As retailers look to create differentiated omnichannel experiences to meet consumer expectations, they plan to adopt fresh data strategies in 2020 that promise to transform how they engage shoppers, according to a new survey that Arm Treasure Data shared with Marketing Dive.
Empowering customer experience (CX) teams to build better relationships is the top priority for 29% of retailers' customer data strategies this year, followed by 26% who will look to create a single view of customers across all touchpoints, 26% who will look to improve analytics to unlock the full potential of this data and 19% who plan to adopt new data technology and analytics tools.
A driving force behind retailers' customer data strategies is the growth in online sales, Arm Treasure Data's Global Head of Marketing Tom Treanor told Marketing Dive at the National Retail Federation's Big Show this week.
"The way that consumers buy online has changed — it is really easy, really fast," Treanor said. "Everyone has to up their game.
"Retailers, like many industries, have come to the conclusion that customer experience is key to survival."
Respondents of the survey held leadership roles in marketing departments (32%), technology (27%), data management (11%), customer relationship management (9%), CX (8%), customer engagement (8%) and omnichannel (5%).
Interest grows in sentiment data
A key takeaway from the study is how retailers' priorities for the types of data they want to leverage is changing. As retailers look to deliver more data-driven in-store customer experiences, 69% say they're currently using customer insights successfully and 64% are using clienteling data.
Point of sale is a top priority for retailers in terms of what type of data they'll gather, with 42% putting it at the top of their list for 2020. This data also supports retailers' CX strategies by boosting efforts to build customer profiles and identify trends in abandonment or customer service issues, per the report.
Sentiment data and device ID insights are two types of data retailers could use more of in the months ahead as they look to deliver more contextual and cross-device experiences. Only 32% report they currently use sentiment data successfully, but 39% plan to prioritize it for 2020, while 35% currently use device ID data and 38% want to prioritize it this year.
Regarding how retailers plan to transform their customer engagement strategies, 58% will look to adopt data science and business intelligence solutions employees can understand in 2020; 54% will accommodate customers through more than one channel; 48% will use location data to engage customers; 45% will invest in real-time data for clienteling initiatives and 35% will look to enhance ad campaigns.
Currently, approximately half of retailers use a centralized data management system while data is dispersed across the organization for the other half. While a majority for either approach are satisfied, retailers with a centralized, shared approach are more likely to be satisfied (64%) than those with a decentralized environment (52%).
Machine learning drives results
A customer data platform (CDP) is one approach retailers consider as they look to get a better handle on data-driven customer strategies. In 2020, 46% of survey respondents plan to invest in a new CDP.
The benefits of a CDP include the ability to leverage machine learning to analyze much larger data sets, which allows the technology to identify factors with the biggest impact on in-store visits, loyalty, repeat purchases and more. From a privacy and security perspective, CDPs can help retailers comply with CCPA and GDPR by creating a central repository that's easier to manage than if data is spread out across multiple locations.
Some retailers have carved out a new role called VP of customer data to lead these efforts, Treanor noted. In other cases, it could be the team for data, CX or marketing that drives the work.
"Those who will be most successful will name someone to lead," Treanor said.