Creating a Unified View of the Customer

by Jim Berkowitz on July 26, 2010

Here are several excerpts an informative article that appeared in Retailwire (free registration required), Creating a Unified View of the Customer:

Whether in-store, online, via catalog or smart phone app, consumers draw on all touch points when formulating an overall image of a retailer. Can retailers say the same about their multi-channel customers?

To provide what customers demand — a seamless experience across all channels — retailers need a unified view of their customers.

Many chain retailers have been building out their online (and now mobile) commerce efforts over the last decade. How are they doing so far with their cross-channel integration?

According to the 2009 RIS Cross-Channel Tech Trends study, over half (55 percent) of retailer respondents say they have no integration of their CRM/customer database across brick and mortar and online channels. Another 36 percent say they maintain only a loose integration. And for loyalty applications, 36 percent have no integration, while 43 percent have loose integration across these channels.

Action Items:

In the recent RIS White Paper, The Cross-Channel Imperative, the following action items are recommended for retailers looking to develop a unified customer engagement platform:

#1: Work toward a single customer view – Bridge departmental silos to create a single database that captures customer preferences and transactions across channels.

#2: Concentrate on actionable analysis – Retailers can leverage business intelligence and customer analytics to: determine which items customers are most loyal to, channel by channel; improve personalization of offers; and engage in relevant and timely conversations with customers across channels.

#3: Unify infrastructure around customer engagement data – The unified customer engagement platform can be used to map points of integration with customer touch points in the store, online, catalog, call center and the mobile channel.

#4: Provide a single view of the retailer to the customer – Standardize the view that the customer gets of the retailer across all channels, thereby improving customer convenience and ease of use.

{ 1 comment }

James Sorensen July 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

Great points Jim. Totally agree with your point about providing a single view of the retailer to the customer. Customers are confused and often taken back when a price online is not the same as in store or refund policies differ from online purchases with in store purchases. The key is making the entire shopping experience easy, seamless and consistent.

Best Regards,

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