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Retailers Introvert at Collecting Customer Data Won’t Succeed

We live in a world driven by data, and leveraging it appropriately in a retail setup has proved its worth in providing relevant and valuable customer experience.

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However, the biggest hurdle which makes this shining moment of truth dull is the introvert approach of retailers in collecting their customers for data – robustly.

Why retailers should collect customer data?

Understanding customer needs deeply, and accepting it to be the new norm, is the prime reason to collect data. Collecting customer data from point of sale to help your retail setup know the customers, not only as individuals but also as a part of loyal and potential customer base, is the key. It unlocks the insights that assist retailers in making highly personalized strategic marketing decisions.

What questions should retailers ask to collect relevant customer data?

Ask enlisted questions to collect customer data to help you segment customers into relevant groups:

  • What do they like and dislike? Favorite brands, colors, or categories?
  • How do you prefer shopping? Online, in-store or social? What is your shopping style?
  • Did you browse online for any product or service?
  • What did you add to your shopping cart but did not purchase?
  • Have you purchased something very recently?
  • How much budget did you allocate to shopping online? What is your typical spend level?
  • Are you a baby boomer or from Generation X?
  • Are you married? Do you have kids?
  • How did you hear about our store?
How retailers should thoughtfully collect customer data?

Address first things, first. Start with a strategy of how to not only collect customer information, but collect relevant first party data including name, email address, mobile and phone number and a postal address – if possible, from all the interaction points. Strategically collecting customer data does not suffice, but consistently doing so will. Remember; dirty, inaccurate and incomplete data is known for wasting your dollars and efforts, and waste time of customers, ultimately leading to dissatisfaction.

1. Adhere to customer data collection basics:

  • Convenience – simplify the data input process for customers
  • Trust factor – be prepared to explain the utility of their data collected instantly
  • Relevancy factor – explain how providing information enhances customer experience
  • The process – collect data at interaction points across the sale, and not only at the cash counter
  • Don’t overdo – data collection is a long term process, and getting everything at a shot is unlikely

2. Putting robust marketing and loyalty programs in place

Second step is to start collecting customer information like anniversary dates, birthday months, favorite brands and colors and much more, to derive marketing and loyalty programs. Along with this, use of emails and surveys will help you convince customers to share more personal data on their own. Once these data pieces start to fit in the puzzle, you will start gleaning a complete overview of customer demographics and their individual preferences.

Final word

Every retailer today is required to be equipped with a holistic data collection strategy that addresses the business needs of their retail business. This holistic strategy should envisage staff training and use of advanced technology as a data collection tool. Retailers also resort to outsourcing data collection to some of the best offshore companies as a more viable option, as against allocating it to in-house teams.

Another reason to rope in data collection experts is that it requires a dedicated and concentrated approach, which along with performing core tasks gets compromised in case of DIY approach. Data collection needs a deep understanding of why to collect, what to collect and how to collect data; as it directly impacts the bottom line. However, most important is the fact that retailers should be able to use collected customer information to deliver personalized customer experience.

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