Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the way we approach marketing and customer experience (CX) is even more important to customer loyalty. We take these important lessons from the recent holiday season and apply them for the next one.

Put simply, if your CX strategies aren't aligned with your customers’ shopping behaviors — whether they shop online exclusively, in-store, or both — it’s going to be a challenging fourth quarter. And your customers are saturated with choices, brands, and marketing messages which means we need to constantly find new ways to differentiate and stand out. This requires transformative business strategies that are both radically innovative and flexible.

Data is the key to your success and a customer data platform (CDP) will unlock its potential. A CDP is an enterprise solution that collects and unifies data across channels and systems to create a single source of truth for customer data. With more data available than ever, it is perhaps your most critical asset. Harnessed correctly, data can power sound decision-making, crucial during times of high-demand or economic uncertainty. This is especially true in retail.

Between the changes in consumer demand and behaviors during peak shopping season, and the economic challenges we are all navigating, keeping your retail brand competitive is a constant challenge. But there are strategies to future-proof your business, increase customer engagement and, ultimately, fuel success.

Make Business Sense of Your Data Mess

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) State of Retail report, retail is growing at a rate not seen in over 20 years, despite the pandemic, and this growth is not limited to online: 90% of ecommerce sites are retailers that also operate brick-and-mortar stores. This means a hybrid strategy is key to remaining competitive during holiday seasons. But, there is an overwhelming volume of data to sort through and analyze.

Every time a customer shops, data is collected, which can be turned into actionable insights to help you understand buying habits and segment audiences. This information is key to building and maintaining solid customer relationships that translate to higher ROI, as it enables you to make faster, more informed decisions. However, with high volumes of data coming from all different sources and channels, it becomes challenging to make sense of it all. Companies can and should be more careful and strategic with their data. This is where CDPs come in.

In today’s global and interconnected environment, data is sourced from many different channels and locations, but it has not always been unified, analyzed and leveraged in ways that extracts the most value. A CDP allows you to do just that. Without unified data access, you end up with a fragmented analysis that does not offer the full scope — an obstacle to strategy and campaigns development, especially in the weeks running up to the critical weeks of November and December.

Learning Opportunities

So much data makes it hard to identify what’s the most significant for your business and marketing objectives. However, a CDP not only delivers productive results faster, but also improves team operations. You spend less time and resources in the collection and analysis stages of data management, and more time free for creativity and the bigger picture. And, armed with concrete data and insights, you can better justify marketing decisions and investments to your executive team.

Related Article: What Is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Why a CDP Is Key to Future-Proofing Your Retail Strategy

There is always room for improvement in personalization. A CDP can help you to better understand your customers by analyzing data on browsing history, number of page visits, and in-store engagement. With this knowledge, you can design both digital and in-person experiences that are attuned to customer needs. With unified data stored in your CDP, you can unify messaging across channels more efficiently. Another key CDP feature is its ability to scale to handle volume or traffic surges during the shopping season.

How will you know your CDP investment is working? You’ll see growth in email click-through rates, call center conversions, return on advertising spending, number of loyalty members, and more. CDPs can benefit the retail industry in many ways, both big and small, but the bottom line is the unmatched business value it provides.

Building transparent and trusting relationships with consumers is essential for retail survival and maintaining brand loyalty — especially during economic uncertainty. To remain competitive in a marketplace jam-packed with countless options for consumers both in-person and online, you must execute data-driven strategies at a speed that matches the hybrid environment around you. A CDP will support that goal.