February 18, 2019

The Relation Between Data and the Customer Experience

In an era where customers have increasingly more power in the sales process, delivering a superior and differentiated customer experience (CX) has become a business imperative. And although retailers are collecting more data than ever before, most of them are still struggling to leverage customer intelligence in a meaningful way.

Discover the six key elements retailers must consider:

Customer Experience is the New Competitive Advantage

For a long time, the most successful retailers were the ones that mastered the 4 Ps. They offered a better product, a better price, a better place and, especially, better promotion. The massive adoption of new technologies has changed all that.

Now, we live in an order-online-and-pick-up-anywhere world where having the best commercial real estate does not matter as much as it used too, price comparison is just a click away, and product differentiation is becoming more and more difficult.

As a result, CX is now the last competitive advantage left standing.

The Great Paradox

Naturally, to deliver an exceptional experience, retailers need to answer the fundamental question: What do our customers want?

For years, retailers have relied on surveys and focus groups to solicit feedback from their customers. But they realized that what customers say they want and how they actually behave are often two very different things.

Fortunately, major improvements in data collection and customer analytics are enabling retailers to adopt a more scientific approach to determine what makes customers tick.

Using Data to Redesign the Customer Journey

The customer experience is commonly defined as “the sum of all interactions that consumers have with a retailer’s products, services and brand across touchpoints.” This means that in order to deliver a remarkable customer experience, retailers’ first need to better understand their customers’ complete end-to-end journey and not just individual touchpoints.

Overcoming Bottlenecks

In a perfect world, retailers would be able to translate their vast amount of data into actionable insights and empower their employees to consistently deliver a better CX.

Unfortunately, it is estimated that three quarters of companies are not able to act on most of the data they collect due to disjointed systems and data integration issues.

As a result, these companies struggle to obtain “a single view of the customer from a single integrated source of truth,” which in turn prevents them from understanding—and much less predicting or anticipating—customers’ needs.

Building a Strong Technology Foundation

Retailers may be able to find patches and workarounds to their data and systems integration issues, but maintaining disparate systems will only lead to higher long-term integration costs. And if the bulk of the IT budget is being spent on integration issues, there won’t be much left to offer customers a seamless CX.

There comes a point where retailers need to ask themselves: Do we want to just fix today’s problems? Or do we also want to plan for the future?

Prepare for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Regardless of the technologies retailers decide to invest in, they should keep their goals in mind. CX can only become a competitive advantage if it is relatively unique. The ultimate CX is therefore highly customized.

Download our whitepaper that explores the relationship between data and customer experience, and more specifically, the challenges retailers need to overcome to build a strong foundation for the future.

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ACCEO Retail-1 experts took the stage and presented on the topic “The Relation Between Data and the Customer Experience” at NRF 2019 Retail’s Big Show. They discussed the primary challenges that retailers need to tackle to ensure that they target the right customer data and use the right technology to deliver a remarkable and profitable customer experience now and in the future.

Watch the video