Enhancing the retail customer experience through data

The dawn of modern consumerism means today’s customers increasingly expect products and communications tailored to their individual preferences. Driven by technological advances, and led by digitally-savvy retailers like Amazon and eBay, brands are looking to data analysis to deliver tailored recommendations every time customers open their emails, smart apps, social media feeds, or indeed, any other channel.

Marketing technology and data has the potential to allow brands to deploy customer-centric, multi-channel communication strategies. It means every marketing message feels timely, relevant and highly engaging, whilst each optimises the most appropriate channel for the target audience. Perhaps most crucially, such personalisation is backed up by logical and fact-based intelligence harvested through data insights.

However, the adoption of data-rich communications approaches doesn’t come without its challenges. Handling and capturing vast amounts of customer data – especially in a highly-regulated retail market – garnering the necessary insights to deliver personalised customer communication campaigns, and navigating the number of channels through which to communicate can present substantial trials.

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Often such strategies require a multi-vendor sourcing strategy where a range of suppliers is needed for the various services, with specialists sought for the supply of print management, digital communications and so forth. For many retailers, having multiple suppliers can result in siloed divisions, with their own cost centres and own supply risks. 

It also often leads to an incohesive purchasing environment in which there is increasingly complex sourcing, tendering and evaluating and where onerous, time-consuming, ordering processes impact on productivity. While having separate suppliers for each communication service requires additional time to manage relationships, negotiate contracts, track performance and undertake audits.

Consolidated communication strategies 

In the modern retail climate, retailers are increasingly deriving value from consolidating communication strategies with one partner. Working with a valued communications partner enables retailers to benefit from the expertise and fresh ideas of innovators and leading communications strategists. 

Such collaborations can make advantageous use of the company’s assets: mining its data to profile customers, mapping customer journeys and deciding on the most effective communication channels. In this way, the company can improve its Return on Investment (ROI) while making certain that its objectives, such as acquisitions, upselling or compliance, are achieved.   

A collaborative approach with a single specialist partner also releases the value of aggregated data, enabling retail organisations to maximise each individual piece of data held to its full growth potential. 

By effectively leveraging data from multiple sources, and capitalising on advances in marketing technology, behavioural models and AI-enabled solutions, businesses can achieve higher levels of marketing performance. At the same time, data-driven decision-making can help organisations to make informed decisions and take appropriate risks to exploit prospective revenue and profit growth opportunities.

In the digital-era where data plays such a pivotal role in modern communications strategies, an expert partner can also deliver the data insights required to execute complex strategies and their knowledge of how data is best applied is central to creating highly effective, personalised customer journeys. 

In instances where a retailer is uncertain about the best use of its data, a partner will have the latest technologies on hand to analyse customer behaviour and deliver apt end-to-end solutions that can deliver commercial results.   

The result is a cohesive and efficient omni-channel communications approach that not only brings all channels together, removing unwanted silos, but also puts the customer at the heart of any campaign.

What’s more, in the current economic climate where many retailers are operating under tight budgets, a strategic partnership with a trusted communications company that has the resources, expertise, proficiency and capacity to undertake wider communications briefs can help rein in marketing expenses and reduce purchasing costs.

A smarter solution

Whilst many retailers recognise the benefits of data-driven communication to deliver highly-personalised and effective omni-channel strategies, understanding the data and insight technology, as well as the communications channels, that make up a successful strategy, and then managing and combining them to run smoothly within a cost-effective framework remains a challenge for even the most proficient businesses.

The positive news for today’s retailers is collaborating with industry-leading communications specialists can help overcome many of the issues that have hindered the adoption of data-driven communications in the past.

An expert and proficient communications partner can help audit, analyse and segment data, and will work with a business on planning and strategy through to building the systems, databases, behavioral models and even AI-enabled solutions to seize new opportunities in a cost-effective and efficient way.

Nick Barbeary, client development director at Paragon customer communications

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