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PREDICTIONS 2020 Changing approaches to customer data

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We’re running a series of predictions for the ecommerce and multichannel retail industry in 2020 and beyond. Today we’re focusing on how retailers and brands manage their customers’ data – and how that might change in the future.

Better understand how your shoppers are buying

“The phrase “the high street is dying” has been commonplace for a number of years now, but with 86% of consumers continuing to make most of their purchases through brick and mortar stores, this premonition has not yet become a full-blown reality. But there remains a lot of work to be done. For retailers to continue attracting customers in-store in 2020, they need to establish a truly customer-centric business model, and the key to this is data. By connecting a consumer’s digital trail – left online via each interaction – with offline insight, retailers can build a clearer picture of each individual’s multi-channel journey, and therefore drive a better-understanding of consumers’ shopping habits. 

“However, although it’s universally accepted that data is paramount for driving retail success, it is only as useful as the insights retailers extract from it. Going into the next decade, retailers must use intelligent tech to turn multichannel data into holistic insight, and undertake a shift in mindset that empowers the translation of this information into the actions that deliver. In this way, retailers can achieve a deep-set understanding of the factors that motivate consumers, in turn fuelling more effective marketing, driving profitability, and nurturing stronger relationships with consumers and clients alike.”

Michael Patterson, managing director EMEA, DynamicAction 

The rise of data portability 

“We’re at a crossroads on consumer data and its ownership. Right now, brands such as Google, Facebook and Amazon are still on the winning end of customer data ownership but I predict this will begin to change in 2020. Governments are now intervening to provide consumers with more rights, including the “right to delete” their data. Retail brands really need to pay attention to new legislation, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, or they could suffer the consequences. I believe the push for data privacy will give rise to new third-party applications that allow consumers to port their personal data into environments they can control. This swap in data ownership will shift the power dynamic in the brand/shopper relationship which will trigger a whole other set of changes, including the ways brands pitch and sell their products to consumers.”

Graham Cooke, chief executive and co-founder of marketing personalisation technology provider Qubit

Consumers will demand data transparency

“2020 will require that companies make transparency a reality. Consumer demand for brands to be more open is clear. If they don’t pull back the curtain on their business, they will lose trust and ultimately loyalty. Data transparency is the hottest topic, for sure. It’s not easy for businesses to do, but they will need to find ways to be more open about the data they collect, how they use it, and how it impacts decisions. They also need to show how they’re protecting it. Beyond personal data, proving the provenance of products – from food to clothes – and demonstrating ethical and environmental credentials will all become more important.

“The reason more transparency will be really important in 2020 is because demand for it is growing, and the technology/tools are available, so we’re on the verge of someone being able to do it really well. Once one brand is able to redefine customer relations in this way, they will set the standard of expectations, and everyone else is instantly behind. And if they lag behind for too long, they might find themselves on the list of companies that couldn’t survive in the digital era.”

Emma Kendrew, intelligent engineering services lead for Accenture Technology 

Data privacy and personalisation will become C-suite priorities

“In 2020, marketers will raise the personalisation bar by raising the data privacy bar. Topics such as data governance, data security and data management will be escalated to C-suite and boardroom level discussions as the balance between customer privacy and personalisation becomes a strategic differentiator for all brands.

“In 2020, blockchain technology combined with AI will start to gain traction to help businesses combat digital advertising fraud and waste.

“Identity management will be a primary goal (and struggle) for marketers in 2020.  Marketers must be able to identify and track specific digital visitors across a range of channels, devices, platforms and environments as they journey around web, tablet, mobile apps, voice assistants, and AR/VR. 

“To this end, hybrid-cloud architectures will gain momentum in 2020 to provide dynamic MarTech applications with dynamic customer data, as well as offer management, decisioning engines, analytics platforms and the channels themselves in both real-time and batch capacity.

“In its annual CMO survey, Deloitte found that despite marketing analytics budgets increasing over the next three years, perceived contributions from analytics remain weak.

“In 2020, companies must turn to AI-driven automation to help operationalise those analytics if they are to remain competitive. With the deluge of data and proliferation of customer contact opportunities, it is no longer humanly possible to make the thousands of decisions required per second to deliver great CX without automation in the mix.  

“AI already helps marketers with dynamic pricing as it relates to product availability, demand and forecasting. But it can go much further in 2020. AI could further integrate with a company’s resource planning systems and supply chain inputs to access cost optimisation, inventory, and economic forecasting data to achieve both dynamic pricing and fulfillment into campaigns and customer interactions.”

Wilson Raj, global director of customer intelligence at SAS 

Image: Adobe Stock

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