Retail is a tough and highly competitive market, made harder in recent years with ever-shifting customer expectations. That’s why having a clear view of what your customers want – and predicting what they’ll demand next – has become more important than ever, writes Sam Sibley, Strategic Partners & Alliances Manager, at Exasol.
Customers are seeking personalised experiences now more than ever, and if you’re a retailer you’re often compelled to oblige. But when there are thousands of people visiting your stores and e-commerce sites, the feasibility of personalising the experience for each individual customer can seem like an impossible task.
But the ‘single-customer view’ – also known as ‘360-customer view’ – makes it possible for you to do just this, and at scale. Using aggregated data from individual consumers, you can organise and structure data to gain insights on the values, preferences and habits for all your customers.
At the same time, making use of data insights can improve segmentation and help build upon your personalisation strategy, while enabling you to deliver marketing campaigns that are more accurate and cost-effective. That’s why so many retailers are putting the single-customer view at the heart of their marketing strategy.
The Importance of Data-Centricism
Ultimately, data-centricism is about keeping data at the forefront of every business move and decision, and it’s key to achieving a a single-customer view – as it is only through data that you’re able to truly understand your customer needs. A recent survey of 500 business decision-makers revealed that 82% of retailers are committed to implementing a data-centric strategy in the next five years, with almost a third stating this is already in place.
So, what role does data analytics have in helping you develop this data-centricism to gain a better idea of your customers’ needs, and how can a single-customer view be used to improve other aspects of a business?
Bringing Together Data That’s Already There – and Finding Meaning
Between ESP, CRM, PoS, your website, e-commerce platforms, social media channels and any in-store activity, data is already everywhere in your organisation. But without the proper tools to process and analyse these data insights, gathering data from these channels is going to be a waste of time and money.
To extract value and meaning from data, it’s necessary to develop a fully defined strategy. Third-party data sources, of which there are many, are available to help you better understand your customer to plug the gaps. Finding the right one may be a thankless task, but data scientists are crucial for improving the accessibility and usability to marketers.
More than anything, technology that can sort through the data efficiently will serve a dual purpose: helping to understand the information and visualise the data use, by different business teams.
How a Single-Customer View Helps With Marketing
Your marketing can be tailored to the preferences of the individuals, delivering measurable value and ROI in the following ways:
- Pin-pointed targeting
Precisely targeting customers is essential to the success of your marketing efforts, and the secret to significantly improving your ROI. Beyond segmentation, data is invaluable for providing insights into the habits of consumers – and the success of previous promotional drives.
Understanding what email promotions have driven clicks or inspired a customer to add to their shopping basket is crucial to increasing sales. A single-customer view can therefore inform businesses of what marketing approaches will work, and which customers it will work for.
- Personalisation, as standard
Delivering an experience that caters to the preferences, expectations and values of your customers that creates memorable experiences will foster a loyal relationship. And utilising customer data analytics to create an individualised experience will reassure the customer that the brand can anticipate their needs and stay relevant.
- Reclaiming attribution
With two thirds of browser cookies rejected, and consumers shopping via multiple connected devices, it’s harder than ever to discern what exact actions led to purchase. But a single-customer view enables you to track customer interactions and chart their exact journey to the checkout till. Using this approach will enable businesses to accurately assess the true value of their marketing initiatives, making attribution more attainable than ever.
How Close Are We to Achieving a Single-Customer View?
Businesses are moving in the right direction, but there’s still some way to go until data analytics is used to their fullest capacity. Recent research revealed that 70% of retailers are using data for sales and marketing decisions, but only 46% have implemented data analytics to better understand their customers’ needs and omnichannel behaviour.
Having the right data strategy and exploiting the depth and speed of insight, now possible with in-memory analytical databases, will be the key to better understanding and anticipating the desires of individual customers.
It’s clear that data is not just a passing trend. And it seems inevitable that adopting a single customer view is the way to go if you want to deliver the personalisation your customers crave to stay ahead of the game.