The holiday shopping season is in full swing, but this year retailers noticed that customers aren’t spending the bulk of their holiday budget on Black Friday as they have in the past. Instead, shoppers are spreading their purchases throughout the pre-Christmas period, and are shopping online, whether on desktop or their smartphones, more than in the past. This shift has made it difficult for retailers to track and learn from shoppers’ habits during the holiday season.
What this change shows is how important the constant collection and analysis of data is to retailers. Online shopping offers many things customers have always wanted – e.g. 24-7 opening hours, a vastly expanded stockroom, the constant availability of alternative, and perhaps lower, prices – and that availability has drastically changed customer behavior. If big discounts aren’t enough to get people into the stores on Black Friday, the alternative is to offer better customer experiences, which is where retailers need to make decisions based on data.
Google describes purchasing decisions as made in “micromoments” – the “I want to do, I want to know, or I want to buy” moments we have each day. The example provided is about a teenage girl who fell in love with women’s soccer during the Women’s World Cup this summer; her mother was inspired to purchase a soccer jersey when an ad for her daughter’s favorite player popped up on her mobile phone. The more retailers can use data to be there when those micromoments happen, the more they’re going to be able to capitalize on customers’ immediate wants and desires.
But how are retailers going to aggregate and make sense of the mountain of customer data available to them, particularly when it’s all stored in different places? One of our customers, a FTSE 100 retailer in the UK, was a typical case; their customer and product data were stored in multiple databases, an IBM Unica marketing automation platform, and an Avaya call center platform. To develop intelligent digital marketing campaigns for their customers, they needed to create a single view of the customer.
Using Salesforce and Anypoint Platform, this retailer created the single view of the customer in just two weeks, and are very excited about the possibilities this provides. “We wanted more than an integration tool,” said a senior middleware manager at this retailer.”[MuleSoft provides] the platform to build our business as we expand grocery sales online and develop additional marketing promotions across channels to grow our business.”