Three pitfalls to avoid with data management

Inventory Management

The Internet has greatly extended the reach of merchants, who can now sell products to customers in just about every corner of the globe. However, by taking on so many new shoppers, this can also add another wrinkle to successful omni channel eCommerce operations: data management.

Customer data is crucial to the success of the modern retailer. Armed with the right data, merchants can offer their shoppers relevant products based on demographic information, past orders, behavioral trends and other such metrics, not to mention being able to deliver data across channels ensuring a successful omni channel experience. Data management is a critical tool that can be used across departments for various business functions as well, from marketing and customer service to inventory forecasting.

As retailers move to make better use of their information, here are three potential pitfalls to avoid with data management:

1. Being too heavy handed

Most shoppers are well aware of the data-tracking capabilities of merchants and realize that, for the most part, the more merchants know about them, the more retailers can personalize the shopping experience specifically to the individual customer. That said, merchants must be cognizant of the line on which they are walking, as being too pushy with data can make customers feel as if their privacy is being violated.

If a customer looks at an item, they don’t need to be emailed to remind them of a purchase while receiving pay-per-click ads on every website they view from the retailer in question. That just says the merchant wants to make the sale, not that they care about creating a better customer experience.

“Make sure that you’ve gathered enough data about your visitors to determine the right messages and channels to market on,” Practical eCommerce suggested. “Don’t emphasize every platform or channel. Instead, ask what’s the most effective way to reach a consumer.”

2. Failing to see the entire picture

Armed with the right data, merchants can offer their shoppers relevant products based on demographic information, past orders, behavioral trends and other such metrics, not to mention being able to deliver data across channels ensuring a successful omni channel experience.

Today’s customers are shopping from a variety of different channels, most notably brick-and-mortar stores and online websites. If retailers are banking on their data to help them deliver a better omni channel experience, they need to be sure they they are using all the information available to them so they are engaging their customers in a relevant way.

For example, say someone looked at MP3 player on a website and then purchased it on a brick-and-mortar store. If retailers aren’t able to track cross-channel transactions, they may think that purchase was never made and continually suggest MP3 players instead of trying to upsell on headphones or carrying cases.

“It’s important that you examine and correlate information across multiple sources so you can create the best campaigns and determine the most effective courses of action,” Practical eCommerce added.

3. Not making data available to everyone

Although many merchants may think data management is the most pertinent for inventory and promotion planning, the fact of the matter is that many people across the retail chain can effectively use information to improve their jobs and their organization’s goal of delivery an omni channel experience.

For example, if customer service has access to customer data, they could identify defective product batches as they are returned. Retailers could automatically send purchase orders if they detect inventory levels are getting low. Now more than ever before, retail has become a unified omni channel business, and if some departments are left in the cold in terms of data, they may not be able to do their jobs as effectively.

With merchants better able to track customer interactions and purchase habits across channels, data management needs to become a priority. By crafting stronger customer profiles, retailers will have the ability to provide a better customer experience.

Read more about how merchandising and eCommerce efforts rely on “clean” data.

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