Creating optimal customer experiences is a top priority for many retailers. In fact, 65% of retail executives polled say providing the best customer experience possible is the most important factor when obtaining approval for sales and marketing technology investments, according to the “Breaking Through Customer Engagement Barriers with Innovative Marketing and Technologies” report by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Retail Touchpoints. And the best customer experiences are those that are relevant—powered by multichannel customer data and messaging.
However, piecing this multichannel data together can leave marketers feeling puzzled. According to the report, 47% of retail executives rank using their existing customer data effectively as their greatest marketing challenge, followed by integrating social and mobile data (18%), using analytics (11%), and integrating new data (8%).
When it comes to completing the overall picture of the customer, a majority of marketers (58%) agree that transactional and purchase history information are the most valuable types of data, the report notes. Following far behind in importance are behavioral and attitudinal data (14%) and demographic data (14%). Just 5% of respondents say social media data is the most valuable, and only 2% list Web browsing history data as important, according to the report. This lack of emphasis on key areas of customer data may leave puzzling gaps in insight.
Real-time data also proves to be a brain twister. The report cites that less than a quarter of respondents (23%) use real-time data to generate customer offers frequently and less than one third (30%) admit to doing so infrequently. In fact, 11% say they don’t use real-time data to produce customer offers at all. However, 36% say they would like to do so in the future.
But piecing together multichannel data isn’t the only thing retailers are stumped on. They also struggle with multichannel messaging. According to the report, only 37% of retail executives provide consistent marketing messages across all channels. Of the remaining 63%, 50% say they synchronize their messaging across some channels, but not all, and 13% say they treat each channel separately.