For retailers, digital technologies are increasing the number of customer touch points. The most direct implication of this has been the tremendous growth in the availability of customer data with the addition of new touch points - which is both encouraging as well as overwhelming.
Retailers have always been keen to acquire customer data. While, digital technologies are enabling this, the bad news is that the data from these numerous touch points has been residing in silos. This means that scores of business applications and processes that are installed to generate insights from accumulated data produces an isolated view of customers, products and transactions. The result is chaos - inconsistent product pricing across channels, vague information on customer interactions across channels, incorrect products being shipped, etc. are all posing challenges for retailers to up sell and cross sell. So what is the end result - customer dissatisfaction and below-par business performance.
At the bottom of this problem is data management. Increasingly, retailers are feeling the need to be more mindful of their master data (especially customer master data). A study commissioned by Wipro and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, called The Data Storm - Retail and the Big Data Revolution, found that 30% of retail CXOs admitted that they are not consistently obtaining value from the data they have. They surely know it can help create better product pricing, help forecast demand, crystalize merchandizing strategy, improve customer relationships and enable cross sell and upsell. The challenge they are facing is in terms of integrating, cleansing, enriching customer and product data across channels and enterprise systems in order to deploy a ‘single golden source of truth’ that aids Business Intelligence across the enterprise to amplify business outcomes. MDM is the simple means to achieve this.
MDM is helping many retailers go beyond improved customer interactions in a world of omni-channel retailing. Many smart retailers are benefiting from the fact that MDM also improves cycle time for new product introductions, enables strategic sourcing, helps manage inventory, reduce stock outs and improve compliance. These are irresistible reasons to re-examine how data can be made to work harder, making it a unique enabler for business success.
Tell us what you think about the opportunities and challenges that the digital disruption has brought in for Retail.