The amount of data that retailers now generate and have access to is unprecedented. From customer data to product data to competitor data and more, retailers are collecting more information than ever before. In fact, digital data in the universe is doubling every two years, according to Patrick Wolfe, executive director of the University College of London’s Big Data Institute.
However, all of that data is worthless if it isn’t captured and maintained accurately, and then leveraged to make informed business decisions, whether it be for marketing to customers, merchandising your website, managing your inventory, or a host of other things.
Proper Hygiene is the Key to Onboarding Data Accurately
With the abundance of data, many retailers are turning to data onboarding companies to help them manage and improve its intelligence and value. Data onboarding provides the connection between a retailer’s offline CRM list to customers’ online devices such as PCs, laptops, smartphones, smart TVs and tablets. When evaluating data onboarding companies, there are a number of factors retailers need to pay close attention to. Paramount is finding a data onboarder that can standardize and clean your data. This process ensures that the data you’ve collected — likely from disparate sources, such as offline CRM data, online transaction-level data, marketing campaigns, etc. — is accurate and ready to be used.
“Once a CRM list has been correctly onboarded, retailers can accurately target their customers anytime, anywhere, across all devices,” says Paul Chachko, CEO of Throtle Onboarding. “Without precise data onboarding, personalization and optimization are not effectively attainable.”
In addition to clean data, you want to increase its intelligence so that you’re getting a 360-degree view of each customer and prospect, including matching their offline behavioral data with their online behavioral data. For example, a retailer needs to make sure that the customer that opens its email on their smartphone and then visits one of its brick-and-mortar stores before ultimately making a purchase on its website is accurately tracked and identified across every touchpoint, allowing for more relevant communications with that customer in the future. Your data onboarding partner can make this level of tracking possible by assigning a persistent ID to each customer. That ID travels with that customer no matter how, when and where they interact with your brand, so you know at the exact moment they show up across any channel.
A unified view of customer data enables retailers to target individuals with relevant, personalized messaging across multiple channels (e.g., display, email, social media) and devices. This level of understanding allows for personalization that has proven to increase conversion rates. Furthermore, creating segments of like-minded customers within your database — e.g., 20-25 year-old-women who live in New York City that have purchased boots from your brand in the last six months — allows for personalization at a larger scale.
Enhance What You Have
In addition to cleaning, managing and segmenting first-party data, the right data onboarding provider will be able to supplement a retailer’s database with additional intelligence at the individual level. This influx of third-party data can help retailers learn more about existing customers, making personalized communications to them that much easier — and much more successful. Customer retention is a primary challenge for today’s retailers, particularly online, where the competition is simply a click away. The more you know about your existing customers, the better you can market to them. This helps to build long-term relationships with customers, and keeps them returning to your brand to purchase again and again.
Furthermore, a third-party data provider’s vast data warehouse offers a retailer the opportunity to identify like-minded “look-alike” prospects — e.g., more 20-25 year-old-women who live in New York City that have purchased boots in the last six months, but who are not in its CRM database.
The first step for this type of customer modeling is analyzing the data you have to understand who are your best and most active customers. Then by being able to identify prospects that share common characteristics and behaviors with your best customers, you can target these prospects with relevant messaging. Continuously adding new customers to your database is essential to growing your business, as customer churn is inevitable for all retailers.
Data modeling allows retailers to target new look-alike prospects with a higher degree of certainty, thereby increasing the chances for a successful campaign. In addition, marketing spend can be better optimized by targeting consumers with a higher propensity to convert.
Accurate data is the fuel necessary to power personalized marketing campaigns. Without accuracy, personalization isn’t possible. This is critical because consumers have come to expect and in many cases demand that brands know them, and present them with relevant messaging and offers at every step of the purchase journey.
Working with the right data onboarding partner can help retailers meet this consumer demand. From ensuring that your data is accurate, having the ability to track customer behavior across channels via persistent ID numbers, using segmentation capabilities that enable personalized messaging, and identifying look-alike prospects that will optimize marketing spend and grow your brand, the right data onboarding company will become one of your most trusted partners. Being able to effectively manage and use the immense data that retailers have at their fingertips to make informed business decisions is critical to future success. Ensure that your brand is securing its future by partnering with a data onboarder wisely.