We’ve been struck in this IRUK Top500 Performance Dimension Report on The Customer by the lengths to which leading retailers are going to ensure they get to know their shoppers. From the wide-ranging research that retailers such as Halfords ?? and Sainsbury’s ?? are undertaking to the bike rides that Evans Cycles ?? is organising, this is all about building relationships that are driven by data.

Key to success here is ensuring that data is used effectively. For many, the sheer volume of information that retailers hold that is, as Google’s ?? Alastair Sterling says in the strategic overview feature, so challenging to deal with in the short-term, even though there are clearly long-term opportunities in doing so. It’s by focusing that traders will cut through the challenges to the opportunities. That’s about ensuring retailers can delve into that data to find relevant information that can make real differences to the way they serve their customers. From there, they can make service changes that reflect how existing and potential future customers want to buy and to engage.

Getting that right will no doubt be key to success in the future. For while data is proving challenging, data-driven retail also promises enormous opportunities. One example lies in forthcoming GDPR legislation that is set to change the way retailers collect and use data. Many see this as a challenge but here too there are opportunities. For when traders are communicating only with those customers who have openly welcomed the contact and understand what use their information will be put to, those customers are much more likely to be open to the messages and communications that they receive – and to move from there to make a purchase. Once again, it all comes back to focus. It’s the retailers who get these details right in the short-term that are set to benefit in the longer-term.

Mentioned in this piece…