Unlocking the Potential of UK Retail Data: The Keys to Staying Competitive in Today’s Market

Last Published: Jul 10, 2024 |
Amit Deshpande
Amit Deshpande

Data Platform Leader, Cloud Integration Sales

UK businesses are constantly seeking ways to remain relevant by enhancing customer experiences, streamlining operations and staying ahead of the competition. With the surge in interest in Generative AI (GenAI) across organisations, there is a growing focus on leveraging advanced technologies to deliver more value in key result areas. However, the success of GenAI and other digital initiatives hinges on the foundation of connected and high-quality data across the organisation.

This blog delves into the critical challenges faced by UK retail organisations and explores how the Informatica Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) can drive significant improvements. By addressing these challenges through effective data integration, application integration, governance and quality measures, retailers can unlock the full potential of their data assets, leading to better customer experiences, enhanced operational efficiency and greater innovation.

1.  Marketing Personalisation & Product Recommendations

Today’s Market Conditions

In today’s market, UK retailers are navigating a transformative landscape shaped by the rise of online shopping and an intensified focus on personalisation and customer experience. E-commerce has seen unprecedented growth, with online sales now comprising nearly 30% of total retail sales as of 2023underscoring the urgent need for robust digital strategies. 

Simultaneously, consumer demand for personalised interactions is at an all-time high, with 80% of customers more likely to make a purchase from brands that offer tailored experiences. McKinsey's research indicates that companies that excel at personalisation generate 40% more revenue from those activities than average players2. These dual trends are compelling businesses to innovate and adapt, ensuring they meet evolving consumer expectations and remain competitive in a rapidly changing market.

Current Challenges

High Volume and Variety of Data: With the rise in online shopping and personalisation to drive customer experience, UK retailers collect vast amounts of data from numerous sources, including online transactions, in-store purchases, social media interactions and customer service inquiries. This data is often scattered across multiple systems and formats, making it difficult to derive actionable insights. The sheer volume and variety of data pose significant challenges for marketing teams trying to create personalised experiences and targeted product recommendations.

For instance, a retailer might have customer data spread across an e-commerce platform, point-of-sale systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software and social media channels. Each of these sources provides valuable information about customer behaviour and preferences, but without integration, this data remains siloed and underutilised.

Poor Quality of Data: Inconsistent data formats, duplicates and inaccuracies can severely impact the effectiveness of marketing strategies. Poor data quality leads to irrelevant product recommendations and generic marketing messages that fail to engage customers. Inaccurate or incomplete customer profiles can result in missed opportunities and wasted marketing spend.

Consider a scenario where a retailer's customer database contains multiple entries for the same individual due to variations in name spelling or data entry errors. This may lead to sending duplicate or conflicting marketing messages, which can frustrate customers and damage brand reputation.

Solutions from Informatica

Comprehensive Data and Application Integration: IDMC seamlessly integrates data from disparate sources, providing a unified and accurate customer profile. This integration is essential for understanding customer behaviour and preferences. By consolidating data from various touchpoints, IDMC creates a single source of truth, enabling retailers to deliver consistent and personalised experiences across all channels.

For example, IDMC can integrate e-commerce data with CRM and social media data, allowing marketers to see a complete view of each customer’s interactions and purchase history. This holistic view enables more accurate segmentation and targeting, leading to more relevant and effective marketing campaigns.

Advanced Data Quality Management: IDMC ensures high data quality by cleansing, standardising and enriching data, eliminating duplicates and inaccuracies. Advanced data quality tools within IDMC can automatically detect and resolve inconsistencies, ensuring that marketing teams work with reliable data.

IDMC can identify and merge duplicate records, standardise address formats and validate email addresses, ensuring that customer profiles are accurate and up-to-date. This high-quality data foundation is critical for delivering personalised marketing messages and product recommendations.


Enhanced Personalisation: With high-quality, integrated data, retailers can deliver personalised marketing campaigns and product recommendations that resonate with individual customers, driving engagement and sales. Personalisation goes beyond simply addressing customers by name; it involves understanding their preferences, behaviours and purchase history to deliver relevant content and offers.

For example, a retailer can use Informatica to support personalised email campaigns based on customers' past purchases and browsing behaviour with the use of GenAI and large language models (LLM). By understanding a customer's preferences, such as their love for athletic wear, we can surprise and delight them with targeted suggestions for new products, exclusive deals, and personalised offers. This tailored approach not only drives sales but also fosters long-term loyalty, all made possible by a sophisticated technology infrastructure that seamlessly integrates AI-powered insights and automation

Increased Customer Loyalty: Personalised experiences foster customer loyalty, leading to repeat purchases and long-term customer relationships. When customers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to return to the brand and become advocates.

Consider a loyalty program powered by IDMC, that helps connect across internal and external applications, building trust in data. This helps drive personalised rewards and offers with customers based on their purchase history and preferences. By making customers feel special and appreciated, retailers can strengthen their emotional connection with the brand and encourage repeat business.

2. Customer Service Automation 

Today’s Market Conditions

For UK retailers, customer service automation is becoming increasingly vital as businesses strive to enhance efficiency and meet rising consumer expectations. Automated solutions such as AI-powered chatbots are revolutionising customer interactions, providing instant support and freeing human agents to handle more complex issues. 

Meanwhile, the omni-channel approach is redefining retail strategies, integrating online and offline channels to offer a seamless customer experience. By synchronising in-store, mobile and online shopping experiences, retailers ensure consistent engagement, driving both customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Current Challenges

Scalability Issues: As customer interactions increase, scaling customer service operations to meet demand becomes challenging. Manual processes are slow and error-prone, leading to long wait times and frustrated customers. High call volumes and online interactions, especially during peak seasons, can overwhelm customer service teams, resulting in suboptimal experiences.

For instance, during a holiday sale, a retailer might experience a surge in customer inquiries about product availability, order status and returns. Handling these inquiries manually can lead to delays and mistakes, impacting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Data Accessibility: Customer service agents often lack quick access to comprehensive customer data, leading to inefficiencies and suboptimal customer experiences. Without a unified view of customer interactions and history, agents may struggle to provide accurate and timely assistance.

Consider a situation where a customer contacts support regarding an issue with a recent purchase. If the agent cannot quickly access the customer’s order history, preferences and past interactions, resolving the issue efficiently becomes difficult. This lack of data accessibility can lead to longer resolution times and a poor customer experience.

Solutions with Informatica

AI-Powered Automation: Informatica supports GenAI-powered chatbots that handle routine inquiries and tasks with support for all popular GenAI frameworks like RAG, AI Agents and fine-tuning, ensuring versatility and adaptability, providing instant responses to customers and freeing up human agents for more complex issues. These chatbots can answer frequently asked questions, assist with order tracking and even process returns, reducing the burden on customer service teams.

For example, a GenAI-powered chatbot can handle common inquiries such as "Where is my order?" or "What is your return policy?" By automating these tasks, retailers can provide 24/7 support, improve response times and enhance the overall customer experience.

Unified Customer Data Access: By integrating customer data and applications from various touchpoints, Informatica ensures that customer service agents have immediate access to relevant information, enabling them to provide faster and more informed responses. A unified customer data platform allows agents to view a comprehensive history of customer interactions, preferences and issues, facilitating more personalised and efficient support.

When a customer contacts support, the agent can quickly pull up their complete profile, including past purchases, support tickets and communication history. This holistic view enables the agent to address the customer’s issue more effectively and provide a personalised experience.


Improved Customer Experience: Automated responses and faster issue resolution enhance the overall customer experience, leading to higher satisfaction rates. Customers appreciate quick and accurate support and automation helps ensure that their inquiries are handled promptly and efficiently.

A retailer using Informatica can support integration with the LLM’s to implement a chatbot that provides instant answers to common questions, reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction. Additionally, with unified customer data access, agents can resolve complex issues more quickly, further enhancing the customer experience. This data foundation will also lead to further improvements on other omni-channel experience services such as click-and-collect, virtual fitting rooms and augmented reality applications.

Operational Efficiency: By automating routine inquiries and tasks, AI-powered chatbots enable human agents to focus on higher-value activities, leading to improved operational efficiency, increased productivity and reduced costs

Consider a customer service team that uses IDMC to automate order tracking and returns processing. With these tasks handled by chatbots, agents can dedicate more time to addressing intricate customer concerns and provide personalised assistance, ultimately improving operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

3. Inventory Management and Supply Chain Optimisation

Today’s Market Conditions

UK retailers are facing unprecedented pressure to optimise their inventory management and supply chain operations. 

The retail landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by technological advancements and shifting consumer priorities. AI and machine learning are revolutionising supply chain management, enabling retailers to optimise inventory levels, forecast trends and ensure transparency and security in transactions. Meanwhile, immersive technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are redefining customer engagement. 

However, sustainability has emerged as a critical factor in consumer decision-making, with consumers willing to pay 9.7% sustainability premium3, even as cost-of-living and inflationary concerns weigh.

Retailers are incorporating sustainable practices into their operations, from responsible sourcing to carbon footprint reduction. As consumers increasingly expect retailers to prioritise the planet and its resources, those who adapt and innovate will thrive in this new retail reality.

Current Challenges

Demand Forecasting: Inaccurate demand forecasting leads to either overstocking or stockouts, both of which are costly and negatively impact customer satisfaction. Overstocking results in excess inventory that ties up capital and increases storage costs, while stockouts lead to missed sales opportunities and disappointed customers. Which impacts the overall sustainability goals of the retailers as well.

For instance, a retailer might overestimate the demand for a seasonal product, resulting in unsold inventory that must be discounted or written off. Conversely, underestimating demand for a popular item can lead to stockouts, causing customers to shop elsewhere, eroding brand loyalty.

Supply Chain Visibility: A lack of real-time visibility into the supply chain can result in delays and inefficiencies, affecting the retailer's ability to meet customer expectations. Without accurate and timely information, retailers may struggle to coordinate inventory, manage suppliers and respond to disruptions.

Consider a scenario where a retailer experiences delays in receiving shipments from suppliers due to a lack of visibility into the supply chain. This can lead to stockouts, backorders and customer dissatisfaction, ultimately impacting the retailer's reputation and profitability.

Solutions with Informatica

Predictive Analytics: IDMC enables the integration of sales data, market trends and other relevant factors to improve demand forecasting accuracy. Predictive analytics can anticipate customer demand more effectively, helping to optimise inventory levels. By analysing trusted historical sales data and external factors such as seasonality and market trends, retailers can make more informed decisions about inventory management.

Informatica can analyse past sales patterns and external data within its data pipelines to predict the demand for winter clothing. This allows retailers to adjust their inventory levels accordingly, ensuring they have the right products in stock to meet customer demand.

Real-Time Data Integration: Integrating real-time data from suppliers, warehouses and stores enhances supply chain visibility. IDMC ensures that data flows seamlessly across the supply chain, providing up-to-date information for better decision-making. This real-time visibility allows retailers to respond quickly to changes in demand, supply disruptions and other challenges.

IDMC can integrate data from suppliers, warehouses and point-of-sale systems to provide a comprehensive view of inventory levels and supply chain status. This enables retailers to track shipments, manage stock levels and coordinate with suppliers in real-time, reducing delays and improving efficiency.


Optimised Inventory Levels: Accurate demand forecasting and real-time data integration help retailers maintain optimal inventory levels, reducing costs associated with overstocking and stockouts. By having the right products in the right quantities at the right time, retailers can minimise waste and maximise sales opportunities.

For example, a retailer using Informatica can ensure they have sufficient inventory to meet anticipated demand during peak seasons while avoiding excess stock that needs to be discounted or stored. This optimisation leads to cost savings and increased profitability.

Improved Supply Chain Efficiency: Enhanced supply chain visibility and coordination lead to faster response times, fewer disruptions and more efficient operations. Retailers can better manage their supply chains, ensuring timely deliveries and reducing the risk of stockouts and delays.

Consider a scenario where a retailer experiences a sudden surge in demand for a particular product. With real-time supply chain visibility provided by IDMC, they can quickly coordinate with suppliers to expedite shipments and avoid stockouts, ensuring customers receive their orders promptly.


In the competitive UK retail market, leveraging the Informatica Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) is crucial for addressing key challenges and unlocking the full potential of data. By integrating and ensuring the quality of data across marketing, customer service and supply chain operations, Informatica enables retailers to deliver personalised customer experiences, automate service processes and optimise inventory management. The result is improved customer satisfaction, increased operational efficiency and enhanced overall performance, positioning retailers for success in a dynamic and ever-changing industry. Embracing the power of data through solutions like IDMC is not just an advantage — it is a necessity for staying ahead in the retail game.

Ready to learn more about how Informatica IDMC can transform your retail space? Contact us today to explore the possibilities and embark on a journey towards a stronger, data-driven future.




First Published: Jul 09, 2024