One-day sales. Mobile promotions. Geo-targeting. Loyalty programs. Push notifications.
E-commerce marketers have long relied on emerging technologies to attract, engage and retain customers. In fact, a recent Gartner study found that 71% of marketers report that they have an “innovation budget” designated toward investing in and testing new technologies. With all of this new technology comes a huge wealth of customer data — but few retailers effectively leverage all this data to gain the valuable insight they need to give them a competitive edge. Add with a new focus on omnichannel fulfillment, your data can get out of hand quickly. At the worst, your company may be missing opportunities to maximize and take action on the data you already have.
In short, data overload has become a big problem in retail. Here are five considerations that will help you identify and maximize existing data assets and possible revenue triggers.
Do you have a data czar?
The first step to ensure the quality and integrity of all your retail data —and data across the entire organization—is to implement a data governance plan. Enlist a data steward charged with implementing a master data management plan to ensure that source data from any new technology or solution can be trusted. This plan will also establish agreed-upon models which describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances, using what methods.
Is your team spending too much time building reports?
According to a 2014 Ventana Research study examining the use of spreadsheets in business settings, users spend 12– 18 hours each month performing “spreadsheet maintenance”—updating, revising, consolidating, modifying, and correcting spreadsheets. In fact, 81% of business professionals are manually combining data from an average of five different spreadsheets just to answer a single business question. Now imagine that same inefficiency at scale across your entire organization. That adds up to a boatload of busy work and wasted time.
Is your organization aligned around the same metrics?
The easiest way to derail a campaign is to have everyone in your organization running toward different finish lines. When building an effective omnichannel retail strategy, it’s important to align your people around the shared goals that will move your business forward. This way, you can focus on the data that matters most—and make faster, better-informed decisions when they count.
Is your data reliable?
Data is the most valuable part of your business. But too often, the data you rely on to make informed decisions lives in dozens of spreadsheets, systems, or applications throughout the organization. This is problematic for a few reasons: spreadsheets are notoriously error-prone, In fact, research shows that 88% of all spreadsheets contain errors. That means nearly nine out of 10 of the spreadsheets that are being used to make critical business decisions contain erroneous or missing information. And even if your data is accurate, by the time your team wrangles it all together, it’s too outdated to be a reliable source of actionable information.
Does your team know when to take action?
Data is useless if it’s not used to make decisions — or take action. But if you’re aligned around shared KPIs, your team will know exactly what levers to pull — and when to pull them. Ultimately, the goal is revenue — but you’ve got to be able to clearly see how every piece of your data puzzle contributes to that goal. Picture this: after close collaboration, your team has aligned your most recent campaign around a single KPI: gross new customer sales. So, this is an acquisition target, not focused on retargeting to existing customers. So when you notice one paid social channel is generating far less purchase conversion than other, you can quickly shift spend to accommodate target the right audience, optimize engagement, and improve your results in real time. This is the power of a unified approach to data management.