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Retail’s Recipe for a Better CX in 2020? It All Starts With Data

Omnichannel retail is the way of the future, and as brands and retailers continue to adapt to shifting consumer demands, they’re digging into emerging data-driven technologies to bring new concepts to life.

According to a new report from Arm Treasure Data, eTail and WBR Insights analysts, customer data is at the heart of this movement, and the ability to leverage it effectively can help retailers stand out from the pack.

In order to augment customer engagement in the new decade, the majority of surveyed retailers (58 percent) said they would adopt data science and business intelligence (BI) solutions that their employees could actually understand and leverage.

More than half of respondents (54 percent) said they would work to accommodate customers who wish to engage with them through more than one channel—like online or in-store.

More than one-quarter (29 percent) of retailers will prioritize empowering their consumer experience (CX) teams to build better relationships with customers through new tech solutions. Other popular objectives included creating a single view of shoppers across all touchpoints, including physical and digital channels (26 percent), improving analytics to harness the full potential of customer data (26 percent) and adopting new customer data technology and analytics tools (19 percent).

While retailers are aware of the potential importance of many types of data, insights surrounding customer service are being leveraged most effectively, respondents said. Currently, most organizations (69 percent) say they are successfully using this data, while 30 percent are prioritizing it for 2020.

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The pattern indicates a trend within the industry to prioritize data gleaned from in-store customer experiences over insights related to pricing and advertising.

Other data profiles that are currently being leveraged by brands and retailers include clienteling data (64 percent), demographic data (58 percent), and location data (56 percent). About one-third of respondents who aren’t currently leveraging these data types will prioritize them in 2020.

Notably, point-of-sale (POS) data will be the data type most prioritized in 2020, two-fifths (42 percent) of respondents saying they plan to dig into it this year.

Many retail organizations are shifting toward a digital CX model, analysts said, and POS is a critical moment in the shopper experience. It may be the last impression that a customer has of a retailer before leaving the store.

Data harvested from POS can be used to build customer profiles, identify trends in cart or purchase abandonment, and gain valuable insight into process issues with returns, exchanges and refunds.

Optimizing their customer data platforms (CDPs) is a big goal for many retailers in 2020. Nearly half (46 percent) are planning to invest in new systems. Nearly one-third (31 percent), however, are happy with the platforms they’re currently using. Only 23 percent of retailers said CDP systems were not a priority for this year.

Among those who said they had already invested in CDP or were planning to do so this year, more than half (51 percent) also said they would choose a solution that accommodated the needs of their specific organization, rather than an off-the-shelf platform. These respondents cited the need to integrate their CDPs with the other existing technologies they are already using, which is tougher to do with an off-the-shelf product.

When it comes to the true objective behind all of this tech adoption, retailers said that giving shoppers a personalized experience was their primary goal. The ability to provide customers with targeted product recommendations and a streamlined, frictionless experience both in-store and online is an over-arching objective for many in 2020.