Technology has revolutionized the retail space in more ways than we can count. Today, retailers rely on technology to identify new opportunities to sell more, sell better and sell faster – but all of this depends on one crucial aspect: the ability to get a 360° understanding of your customer.
Traditionally, this has meant tracking which customers buy what products for what reason – mostly via a single-channel. This used to be the store – either the one in the customer’s neighborhood, or in the area’s new shopping mall which allowed many brands to have a presence under one roof. In these scenarios, retailers could understand their customers better by keeping track of product purchase behavior or by analyzing loyalty data. With the onset of multi-channel and omni-channel retail, the complexity of gaining a 360° understanding of your customer has increased, along with customer expectations. So the new definition of gaining a 360° understanding of your customer has moved away from the store being the center of action; it now involves monitoring customer behavior across different interaction touch points like social media platforms, brand websites, tablet and mobile phones. However, retailers need to step on the gas pedal when it comes to using retail technology to not only capture this information but using this 360° understanding of customers to approach the customer in the right manner during each stage of the retail purchase process. In July 2012, Oracle released a report titled From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges.According to survey results, retailers estimate they are losing up to 10% of annual revenues all because they can’t leverage the information they collect across channels. The Oracle study found that only 17% of retailers rated themselves as having a 360° insight into their customers through data gathered across multiple channels.