Should retail businesses be data-centric or customer-centric?
Of course, the obvious answer is both! In reality though, with increasing costs, increasing competition, and pressure on margins, investing in data isn’t as appealing to retailers as customer experience, and selling yourself as a data-centric business isn’t going to light up the eyes of the marketing teams. By thinking in these terms though, we are missing the point that was eluded to above – that data lays the foundations. Taking a data-centric approach, provides the fundamentals that enable a retailer to be more customer-centric, and to enable better strategy and decisions.
Think about it, analytics and insights which are used to help provide a better shopper experience are based on data. Promotions and offers will be implemented based on data. Availability of products across all a retailer’s channels relies on data. And of course, the bottom line is that retailers are in business to make money. What good is the greatest customer-centric strategy ever created, if you aren’t making any money? The only way to ensure a retail business is profitable is through having control, visibility and integrity across your data; protecting margins, reducing errors, mitigating risk and cutting losses. If in the process, you can provide uniform data across the business, consolidate systems, ensure everyone is working from the same source of data – including suppliers, and automate processes, thus reducing labour and costs, then time and money can be spent elsewhere, say, on customer-centric activities.
So to answer the question, a retailer should and can be both customer-centric and data-centric, but although the two go hand-in-hand, it is arguable that being truly customer-centric isn’t achievable without being data-centric first.
Meet the author
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Matt Bazley, rascal system’s Head of Sales. Connect with him on LinkedIn to stay up to date with future posts and industry thought-leadership.