With the number of different ways that retailers can collect and use data for specific initiatives like loyalty programs, e-commerce and promotions, it is critical for this system to be streamlined and understood. However, that is not always the case.
A recent white paper from Maritz Loyalty Marketing examined the key challenges that retailers face in regards to enterprise-wide management of data. Specifically, the focus is on expanding the suites of programs and promotional offerings to customers. The problem with this is that it can create an increased risk of communications being inconsistent, conflicting, ineffective or unwanted.
This often happened because data is stored in several different locations, making it difficult for organizations to ensure a single message is in place because departments may be making decisions without the full picture.
The problem with this is that consumers view their relationship with retailers in a much more holistic way. They do not see the individual reporting that is handled by the inventory, sales, promotion and e-commerce teams. Instead they expect these departments to be on the same page and know the same information about the company’s inventory levels or any personal information that has been shared with the organization.
“A coordinated data and communication strategy is imperative to ensure that there is a consistent brand experience as part of a retailer’s go-to-market strategy,” the report concludes. “Alignment on strategies and integration of people, processes and systems are critical ingredients to achieving this desire. The quest to deliver a fully integrated operational data and marketing communication strategy is a journey that is challenged by the complexities and intricacies of retail dynamics.”
It continues to say that companies need organizational will, patience and commitment that needs the right person managing the project. This must be someone with vision and persistence to create a strategy in a cooperative and unbiased manner with the customer experience front and center. This not only helps create a centralized ownership of data practices, but also ensures that everyone one is on the same page when it comes to data sources and needs.
Integrated software solutions are available that make sure data and reporting can be used as a benefit and not a hindrance when managed poorly. With the help of a retail solution provider that helps deploy point of sale software with inventory reporting systems, any merchant can start down an integrated data path to improve operations.