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Quality data helps retailers gain a competitive edge

Rachel Wheeler Archive

In the competitive world of retail, there are many merchants vying against one another for the right to peddle their wares to consumers. It's difficult for any one vendor to stand out from the crowd and win a sale, much less earn long-term loyalty from consumers.

There's hope, though, that data quality can serve to differentiate major players in the retail sector from their rivals. By collecting more information about their customers and better getting in touch with their particular shopping tastes and needs, companies can deliver personalized service to individuals who demand it. This prospect is especially tempting considering the wealth of high-tech tools available today for data mining, including mobile e-commerce and social media networks.

According to the National Retail Federation, high-quality data is the key to competition on the retail sector. The market is always going to be crowded, but the companies that compile the most accurate information and act on it promptly will consistently rise above the rest.

Tom O'Reilly is chief executive officer of Aptaris, an enterprise marketing solution provider that works with major retailers on data-driven marketing. He told the NRF's BIG Blog that achieving and maintaining a competitive edge is one of the biggest challenges that retail marketers face today.

"It's not just about price, convenience, selection - all the usual things," O'Reilly said. "Retailers need a bottom-up strategy with delight as the controlling principle for beating the competition. Yes, you have to knock it out of the park on all the old metrics, but that is not enough. You have to speak to the customer when, where and how they want to be spoken to with a proposition that is specific to their needs."

For example, companies can take their existing banks of data and use them to deliver personalized solutions - for example, loyalty cards or mobile shopping apps. It all depends on what the customer wants.