Is sales data enough to predict retail customer behavior?The use of technology in the retail space has definitely changed the way the industry functions. Processes are faster, better and more efficient – and that’s critical for an environment where every single advantage point counts. One such ‘edge’ that retail marketers are fighting to gain is insight into customer behavior and purchase rationale. Today, customers have the ability to shop from anywhere and at any time, thanks to multi-channel retail. Predicting what they’re going to do next is a capability that every retailer is looking to build, and using technology to enable this capability is a number one priority for most.

A primary issue that occurs when using retail technology is that there are multiple systems to do multiple things. POS data is captured on one system, store performance is handled by another, and response rates to campaigns and promotions (if they’re measured at all) are recorded in yet another system. So while the data is all there, it’s stored in different formats and systems. With all this data scattered across the organization, there’s no holistic view of customer behavior. For example, if a retail marketer is running an e-mail or direct mail campaign, she needs to be able to capture the response rate or type of customers and work that into her segmentation strategy. This may not be possible because of the different systems being used. With no integration of data, anyone who can gain from these insights (such as retail marketers and customer-facing executives) will find it challenging to make data-driven decisions that are critical in a multi-channel environment.

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