM, EPOS or E-Commerce systems and de-duplicating the data to ensure a single point of reference for each customer. The benefit of this approach is the removal of siloes. Across the whole business, every team and department have access to the same information for each customer.
Sales, marketing and operations daily activities become aligned to optimise the sales cycle from end to end to improve the customer experience, create more efficient sales pipelines, and reduce wasted resources, including marketing budgets, time gathering insights and excess stock (which you can read about here).
The Value of Data in Practice
In practice, marketing teams will be able to send personalised promotions and new product information based on a customer’s personal preferences and item availability. Retailers can encourage customers to return to the physical store, or e-store, by offering highly relevant and timely promotions and new product information that benefits the customer personally.
With a harmonised set of data, a shop-floor assistant with a tablet can offer the kind of valuable human experiences that enhance the physical retail space, using data from every channel. For example, the shop assistant could view the last purchases of the individual and offer complementary items from available stock in-store without leaving the customer to check.
The most successful retailers (in the next few years) will be those that are able to use data, in particular customer data, to drive new sources of incremental revenue and brand loyalty. The building blocks for these customer profiles will be the data collected across platforms and channels. The retailers that are able to harmonise these records will be able to create more complete customer profiles and achieve greater ROI from marketing and sales efforts.
It may sound simple, but building these complete records is the foundation for the kind of insights that are essential for creating a personalised experience that is seamless across touchpoints. This will be key to create long-term and valuable customer loyalty.
To find out more, speak to a member of our sales team.