Why data belongs at the centre of your retail strategy
The retail space has changed. Customers have far higher expectations than ever before. They want fast service, immediate access to information, and a smooth, consistent experience every time they interact with you. They also expect to be able to interact with your brand in a consistent way – regardless of whether they are visiting a store, visiting your website, using your app, or connecting with you via social media.
Retailers that can’t deliver on their customers’ needs will very quickly lose market share.
To deliver on customers’ needs, in a proactive way, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a central repository of deep and valuable customer data. Unfortunately, while many retailers do have detailed information about their customers, much of it is kept in silos – with disparate systems that don’t operate together.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for a retail business to have invested in robust – yet incompatible – CRM, marketing, and point-of-sale solutions. While each of these solutions is effective in connecting with customers at specific points, there’s a general lack of understanding of customers on a broader scale: at all stages of the sales lifecycle. Internally, customer service staff also lack the information that they need to speak to customers in a fully informed way – meaning opportunities to engage customers for repeat sales are often missed.
The solution is, of course, a centralised and fully integrated technology solution that relies on centralised customer data.
With a central data repository – and an overarching technology solution – retailers can connect with customers in real-time, provide proactive service, personalise the information that customers are receiving, and ensure no opportunities are overlooked.
Having a central data resource also means you can operate in the cloud – meaning both customers and staff can find what they are looking for, regardless of where they are or what device they are using.
A success story: Kathmandu
Kathmandu is a leading provider of outdoor apparel and adventure retailer. They operate in three countries with 145 retail stores and are currently growing their online business and selling to new markets, including North America. Kathmandu has a clear plan to grow and expand, with a combined model of in-store and online expansion.
In late 2013, Sable37 commenced a project to evolve Kathmandu’s technology infrastructure. Previously, Kathmandu relied on a best-of-breed solution that was driven by over 100 interfaces. While each solution was effective on its own, as the business started to grow, the solution became too difficult to scale and maintain. The overall system architecture lacked connectivity, and this was holding the business back. Importantly, the lack of centralised data meant that Kathmandu couldn’t provide customers with real-time or even predictive insights regarding their needs.
Sable37 worked closely with Kathmandu to implement a retail-focused, market-leading Microsoft Dynamics AX solution. This new solution replaced their core business systems, including point-of-sale, ERP and warehouse management. The solution was rolled out to Kathmandu’s head office, distribution centres, and 150 retail outlets across two go lives in 2014. Now, the business enjoys a single system application.
For Kathmandu, there have been several key benefits to this new solution. Most importantly, customers can now get the information that they need, in real time, from any device. Internally, all customer-related areas of the business are connected – from their point-of-sale promotions to CRM and much more. Customers can also be serviced quickly and effectively when they are in store – meaning staff are free to service more staff or complete other activities, and specific customer details can be easily found – with the ability to search for, and find, customer details from any store, anywhere in the world. The solution is also flexible and scalable, and enables integration with individual promotions.
Find out more
You can watch the full Kathmandu story here.
To learn more about the importance of centralised customer data, download our whitepaper now: Customer experience is the new ‘product’