Talking With: Gladson CEO Sue Sentell on data management strategy
A key customer experience focus for retailers this year will be on data — data on consumers, data on store traffic, data on shopper activity. In fact, many retailers already have a great deal of data within reach. The trick, going forward, is analyzing, assessing and investigating what the data can provide on those focal points and, if the data isn't providing needed insight, mapping out the best strategy to make it happen.
Simply put: the need for accurate, consistent and robust data and solid data management is a must-have for retailers, according to Sue Sentell, CEO and president of Gladson, a digital product content provider.
So Retail Customer Experience asked Sentell to share her insight on data collection and management and for tips to help retailers get a solid strategy in place.
RCE: How critical is data for the retailer aiming to enhance customer experience and for those retailers who haven't embraced data what is a good first step in getting a data strategy kicked off?
Sentell: Product images and data serve as the foundation for today's omni-channel path to purchase, as shoppers turn to digital sources to browse, research and select items. Giving shoppers the confidence they need to make a purchase starts by giving them the information they're looking for. To accomplish this, retailers need to provide a complete digital representation of each item they sell, available to shoppers on their website and mobile app. This product content should include extensive product information and high-quality product images. Working to establish a consistent, accurate and comprehensive product content strategy is a pivotal first step for any retailer looking to improve customer experience, loyalty and sales.
RCE: For the small to mid-size retailer it's often a case of not having enough internal resources to give data collection and analysis the necessary time and effort. What are one to two tips to help them avoid a misstep or a common challenge?
Sentell: Retailers work with a lot of different suppliers, and each supplier may have different capabilities to provide retailers with the product images and data needed to effectively market and sell products. From variations in image quality to product attributes to file format, retailers can be overwhelmed with the inconsistency, complexity and volume of product data. For this reason, many retailers have chosen to work with a content solution provider that can act as a single source of product images and information.
RCE: Is there an example you can share where a retailer has or is using data to enhance consumer experience.
Sentell: While we've discussed the tremendous role of product data in online search and selection, retailers are also leveraging product data attributes for their category management initiatives. In the grocery space, we've seen retailers who’ve created assortments based on product attributes such as organic or gluten-free. By leveraging a database of nutritional product attributes, grocers can create product mixes that address specific customer preferences. Any time you can help customers solve a particular need, in this case easily finding products that meet their dietary preferences, you've added value to their shopping experience. Likewise, product attributes can also be used for personalized digital promotions. For instance, a grocer could send an electronic communication to a shopper who has expressed interest in organic or gluten-free items, letting him or her know that this curated product assortment is now available.
Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.www