How a retailer views their customers is just as important as how a customer views the retailer. Both need to understand each other in order to conduct business successfully. A customer needs to have an idea of the product or service and how it fits into their life and a retailer needs to know exactly how their product or service is going to improve the life of their customer.
To improve this relationship and ensure that the right retail story is being told to the right audience, retailers have turned to integrated data. Integrated data enhances the single customer view approach and allows retailers to connect customer identities, behaviors and actions across several arenas, both digital and in-person.
A recent Total Retail webinar entitled “Data that Matters: Tips for Creating a Single Customer View” featuring Tim Barnes, Solution Manager at Pitney Bowes, addressed this imperative relationship between retailers, customers and their data and how a single, comprehensive customer view is shaped and utilized.
Retailers continue to strive for that elusive 360-degree view of a customer through omnichannel customer care or hyper-personalized shopping experiences, but it still proves to be challenging. Mainly because of the mountain of data that retailers are trying to make sense of and integrate.
This diagram from the webinar explains sources from which retailers are struggling to harness data and turn into actionable insights to improve the shopping experience. Tim noted, “That’s a lot of data to try and integrate together, to really get that full picture of the customer.”
Tim goes on to explain the steps retailers must take to develop a contextual customer view. This multi-layered view that takes into account not just a single customer’s data, but looks at their individual relationships in their life (e.g. social network information and organizations they are affiliated with) and their existing relationship with a retailer (e.g. social media or customer support interactions); retailers can leverage these nuances and details and create insights about a customer that are actually indicative of future purchases and can optimize future interactions with the brand.
Before looking to third party sources for gathering data like social networks or other organizations, Tim urged webinar listeners to first really inspect their own data and find both the strengths and weaknesses in your existing data. This way you are aware of the areas that need enrichment and you won’t overspend on data you already have. This diagram depicts these steps of data types and analyses to be considered.
“Start with the assists you have on hand first. You already have customer lists and customer information. You know what they bought. You know how they are interacting with you. That starts there with a lot of information.”
From there, retailers can decide how to integrate all of these data sources optimally based on their end goal. Ultimately, you want to be able to use that invaluable data and develop wisdom about your customer, but that’s a large leap to take, from data to wisdom. That’s why the steps in between are imperative.
By using the integration tools at hand, a retailer can take that data information and gain knowledge about their customer(s) using disparate data sources. Then, after leveraging knowledge found through contextual analysis, like a social network, that knowledge becomes an insight. Those insights produce wisdom about a specific customer and those they influence, resulting in the ability to properly segment your marketing and advertising efforts.
Tim used the concept of learning about one family through their purchase history, organizational affiliations and social networks to create a full picture of existing customers and, thus, actionable insights about their purchasing behavior. “The deeper segmentation you’re able to have, the better you’ll be able to target your customers and provide relevant offers for them,” he explained.
Many successful business leaders will confirm, successful retailing is not just about gathering massive amounts of data and hoping trends reveal themselves. It’s about properly processing that data and looking at the layers that manifest and overlap. That’s how a complete view of a customer comes to be.
To learn more about developing a single customer view and how it optimize its impact, you can download this whitepaper from Pitney Bowes: “Employing a Single Customer View”