Category Archives: Retail
Secure Your Data, Before It Becomes Front Page News
In 2014 we saw many retailers suffer at the hands of hacker’s intent on stealing customer credit card details and personal information. With Target, Michaels, Neiman Marcus, Albertsons & SuperValu, all getting plenty of coverage in the press, resulting in significant financial loss and impacting consumer confidence. Retailers, including JC Penney and Wal-Mart, now list data security as a new risk factor in their annual filings.
Insiders, particularly current or former employees, are cited as a source of security incidents by most Retail & Consumer respondents. PWC
Despite the headlines and damage to reputation retailers still struggle to understand how their data is collected, stored, and used. While a lot of time and money is invested protecting the perimeter on the assumption that higher walls and wider moats will keep intruders out. But what if the intruder is already on the inside?
Last week AT&T paid a $25 million civil penalty assessed by the FFC – for call center employees in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines accessing personally identifiable information from some 280,000 customer accounts without authorization.
A recent Ponemon study showed that 57 percent of IT practitioners do not know where all the sensitive or confidential data exists within their organizations
As retailers increasingly modernize legacy applications, consolidate systems, digitize the business and outsource IT projects to serve customer s more efficiently and create a great customer experience they are exposed to the ever increasing threat of data breaches. Increased threats and complex IT environments make it difficult for retailers to protect sensitive data especially from the inside, from those authorized to view confidential data.
“Not knowing the location of sensitive or confidential data keeps most respondents up at
night and represents a significant security risk.”
As you look across the IT landscape where are the potential areas of exposure from the inside?
- Test/Reporting Copies: Many copies of production (often full) used for test, training, and analytical purposes
- Development and Support: DBA’s, IT have unlimited access to sensitives data. Many use SQR reporting, Toad, SQL plus to bypass existing security
- Outsourcing: Outsourcers have access to sensitive data in non-production and production systems. Are your contracts stipulating sensitive data is not allowed offshore
- Authorized Users: Store associates, contact center employees are required to view account details in order to answer customer queries or resolve questions and disputes. Commercial off-the-shelf applications not designed to deploy restrictions by data element.
There are many facets to a successful risk mitigation strategy. One way to is to discover and permanently mask confidential and sensitive data from non-production environments, such as test and development environments. Another is to dynamically mask data stored in production systems to provide more tightly controlled access, and give control of this function to the business users who understand the nature and context of the data.
Why now stop by our Booth #S2626 at RSA Conference 2015 where we will showcase Secure@Source, the industry’s first Data Security Intelligence software, which discovers, analyzes and visualizes data relationships, proliferation and sensitivity. Secure@Source monitors data risks and vulnerabilities to protect organizations from external breaches and insider abuse. If you cannot attend you can learn more about Informatica’s Data Security and Privacy solutions here.
For anything on Retail Security, here is the key @INFARetail
If you’ve been contemplating to transform your business, making it a priority to embrace digital transformation, this year’s Informatica World 2015, in Las Vegas, has a series of B2B and B2C sessions for you. Here are some I wish to recommend:
B2B Commerce Ready Data
PartsSource Improve Customer Experience with Product Information in Medical Parts
Brian Thomas, Director of Application, PartsSource
A leading provider of medical replacement parts solutions, PartsSource will discuss how it uses Informatica PIM as the foundation for its omnichannel strategy and to support its industry-first one-stop shop online catalog for medical parts. PartsSource will explain how Informatica helped reduce the time needed to launch and update products from 120 minutes to 2 minutes using fewer employees, making it easier than ever to connect over 3,300 hospitals to thousands of OEMs and suppliers.
B2C Commerce Ready Data
Elkjop and Monsanto: PIM and MDM to Manage Product and Customer Data
Thomas Thykjer, Master Data Architect, Elkjop Nordics AS
Jim Stellern, US Commercial Data Management and BI IT Lead, Monsanto
Elkjop, the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic countries, increased both its product range offering and the quality of its product information across its entire portfolio by leveraging the strong embedded Data Quality tools found in the Informatica PIM. Elkjop will also discuss how they reduced their yearly development costs and operating costs.
Monsanto developed a strategy to address customer data quality issues, clearly articulated the business value of implementing the strategy, and successfully implemented the solution leveraging Informatica MDM and a new data governance program.
Omnichannel Ready: What’s New in PIM 8?
Latest Features, Demo and Roadmap
Stefan Reinhardt, Senior Product Manager PIM, R&D DEU PIM, Informatica
Ben Rund, Sr. Director Product Marketing, Information Quality Solutions, Informatica
Are you commerce ready? Can you say the same about your data? Are you focused on the betterment of your supply chain, marketing, ecommerce, merchandising and category management This session, aimed at those wanting to sell more products faster.
Learn what’s new with PIM 8:
- Kits and bundles for superior cross-selling
- High data volumes architecture
- Role- and task-based web interfaces for increased efficiency on product content collaboration
- Business user dashboard
- 1WorldSync data pool syndication for compliant CPG data
- Product Data as a Service (DaaS) for price intelligence and content benchmarking.
We will be covering all those new features during the session through in a live demo.
Furthermore, we will also cover the PIM roadmap, showcasing how PIM is evolving and gaining MDM like features, by fueling product data apps for different use cases and industries, leveraging the Intelligent Data Platform.
User Group Session for Omnichannel
Are you looking to talk to the experts? Don’t miss out on our user group sessions where you will be able to discuss and work directly with the R&D and product management experts. They will be there to answer your questions as well as hear your thoughts and feedback. It’s your opportunity to be heard and get an answer to your question, don’t miss out!
37 Sessions to Master the Digital Transformation
An overall of 37 sessions, focused on different Master Data Management and Information Governance, key disciplines and the foundation of successfully mastering digital transformation, will be held on the 12th and 13th of May.
In 2015, CIOs will invest in omni-channel integration technologies as a top priority to support growth in the omni-channel shopper sales premium of 30%, due to IDC Retail. Recently attending a retailers’ internal strategy day with Supply Chain Leaders and Commerce Leaders has shown, that omni-channel investements are paired with supply-chain optimizations.
The digital transformation is disrupting the world of B2C retail, in the same way as it is impacting B2B distributors and brands which sell directly to consumers. In this blog you will find some highlights for retailers and wholesalers at Informatica World 2015.
Get Ready for the Omnichannel Trends 2015+
Retail sessions at Informatica World 2015 are focussing around the key trends retailers are facing on become data ready and overcome the Amazon threat.
- Issue of the informed purchase journey: When do they have enough information to buy?
- Turning Big Data Relationships into business value for decision making and customer segmentation for relevant merchandizing
- Store fulfillment & in-store experience will become a big investment area.
- The mobile conversion: revenue spend on mobile is growing. Forrester Research projects sales from consumers shopping on mobile phones will increase to $38 billion this year and sales from tablets will hit $76 billion, or about $114 billion in total in the US.
Learn from Experts in Retail and Distribution
International retailers like PartsSource (United States), Elkjop (Nordics No. 1 consumer electronics retailer) and Farmacias del Ahorro (Mexico) will share their transition to a data ready enterprise.
Retail Business: How to Monetize your customer and Product Data
Meeting with Nelson Enriquez, CTO at Farmacias del Ahorro, you will learn three key takeaways on turning product and customer information into real revenue. First is sharing the business context and challenges of our business, including pains, and the costs of not having a master data management strategy in place. Second is our vision for transforming our business by leveraging customer and products data, and how Informatica technology supports the vision through data quality and cloud solutions. Third is the tangible results and benefits of the proposed strategy. We’ll address retail industry concepts like assortment, replenishment, and customer promotions at a high business-oriented level for IT and business personnel. At the end of the session, the audience will understand how MDM supports retail business strategy
PartsSource Improve Customer Experience with Product Information
Brian Thomas, Director of Application in PartsSource will discuss how it uses Informatica PIM as the foundation for its omnichannel strategy and to support its industry-first one-stop shop online catalog for medical parts. PartsSource will explain how Informatica helped reduce the time needed to launch and update products from 120 minutes to 2 minutes using fewer employees.
Elkjop: Consumer Electronics Experience
Find out how Elkjop increased both its product range offering and the quality of its product information across its entire portfolio by leveraging the strong embedded Data Quality tools found in the Informatica PIM. Thomas Thykjer from Elkjop will also discuss how they reduce their yearly development costs and operating costs.
Learn from eBay & Deloitte
Transforming finance processes, organization, and systems can be exciting, but also challenging for a business. In this collaborative presentation, Alistair Wallace, eBay, and Sachin Khairnar, Deloitte, will share how eBay, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, led a financial transformation with data to maximize the value of finance and drive functional effectiveness. This session will cover the business drivers, approach, design decisions and lessons-learned governance finance data.
What’s New in Product Catalog App for Omnichannel?
Are you data commerce ready? This session is designed for roles in supply chain, marketing, ecommerce, merchandising, and category management who care about selling more products faster. Learn what’s new with the Product Catalog App, including kits and bundles for better cross-selling, architecture for high data volumes, role- and task-based web interfaces for more efficiency on product content collaboration, the business user dashboard, 1WorldSync data pool syndication for compliant CPG data, and Product Data as a Service for price intelligence and content benchmarking. A short demo by Stefan Reinhardt, Senior Product Manager PIM, will showcase them all. The roadmap will give direction how PIM will turn into MDM fueled product data apps for different use cases and industries, leveraging the Intelligent Data Platform.
Price Intelligence and Product Content Benchmarking as a Service
By end 2016 product intelligence will inform 80% of the top ten e-commerce retailers’ pricing decisions and drive mainstream adoption of high-velocity pricing. Is your offer competition ready? The price battle and the content battle of CPG brands, manufacturers, distributors and retailers are happening now. Informatica Product Data as a Service now enables brands to monitor their minimum marketing price and retailers to monitor their competition’s prices in real time. Users of Informatica’s MDM for product data can now autocomplete their product catalogs with attributes or monitor the content strategy of their competition. Product DaaS changes the world of products with data on more than 600 million products to make product catalogs smarter. Meet the expert Nagesh Kanumury, Principal Product Manager in Informatica.
An Introduction to Data as a Service: Achieving Total Customer Experience Goals with Accurate Contact Data
Throughout 2015, organizations across the world will be working on plans to become more customer centric. In this session, participants will learn how having accurate customer contact data, such as mailing address, email address, and phone numbers, can ensure that they are able to connect with their customers at any time and in the manner that the customer prefers.
This session by my colleague, Thomas Brence, will cover Informatica Data as a Service’s Contact Record Verification suite. This suite includes products from Informatica’s Data as a Service group. Learn how Address Verification, powered by AddressDoctor can help you verify the accuracy of mailing addresses in over 240 countries and territories. Explore how Email Verification can help you safely reach 15% more customers. Discover how Phone Validation can show you which of your customer’s phone numbers accurate and which are invalid.
Turn Big Data Relationship Management into better Customer Segementation
The Data Lake of big data holds great potential for unlocking the value of new data sources while allowing for a more cost effective way of enabling analytics on existing enterprise data. But how can we make sense of that wealth of data so that we can deliver results that can be trusted to drive business decisions and feed marketing campaigns? Learn from the Informatica experts Chris Phillips Director, Product Management Data Quality and Steve Hoskin, Chief Architect MDM.
Retail Discussion - The Path to Maximizing the Shopper Experience
Explore how best-in-class retailers make strategic use of data to overcome their challenges by harnessing data and analytics to better meet customer expectations across all interaction channels. Our discussion with Donal Dunne, Senior Marketing Manager – Retail & CPG, Informatic, will cover the three building blocks retailers must establish and nurture to maximize their performance through the effective use of data.
Omnichannel Customer Experience & Supply Chain Optimization are Twins
Recently attending a retailers’ internal strategy day and takling to Gartner analyst Tom Enright, showed that omni-channel investements are paired with supply-chain optimizations. Supply chain, sourcing and buying teams struggle to get access to a single view of the supplier so they can understand the total supplier relationship across the business. As a result, it’s difficult to achieve their goals, such as improving supplier collaboration or supplier relationship management or quickly and accurately evaluating supplier spend management. Taking personalization to the next level requires are 360 view of all customer interactions to fuel any marketing and sales touch points and systems. During this session by Jakki Geiger and Manouj Tahiliani , you’ll hear about our new master data fueled applications: Total Customer Relationship and Total Supplier Relationship.
Are you ready for Retailers Age of Engagement? Get Ready for your digtital transformation with Informatica World 2015.
PS: If you tweet, use #INFA15
Shoppers want and expect a consistent experience regardless of the sales channel they choice. They also expect an ever increasing assortment of products with detailed descriptions and will go were their needs are met.
39% of US online adults cite that they would consider buying from an online retailer they had never previously purchased from if the retailer offered detailed product information. Forrester
I was recently looking to purchase a new bike and came across the following two descriptions for the same bike at different online retailers;
Retailer 1: “With sturdy 700c wheels the Specialized Crosstrail Disk is where the street meets the trail. With the efficiency of a road bike and the versatility of a mountain bike this is a hybrid that is ready for adventure.
The sturdy but light A1 aluminum frame offers a comfortable, well balanced ride and has lugs ready to take mudguards and/or rack. Bumps on rough tracks are smoothed out by the suspension fork which can also be locked out, for efficiency, on smooth roads.
Hydraulic disk brakes offer efficient reliable performance in all weather conditions giving you the confidence to ride all year round. The triple chain set combined with a 9 speed cassette gives a very wide range of gears so you can take on all terrain; from steep country lanes to fast city streets.”
Further tabs on reviews, technical specs, etc.
Retailer 2: Specialized Crosstrail Disc 2015. Your Price: €690.00 (with redirect to Specialized website)
Which retailer would you contact first?
Deliver trusted, consistent and rich product data were, and when it is needed in the right format.
As your business expands across all sales channels e.g. in-store, kiosk, you may have multiple e-commerce sites, full price, discount and clearance or sales via third party site like Amazon, Facebook, etc. or add a contact center to take telephone orders. Add in, an ever growing assortment and increased number of suppliers, with recent EU legislation on product labeling (no. 1169) adding another dimension for retailers and consumer goods manufactures to adhere to, the task of managing product data becomes very complex and onerous.
Managing thousands of products with multiple attributes in Excel or home grown tools is no longer feasible. And with business users e.g. marketers, merchandizer now making the decision on Product Information Management tools, they are looking for the same ease of use they experience in Excel. But before deciding on or implementing a product information management tool you need ask yourself;
- What does good product information look like for your business?
- What do you want your product information to achieve?
- How does your organization synthesize this information?
- What product data should be highlighted in each channel?
- How are your competitors presenting product data?
- Where is yours currently underperforming?
Once you have answered the above you need some guiding principles for great product data that will ensure your PIM implementation will deliver the benefits you expected. These include;
Think ‘customer experience’ – Product information isn’t a by-product of selling. It’s an essential service, for your customers and for other users of product data. Customer experience pivots around product information
Up to standard – Treat product data with the same care and diligence as the product itself.
It goes without saying that it needs to meet: The category-specific industry standards (like ETIM or Eclass for electronic products or GDSN/GS1 for consumer packaged goods). The legal requirements for compliance (e.g., for organic food or pharmaceuticals)
Customer-centric – Great product information answers every question your customers will ever ask. Don’t forget that this includes internal customers – like shipping or fulfillment – who often need very specific information (e.g., in the U.S., compliance laws for certain products can vary significantly between states).
Join us at Informatica World 2015 to hear from your peers and Informatica experts on how to get the best from your Product Information Management.
Follow us @INFARetail
Great email marketing has the best ROI in the business, most marketers know. The return on investment can be nearly $40 for every $1 spent, according to Adobe Systems.
Despite an onslaught of new marketing technologies, including the growth of social media marketing and mobile applications, the big news from a just-released report is that the importance of email marketing continues to grow.
60% of marketers in a new survey said that email is a critical enabler of products and services, and 20% said it was the primary revenue source for their business. These findings come from the 2015 State of Marketing report from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
In the same survey, nearly 3 out of 4 marketers agreed that email marketing is core to their business. However, as any data-driven marketer knows, the real proof is in the measurement of performance.
An example of measured email marketing success is the astonishing revenue growth at global women’s apparel retailer BCBG. In the last year, the major global brand re-focused its email marketing efforts with tactics that improve the customer experience both on digital platforms and in-store.
By putting the customer at the center of its strategy, BCBG’s revenue from email marketing grew 20% in just one quarter, according to Direct Marketing News.
Email marketers can be eager to build templates, opted-in contact lists, establish campaigns, content, frequency, timing, and metrics goals. All of these are important to an email marketer.
BCBG does all of this too – but they also know the value of being customer-ready in their engagement and communication.
What email marketers may not know is that the customer journey begins with great contact data. If you aren’t measuring the quality of your contact data, your email campaigns will not reach their potential.
Here are a few ‘secrets’ about email marketing and contact data that you don’t hear about often, but every data-driven marketer should know.
Up to 30 percent of your contacts’ email addresses change each year. What’s that hissing noise? That’s the air being let out of your email marketing plan. Everyone talks about the best practices for acquiring new contacts for your email lists, but what about taking care of the lists you have? It’s essential for marketers to validate their lists on a regular basis.
This can be done via email verification software and asking your list to opt back in on a regular basis. Asking for an opt-in after someone has been on your list for as long as a year (or more, depending on your audience) helps you know your message is welcome (reducing the chance it will be marked as spam) and re-establishes you in your customers’ minds.
Poor sender reputation can affect anyone and everyone who sends emails in bulk. Having a low sender reputation is similar to having a low credit score. If your credit score is low, you will be limited on what you can do in the financial world. In the same way, a low sender reputation limits what you can do with your email marketing campaigns.
This is a threat that you want to deal with before it happens. Many marketers only learn about the consequences after it happens – and they can no longer reach their audiences. Sales and customer satisfaction suffer as a result, and it can be a costly and time-consuming process to repair your sender reputation.
What are some of the things that affect sender reputation the most?
- Sending to email addresses that are no longer in use.
- Complaint rates (being marked as spam).
- Spam traps (email addresses created specifically to catch spammers). As Return Path has found, sending to even one spam trap can destroy your sender reputation.
You can check email lists before you send to them – in fact, that is the best time to do that. But it’s not enough to verify a list once. Verify email addresses more than once over time, as email addresses that previously were fine one day can become invalid or malicious.
Urgent changes are ahead for email marketers. A major new prediction from Gartner is that companies in all industries will have to primarily compete on customer experience by 2016.
Email marketing holds great potential as a revenue driver, and will continue to be an important channel for providing a great customer experience. 33% of customers surveyed said that email is the best method for building brand loyalty, according to Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Read more about how customer experience is becoming a bigger part of marketers’ jobs in this new white paper, “The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey.”
80% of companies surveyed said that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them. (Source: Bain & Company)
With numbers like that there is plenty of room to improve. But improve what?
Traditionally retailers have measured themselves against year over year increase in sales for like-stores, increased margins and lower operating costs. But, retailing has changed, customers can interact and transact with you across multiple touch points along their path to purchase and beyond. Poor performance at any one of these interaction points could lose you a customer and damage your brand.
A better measure is to calculate the customer experience across the omni-channel landscape. This will provide better insight into how you are attracting and retaining customers, and how well you are serving them. However, many retailers lack the technology and processes to deliver on a plan to improve the omni-channel customer experience.
Once you have decided to do something, what are you going to measure? Is it time spent on website versus sales? Speed to resolve problems in contact center versus number of repeat transactions from customer? Number of touch points before purchase? But what about the softer measures like how well your staff interact with customers in-store or social channels? How many “Pins” you have, or how do you assign value to them?
Organizations need to account for (CHURN, ATTRITION, LOYALTY and LIFETIME VALUE) to be able to evaluate their performance from a holistic view of their customer, not just in the confines of their own operational silo.
In an up and coming webinar Arkady Kleyner, from Intricity will break apart key components of the Omni-Channel Customer Experience calculation. Additionally, Arkady will identify the upstream components that keep this measure accurate and current.
Attend this webinar to learn:
- The foundational calculations of Omni-Channel Customer Experience
- Common customizations to fit different scenarios
- Upstream components to keep the calculation current and accurate
- Register here to receive a calendar invitation with the webinar details.
- Join us for a 1 hour webinar and Q/A session. The event will occur March 19th at 2:00PM EST.
Is 2015 the year retailers start seeing operations differently, simply by changing one word?
It’s happened before. Years ago, we used to say “multichannel” when referring to customer touchpoints across many different platforms. The new buzzword is “omnichannel,” which focuses on all customer touchpoints working as one to appeal to digitally-connected consumers. Omnichannel provides a cohesive brand experience that helps create customer loyalty and communication.
For 10 years, STORES Magazine has been making insightful predictions about the retail industry. This year, STORES predicts that leaders in the retail industry will stop saying “ecommerce” and just call everything, in all channels, “commerce.”
Would you see your operations differently if you were to call everything “commerce,” instead of breaking out each channel by where the consumer makes a purchase?
The “e” in “ecommerce” stands for electronic. But retail order fulfillment cannot always be electronic, nor can all customer service be electronic, or your supply chains, or every channel. Ecommerce as we define it today is growing, and while its growth is often a favorite topic in the retail industry, it’s just part of the picture. In the US, $10 out of every $11 is spent by consumers in-store, according to e-Marketer.
Keep in mind that it’s the growth of ecommerce that gets the attention of retail industry leaders. Because of this growth, do you see ecommerce becoming a bigger part of your business and your revenue? You would not be alone in this expectation. Online retail sales in the US will reach $294 billion this year, and by 2018 are projected at $414 billion, according to Forrester Research’s US eCommerce Forecast published last May.
Retailers will plan to focus on ecommerce more and more as its growth – and importance to revenue – continues. What retailers may not be ready for, especially retail marketers, is that a plan to focus on ecommerce is by definition a plan to focus on data quality. Ecommerce is driven by customer communication. Retailers successfully drive sales via email marketing, SMS mobile messaging, and direct mail. Response rates to this communication drive the success of ecommerce by driving sales.
For example, email marketing triggers mobile purchasing more than any other communication method, including social media, app traffic, and paid search, according to a 2014 Custora report. The same report found that over one-third of all visits to ecommerce websites originate from mobile devices. Valid mailing addresses ensure that a customer’s order arrives on-time as expected, which is important when same-day delivery is becoming a bigger and bigger way for retailers to stay competitive.
A customer’s email address, phone number, and postal address lead retailers to a better understanding of that customer. Better communication that leads to loyalty and revenue starts with contact data that is valid and reliable.
All retailers know the value of acquiring and retaining customer data. Keeping that information correct and up-to-date is an ongoing challenge, however. Verifying and correcting customer contact data using a real-time service that is reliable, up-to-date, and authoritative on data quality is essential for retailers to succeed in growing revenue through ecommerce.
To learn more, join Informatica’s Data as a Service and Retail experts Thomas Brence and Donal Dunne in this recorded webinar.
Retail friends – sorry to say it was not a surprise that reinventing the store and making it more digital impacted the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) in London this week. I saw a similar trend at the National Retail Federation Big Show back in January, which I discussed in this blog post.
With that being said, I was not shy finding the fantastic five that thrilled me in the Olympia Hammersmith center hall.
Here they are:
Engaging Spaces: Their booth was making the most noise with interactive touchable wooden walls, which emphasize interaction with sound and lights. No booth was inspiring more people taking pictures than this one. I took the liberty to record this short clip
Engaging Spaces was surrounded by lots of fancy digital signage vendors to display products in-store. Some demos did not work, or did not come with comprehensive product details and are still not personalized.
Panel: Optimizing the supply chain and omnichannel experience are twins. Moderated by Spencer Izard and completed by Craig Sears-Black from Manhattan Associates and Tom Enright from Gartner, showed that the lines between retailers and CPG companies are blurring. Retailers become eTailers and brands act like retailers.
We learned that consumers don’t care where they buy from, but they always expect trust! The experts see co-existence, overlap and changes for partnering between vendors and retailers. Analysts said that retail organizations are still siloed on the internal structure, which prevents omnichannel execution. We expect that a balance of power will take place between brands and retailers.
Orderella: Let the phone do the queuing. This app is perfect for people like me who hate waiting in line for lunch.. The app connects with PayPal, soI was able to order my snack and drink from my phone, and to my table. It was delivered in 1 minute, and I was able to monitor the process within the app. In addition, they also delivered to each both with localizing your phone and offered a 6 bucks voucher for each new deal. Great combination of location, real-time, product and customer data.
Red Ant: The seamless in-store experience. The app sits on top of ecommerce tools like Demandware, hybris, Intershop, Magento, Oxid, Oracle ATG or IBM WebSphere Commerce, which are used by many of our customers tosupport barcode scanning and flexibility in the checkout process. It also supports the in-store assistant to complete the transaction. Red Ant is very easy to use for our eCommerce clients, who already fuel their commerce with perfect product information.
Iconeme: Again for digital in-store experience. The app uses iBeacon to help users see where the product is in the store, share it, view looks (product bundles), a virtual dressing room, and of course, check out payment. Definitely something to take a look at.
On our recent webinar with Omer Minkara from Aberdeen Group , we learnt that“94% of companies are not satisfied with their use of customer data”, yet retailers still want more data to gain valuable customer insights to drive improvements in the shopper experience. But the top challenge they face when managing customer data as part of their business activities is the quality of the data. Data-Driven retailers are characterized by their ability to balance quantity and quality of data effectively.
Shoppers expect consistency in their interactions with you, whether it’s the same price across channels, accurate shipping information or when they are calling a contact center. However, one of the top frustrations for consumers is the need to provide the same information over and over as they interact with the retailer. This data is already captured in multiple systems but is not connected or clean. Fragmented views of customer data across multiple systems makes it harder to personalize shopper interaction and enhance the overall customer experience.
Bring your data management to today’s omni-channel world
By standardizing customer data across the organization and having a centralized repository of product and service information available to all customer facing roles, data- driven retailers have enjoyed increased margins, higher returns on marketing investments, shorter delivery times and improved time to market for products and services.
Data-driven retailers are not just meeting customer expectations, they are exceeding them.
In my next blog I will look at some of the questions we did not get to answer during this session. In the meantime, why not register for our next webinar “Calculating Omni-Channel Customer Experience – March 19 Webinar” with Arkady Kleyner, Solution Architect, Intricity.
Don’t to follow us on twitter @INFARetail.
If you take a company that is already delivering a great customer experience and add time to the equation, what do you get?
For the answer, take a look at this observation from Shoebuy’s SVP of Customer Experience and Retention, Kavita Baball (published in this new article):
“Customer expectations change over time, so even though you may deliver a good experience now, you have to always consider the customer and their changing needs and expectations.”
In all areas of their business, Shoebuy’s MVP is their customers. One more interesting thing about Shoebuy: They offer over 1 million products on their website.
A study reported in Multichannel Merchant magazine analyzed numerous products sold online by retailers. It found that when a new product is added to an ecommerce website, it directly contributes to growth in gross merchandise value. Today, more products (and more unique selections for the customer to choose from) create more revenue overall.
The rules of inventory, selection, price, and placement are bent and broken by changing customer preferences and innovations from the rise of online retailing. It wasn’t so long ago that retailers started creating niche options in their stores and online to appeal to changing consumer preferences. In retail, the unique, personalized, special option is highly valued by consumers today.
Limitless options are available online, so a consumer can find nearly anything he or she wants from a variety of sources. What can retailers do when customers want something unique, just for them, and can get it anywhere?
The only answer is adding value by providing a great customer experience. An amazing thing to note here: Gartner predicts that by 2016, companies in all industries will be competing on customer experience alone.
Until then, retailers should assess how they lose customers over time because of a poor experience. As Shoebuy knows, customer preferences continue to change. What works now may not always be a solid strategy. Fewer than 50% of companies in a Gartner survey said their customer service was exceptional today. If you aren’t putting customers at the center of everything, throughout your business, Gartner’s prediction shows that you are essentially turning away customers. Here are four ways this can happen:
1. Not being able to contact customers. If your contact data is invalid, including email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses, it can be really tough to call yourself customer-centric. Bounced emails, returned packages, and wrong numbers hurt the customer experience. When e-receipts aren’t received, or a customer service call isn’t successfully made, or an order is sent to the wrong address, customers are unlikely to be loyal and come back for what they believe will be the same experience.
2. Not providing a single experience across channels. When customers contact you for service or support in your call center, the representative should be able to pull up a full contact record, including past buying histories and other contextual information that helps make the interaction a success. The same applies to your ecommerce site, in-store at point-of-sale, and any other channel. According to Forrester Research, 42% of customer service representatives said they were not able to resolve customer issues effectively due to disconnected systems across multiple applications with outdated interfaces.
3. Offer no additional value. Part of a great customer experience is adding stand-out services, conveniences, and speed to every interaction. Customization options, online support and knowledge centers, and membership for exclusive perks are just a few ways to help your customers while building your authority in the market. Loyalty memberships are a great way in particular for marketers to use, as they provide great perks to customers while giving retailers insight into who their customers are. Add-ons may be perceived as expensive to provide, but 86% of buyers said that they would pay more for a better customer experience, according to survey results from Harris Interactive.
4. Not increasing investments in your marketing technology. More and more, improving every customer interaction throughout all channels is becoming part of the job description for marketers. According to eMarketer, the top reason marketers said they needed new technology investments was to improve customer service and satisfaction. See more on steps you can take to avoid wasting your marketing budget in 2015 in this blog post.