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Personalizing the shopping experience - why having a single solution to manage your customers is critical

By : Smitha Mohan

April 19, 2017 08:00 AM

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Personalization is a strategy that's vital to retail success in today's environment. Whether it's knowing what to suggest to shoppers when they're searching an online store, or sending them offers or vouchers that match the products they most want to buy, being able to tailor your messaging and shopping experience to each individual consumer is a must.

 

But this is easier said than done. Often, one of the biggest barriers to an effective personalization strategy is not that retailers don't know enough about their customers, but rather they know too much. In the current digital landscape, it's easier than ever to gather information about customers - from what pages they visit on your website, to loyalty card data that shows when and how they shop as well as what they buy. Even social media postings can help shed light on their individual preferences, as well as providing useful demographic data.

 

One of the biggest challenges faced by retailers is how to sift through this wealth of data and extract the most relevant details that can be used to enhance the customer experience. And this is where having the right technology solutions separates retail leaders from laggards.

 

Customer data – anytime, anywhere
With so many different sources of customer data now available, and shoppers interacting online, via mobile and in-store, it's essential that any customer data be accessible at any time, on any channel.

 

This means having a single core system for managing customer data, regardless of where it originates or what format it takes. Having this creates a single, 360-degree view of a customer that can be used to inform advertising, build customer loyalty and create a truly omni-channel retail environment.

 

Boosting cross-channel capabilities
A key benefit of technology systems that provide a single view of customer data is the ability to break down barriers between different channels and ensure marketing efforts and sales promotions are consistent and effective across all parts of the business.

 

The results of doing this effectively are clear. A study, conducted on behalf of NCR Retail by IHL Group, revealed that the ability to track, use, and benefit from customer preferences across all channels can lead directly to increased sales. In fact, it found that retailers who take into account their customers' preferences across all channels can enjoy sales increases 107 percent higher than those that do not.

 

Taking advantage of real-time capabilities
Another marketing tactic that can greatly benefit from better access to data is using loyalty profiles to deliver personalized offers in real-time. IHL's research notes that typically less than half of chain retailers are able to take advantage of their customer loyalty data to influence behavior or increase sales while the customer is in the store. Those retailers who are able to fully leverage this insight can realize sales that are 84 percent higher than those who cannot use the data in real-time.

 

If the information is incomplete or inaccurate, any benefits will be lost and customers may not return, Therefore, businesses that do not wish to fall further behind retail leaders need to make efforts to ensure the systems they have for gathering, storing, and analyzing customer data are as fast and effective as possible to keep up with the competition.

Smitha Mohan

Sr. Solution Manager, Customer and Marketing

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Smitha is responsible for developing and implementing NCR’s global strategy and solution roadmap for a market leading customer and marketing in Retail. She has over 15 years of experience in building products that focus on personalizing consumer experience with 7 years focused in Retail. She specializes in consumer marketing including areas such as campaign management, analytics, loyalty, and personalization.