How Retailers Can Turn Customer Data Into Customer Loyalty

Shopping cart on top of a paper bag used for shopping.

Loyalty…perhaps considered the holy grail of customer experience (CX). In today’s digital landscape, there are many strategies retailers can employ to drive customer loyalty.

Retailers entice shoppers with discounts, rewards programs, and convenient curbside pickup options to ensure they keep coming back. Regardless of the category, however, these programs cannot be fully optimized without good data. And, research shows that positive customer experiences are a major competitive differentiator. 

With e-commerce and self-service chatbots making up a growing percentage of customer touch points, CX today is mostly a digital endeavor, which offers its own distinct challenges. The main one is that CX has reached an inflection point, as consumer expectations are beginning to exceed the capabilities of marketing and customer service teams.

Companies may have made individual touch points simpler and more streamlined, but most stop short of providing a connected customer experience, where customers are on a truly personalized journey, one that is tailored by their own shopping preferences. Retailers who stop innovating and fail to take the next leap along their digital transformation journeys, risk losing customers to competitors. 

Here’s how retailers can transform customer data into connected experiences:

Establish Digital Connections

The modern-day customer has grown accustomed to the conveniences provided by app-based ordering, as well as the option to ask a brand rep a question about a certain product or service over direct messaging on social media. They assume because their favorite restaurants can do it, all retailers can and should do the same. As a result, a comprehensive customer loyalty strategy must embrace these new digital channels to not only to meet customers where they are, but also to create a complete record of their behavior that can inform future interactions.

Once brands start to activate these channels by integrating these new data sources into their overarching CX strategy, they need to ensure that their backend infrastructure can ingest this data and turn them into actionable insights. 

Connect Touchpoints

A surefire way to lose customers is to forget the context of previous interactions, subjecting them to repetitive ads, or redundant conversations with a customer service representative. These inconveniences still happen today, despite improved tech when enterprises lack a centralized platform that can connect individual data sources and combine their inputs to form a single view of the customer. 

To improve CX offerings so that every interaction feels unique and fresh, brands need to connect the entire enterprise so that marketing, customer service, information security, and operations teams are working off the same intelligence. Customer data platforms that break down silos without losing crucial customer information in the process can unify CX in a way that actually engenders customer loyalty. 

Personalize Engagements

Most retailers today can say that they personalize their messaging. For example, companies likely know that some of their customers might be more receptive to fun promotional messages, while another demographic might be more brand conscious, but the level of granular detail stops there.

Even though retailers have improved data collection and storage techniques, many lack the data analytics necessary to properly assess a customer’s actions across the entire customer journey, resulting in a failed personalized customer experience that just isn’t relevant. 

A truly personalized customer experience today goes well beyond the basic factors like, age, income, and even point-of-sale data. Enterprises require more than that. They need a solution that resolves identity, builds audiences, performs analytics and reporting, and has predictive capabilities. Once retailers develop actionable insights from this data, they can confidently deliver personalization that will satisfy modern consumer demands and, over time, foster authentic customer loyalty. 

Irene Sibaja
Irene Sibaja
Irene Sibaja is the Retail Industry Principal for Treasure Data. She brings over 25 years of retail, strategy and operations experience to this role. At her core, Irene is customer obsessed, and she uses this focus to drive innovative ROI solutions across diverse customer centric organizations. She has a BA in English Literature from Rice University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.