Posted by Yukte Oberoi, Product Manager for Ecommerce

In my previous post, “Leveraging Omnichannel Data to Revolutionize the Customer Experience,” I discussed the necessary steps retailers need to take in order to deliver an integrated omnichannel experience where the customer can navigate seamlessly with the brand across all channels.

Now retailers can take their customer experience to the next level by making it more personal using that omnichannel data. Not only does an omnichannel approach ensure that a merchant's processes and policies are more consistent both online and offline, but by consolidating the data, merchants have the information they need to personalize and enrich each customer's shopping experience.

Customers expect a seamless brand experience across all channels. They expect to be able to return an item bought online in the store. They expect that an online promotion will be honored in the store as well. They expect stores to ship purchases to their home; and they expect that call centers have visibility into the inventory available in each of their stores as well as online.

All of the above are now just table stakes in retail. What’s really going to wow consumers nowadays is if merchants can take the data they’ve collected from every channel and accurately personalize and target the experience. Here are a few examples: A retailer offers a scarf to a customer online that goes perfectly with the dress she bought in the store the other day. Or, a customer walks into a store where an associate tells her about a shoe on sale that is in HER size from HER favorite designer based on a review she submitted online from a past purchase.

How do retailers get to that level of personalization and targeting? By tracking all business data and processes across ecommerce, CRM, financials, point of sale (POS), inventory and order management – retailers have access to a huge volume of valuable data on customer preferences, demographics, and habits, as well as enterprise data for insight into operational performance.

To mine the intelligence from all that data, a retailer needs business intelligence tools to analyze and glean insights into how their customers research and purchase products, browse the website, return products, or access customer service.

With the right information, merchants can tailor their marketing, sales, product information, call center menus and website navigation to target different types of customers. By combining static data – a customer zip code, birth date or past purchase history – with real-time data, such as a payment or a hit on a web page, it's possible to trigger changes in the shopping environment. That might mean presenting a different set of options, changing a marketing message to fit the consumer's demographics, or texting the customer a special discount on specific products. By measuring the progress further and continuing to tweak the personalization and targeting strategy, retailers can continue to improve the experience.

There are many innovative ways that retailers can personalize and enhance their customers’ experiences – and they all depend on a single, integrated database. Retailers who are serious about enriching the customer experience must start there.