Why data visibility is vital to omnichannel success
Information can be used by retailers in a variety of ways, but offering data visibility across the organization is vital to omnichannel success. With retailers expanding to a variety of new channels, gaining information about customers and creating detailed profiles has never been easier. Yet at the same time, many merchants still are not using their data as effectively as possible – they are leaving low-hanging fruit in the open, and the shopping experience suffers as a result. Here are some key ways retailers can use their data more effectively across the business:
1. Customer service
The best use of customer information is for customer service. Whether retailers are answering shoppers’ questions prior to these consumers making a purchase or are resolving cases afterward, data is pivotal for addressing issues promptly and effectively.
Information such as purchase history can be used by sales associates to offer relevant product recommendations to customers as they roam through store aisles. With the right information on hand, sales associates can avoid looking clueless and suggest unique products that customers do not have, or if customers buy the same items on a recurring basis, merchants can quickly get those for them with no questions asked. Similarly, agents at the customer service booth can quickly find answers to customers’ questions if they have access to all the information they need, regardless of whether the inquiries are about order status, product recall information or adjustments to existing orders.
As retailers look for new ways to garner more business from each and every shopper, customer service has grown to be paramount. Retailers must be able to show they know and understand their customers. Data, ranging from customer tendencies to product information, is key to delivering that service.
2. Marketing and promotion
Sharing data with marketing departments is vital because it allows them to plan more attractive promotions. This, in turn, allows retail brands to drive more sales, reach wider demographics and improve customer loyalty.
For example, if retailers see particular items are not selling well, they can launch promotional initiatives to offload remaining inventory and make room for new stock. Conversely, they could also design initiatives around the hottest products, helping to get more customers in-store and making purchases. If the marketing department has access to individual customer profiles, members can also launch automated promotional campaigns that allow them to send highly targeted materials to relevant customers. For example, if the retailer knows a target has bought purses before, it can set the email newsletter to recommend similar accessories instead of more general offerings.
Giving the marketing department access to relevant customer information and sales trends allows it to make wiser choices for future campaigns, which enables personnel to not only be more relevant in their communications but also allows them to identify new audiences and prospective buyers based on current customers.
Data is vital for effective merchandising. If merchandising is mainly about creating a strategy to help companies sell products effectively, information is necessary to achieve that objective.
Having detailed information about customers and buying trends empowers the merchandising process, and is one of the reasons why sharing information across departments is so vital. This information can help with stocking the right items (in the appropriate sizes, colors and styles), at the right time of the year and at the right physical location.
Retailers understand the importance of information, but it is equally important they make this data accessible to everyone within the company so everyone can do their jobs appropriately.