Tag Archives: Data as a Service
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.
From marketing automation to analytics software, there were countless technology offerings showcasing how to best assist the modern marketer in making every customer interaction personal. Throughout the week, I had numerous conversations with retail professionals about the importance of personalization in marketing and what it means to their organization’s future plans.
At the heart of their plans was the need to understand the data that they have today, and how to verify the data that they will inevitably acquire in the future. If it’s accurate, if it’s reliable, if it’s complete – customer data can fuel your ability to engage and interact.
The data driven marketer derives insight and ultimately provides a personalized experience by leveraging this valuable data for each customer.
And why is this important?
Well, according to McMurrayTMG, 78% of buyers believe that organizations providing a personalized experience are interested in building good relationships. But it all starts with accurate data.
Knowing who your customers are, how you can contact them, and what they are interested in are essential in order to engage with your customers. With the abundance of data available today, you have to figure that if you aren’t ensuring that your customer interactions are personalized, then your competitors are gaining ground. Every interaction, every correspondence counts towards a positive perception as well as increased sales and customer satisfaction.
By fueling your interactions with Data as a Service (DaaS) for accurate customer data, you will ensure that your customers have a personalized experience with your brand and ultimately accelerate your business.
Not so long ago, customers were simply faceless names and transactions understood through disjointed sales data and potentially inaccurate contact information.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen companies across industries make remarkable business transformations to become customer-centric organizations. These companies understand that customers are no longer loyal to brands or products alone. Instead, they’re loyal to companies who provide the optimal, most personalized customer experiences.
By understanding more about their customers, their interests, and their interaction preferences, organizations can ultimately encourage increased sales and usage of their products and services.
As we begin 2015 and predict what the next trends will be, I believe that this year will finally be the year that customer centricity becomes the norm – and effective management of data will play the most critical role to date in getting companies to reach their customer centricity goals.
But it won’t necessarily happen overnight. So how should companies get started with this effort?
“A requirement behind customer centricity is the ability to understand customers at a fairly granular level and to be able to identify the customers or the segments of customers who are valuable from the ones who aren’t,” writes Peter Fader (Co-Director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania). “If you can’t sort out your customers — if you can’t look at them and know who is good and who is bad — then you can’t be customer centric. That’s step one.”
More and more companies are working through strategies for what Peter Fader describes as step one. They understand their data, and explore ways to utilize this information to gain valuable insights. For example, consider the advancements that Citrix achieved (read more in this case study). By better understanding their customer data, they saw a 20% improvement in lead conversion.
The organizations that have a better understanding of their customers are leading the way by utilizing technology to ensure data accuracy. If their contact data (address, email, and phone) is correct, then they can effectively reach that customer without fail. If their contact data is poor, connecting with customers becomes impossible and can ultimately impact their ability to compete.
Companies like BCBG understand this and are utilizing data quality services to reach up to 15% more customers (read more in this case study).
As companies continue to understand their customer data, they’ll look to fill in the gaps. Sometimes, these gaps are obvious. If a customer’s contact profile has a hole in it – for example a missing phone number – it becomes clear that the hole must be filled.
Utilizing Data as a Service enrichment and validation capabilities, organizations have the opportunity to clean up missing data without wasting a high value customer interaction to ask for their phone number. Instead, they can spend their time selling to this customer.
In addition to filling the contact profile gaps, Data as a Service subscription data is also a great way to expand the view of the customer and learn more about them. Companies can enrich their customer profiles with demographic information or industry data to round out their customer profiles, further supporting their customer-centricity goals.
In 2015, we will see companies utilizing their customer data to form a deeper connection and ultimately increase sales. The habit of “Speaking at” customers will fall by the wayside of true engagement. If customers are the lifeblood of an organization, then, in 2015, we’ll see more and more companies leveraging Data as a Service to increase customer loyalty — and ultimately fuel business growth.
Turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie… and lots and lots of data on the side. Thanksgiving has to be the most data-driven holiday we have. After Black Friday, we will see a slew of reports and headlines describing how the retail industry’s sales performed.
What are retailers all abuzz about right now as we get closer to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday dates?
This year, retailers are using between 31-50% of their online marketing budget on holiday-related efforts alone, according to the National Retail Federation.
The NRF also projects that almost 20% of the retail industry’s annual sales will come from the holiday period.
This sounds like so much pressure, any retail marketer would crack like a chestnut under it. What’s a marketer to do? Here are some tactics and results around peak season holiday marketing.
Segmentation is a great way to see a big lift in sales. If you have the data to understand your customers and identify emerging segments in your market, you can find new business and directly target it with specific messaging. One recent case reported by Target Marketing Magazine showed a 40% year-over-year sales increase from a new segment that was identified and targeted with tailored messaging. Learn more about getting the most from your customer data in this white paper, “Data Quality Management: Beyond the Basics.”
Know your email sender reputation. You spend so much effort getting the right message out via email marketing with the right timing over different days leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday into December. But a poor email sender reputation can lead to those efforts being blocked or sent to the junk folder instead of to your customers. Global retailer BCBG proactively avoided this, using data validation and cleansing techniques to send their sender reputation sky-high (which you can read more about here.) Don’t let a bad sender reputation limit you during the holidays — especially when it can take up to 15 days to fix a major issue like this. Find out more in this short informative video, “Email Sender Reputation: What Does it Mean to Marketers?”
Everyone, positively everyone, is talking about mobile. Practically every article you come across on the subject of retail industry sales around the peak season holiday mentions mobile in some respect – for very good reason. Shoppers take their phones and tablets shopping with them to compare prices, look for deals, and research their purchases beforehand. The NRF reports that 7 out of 10 retailers they surveyed are putting major investments into their mobile-friendly websites. A well-timed SMS message to your customers with a special deal just for them could work wonders. You can take advantage of the huge popularity of SMS mobile messaging in just a few steps. See how in this SMS Quick-Start Guide created for marketers like you.
I spent last weekend reading Geoffrey Moore’s new book, Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past. Then on Sunday, the New York Times published this article about salesforce.com: A Leader in the Cloud Gains Rivals. Clearly “The Big Switch” is on. With this as a backdrop, the need for a comprehensive cloud data management strategy has surfaced as a top IT imperative heading into the New Year – How and when do you plan to move data to the cloud? How will you prevent SaaS silos? How will you ensure your cloud data is trustworthy, relevant and complete? What is your plan for longer-term cloud governance and control?
These are just a few of the questions you need to think through as you develop your short, medium and long-term cloud strategy. Here are my predictions for what else should be on your 2012 cloud integration radar. (more…)