I’m an avid shopper. I know the importance of a seamless, intuitive shopping experience; from finding the product I’m after, through to checkout and any post-sale service. Once I find this, I’ll want to keep coming back for more. The opportunity here for retailers to disrupt, stand out and build loyalty is strong - and other consumers agree. 72% wish that retailers would be more innovative in how they use digital technology to improve their shopping experience. And likewise, 72% of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers that are digitally innovative – up from 60% in 2017. (The Future Shopper, Salmon 2018)
The innovation we’re seeing in the retail sector is astounding. There are examples from across the entire lifecycle, from automated stock monitoring with robots to the use of Augmented Reality (AR) for in-store displays, and even improved returns using kiosks to print labels and track the item back to the retailer. This article summarises more of these new technologies.
What’s interesting about many of these is that they rely on really knowing your customer well across multiple channels and being able to use that knowledge to, not only respond to their needs online and in-store now, but also anticipate their needs in the future. We can all reflect upon how our favourite retailer has been using new technologies and data to improve our experience and also remember the times where it hasn’t worked quite so well. But with so much more data arriving all the time, some top tier and disruptive brands are well positioned to amaze and delight their customers even further and leave the competition in their ‘data dust’.
So what’s stopping you? For retailers often it’s not a lack of data, it’s having too much of it - something we talk about as an ‘infobesity’ problem. There is a torrent of data available from both within your organisation and through third-parties. Stacks of data is only a good thing if you can turn it into information and make use of it effectively. The sheer scale and volume of data is growing at an unprecedented rate and it’s predicted that by 2025, the global datasphere will be ten times the size it was in 2016 (Experian 2018).
Less than 19% of organisations can currently harness all data to optimise customer interactions and half are struggling to get the insight needed to inform decision-making (Experian Global Business Review, 2018). You need to know how to turn the available data into useful information, unlock its value and then you’re in a position to drive better outcomes for your customers and your organisation as well as implementing next generation retail technologies.
You’ll no doubt be familiar with the concept of a single customer view, especially due to the importance of omni-channel strategies. Our research has shown that companies with omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel customer engagement (Experian Digital Onboarding Report, 2017).
At Experian, we believe the single customer view concept has moved on in today’s digital world. For us the next stage is a ‘universal customer view’ - one that moves beyond that traditional notion of a more technical ‘single customer view’ and combines analytics with database technology and data enrichment to develop a deeper, more meaningful understanding of customers, their needs and motivations.
It’s this universal customer view which you should be striving to achieve. Better data usage and management can be a game changer. It will complement omni-channel and loyalty strategies, allow you to be smart and innovative, and even disrupt your market. Making sense of the ‘infobesity’ challenge could open up a range of opportunities such as dynamic offers to loyal customers, more effective stock planning to reduce storage and transport costs, innovative delivery solutions using automated logistics technologies and non-traditional delivery locations, as well as more targeted and personal marketing across all your channels using past customer behaviours and predicted needs.
With so much data coming in thick and fast it can be hard to know where to start.
To help you overcome this barrage, we’ve developed a four-stage methodology which can help you build your universal customer view. The foundation of good customer data management lies in your ability to effectively manage it from the point at which you collect it, enhancing it with third-party data sources, and keeping it up-to-date and accurate all the way through your customer lifecycle. Retailers should see their data as an asset - much the same way as their people, products or property. When used correctly it can unlock a wealth of insight and opportunity. Our solution guide, specifically written for retailers, explains our methodology in more detail and discusses how you can unlock the value of data to drive the best outcomes for your organisation. Read the guide here.
We’re also running a webinar, which will explore the data challenges facing retailers and how to overcome them. Find out more about the event or register to attend here.