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Omnichannel requires a shift from fragmented to centralized data

The customer journey now traverses multiple channels and devices. Your marketing efforts must do the same.

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“If you sell products across multiple channels, you need to transform the way you currently operate.”

The way consumers shop has changed. Most are cross-channel shoppers, with 95 percent frequently or at least occasionally shopping at both a retailer’s website and store, according to the “Omni-Channel Insights” study by CFI Group. Customers now expect what is termed an omnichannel experience: a seamless, integrated, and consistent experience across channels, regardless of the device they’re using. And they want access to product information in order to make informed purchase decisions. If you sell products across multiple channels, you need to transform the way you currently operate. To deliver omnichannel experiences, you need to shift from a channel-centric to a customer-centric view of operations.

To do this, you need a better grasp of your customer data. In most large companies, customer data is fragmented across marketing, sales, order management, call center, and billing applications. Centralizing that customer data and making it accessible across the organization and to all channels is a challenge. But it is well worth the effort. In fact, Deloitte predicts in “The omnichannel opportunity: Unlocking the power of the connected customer” that more than 50 percent of in-store purchases will be influenced digitally by the end of this year.

Personalized marketing offers

Once you have a single trusted place to go for customer data, you can analyze that data to understand how customers are engaging across channels. You can build in-depth customer profiles using third-party data about education, income level, or credit score. You can add data from other departmental systems, such as purchase and returns history, buying preferences, and service issues. You can understand who is in their households, who they buy for, and who influences their purchase decisions.

Richer customer profiles let you create more refined customer segments for tailored offers. And, tailored offers can boost conversion rates and sales.

The role of product data 

Another opportunity is changing the way you manage product data. Most large companies have a channel-centric approach to managing product data, and it’s often managed in spreadsheets. This is a major barrier to delivering an omnichannel experience.

In their “2013 Shopper Experience Study” Cognizant found that shoppers’ second largest complaint was an inability to find product information required to make an informed purchase decision. By centralizing product data, you and your merchandisers can more easily collaborate to ensure product information is accurate and consistent across channels. Centralized product data also helps accelerate new product introductions and updates.

Ultimately, you can use this potent combination of centralized customer and product information to create refined customer segments and target them with tailored and informative product offers to boost conversion rates and sales.

You can play a key role in helping your company transition from a channel-centric to a customer-centric view of operations. Building an alliance with the information management team to champion the centralization of customer and product data are key steps to begin delivering omnichannel experiences and boosting conversion rates and sales.

For more information on the power of omnichannel customer experience, read “The Informed Purchase Journey” eBook.

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