Four Reasons Why Data Integration Matters in Retail
In order to transform your retail ecosystem and become more customer-centric, you need to focus on areas that make a world of difference in shaping customer experiences.
Being the lifeblood of any retail company, your business customers expect a great deal from the industry, especially with all the changes shaping habits and the economic landscape in general. Customers have become more discerning, and it falls on retail companies to deliver on their needs and meet their expectations.
But before you can identify customer needs, you must first comprehend what they are. In doing so, you can get insight from myriad data sources — and this is where the role of a data integration platform comes in handy.
Customer insights can be unlocked from different social media platforms, preferences, customer service queries, purchase history, etc. In order to receive value from this wealth of data, retail companies need a holistic and unified view of information—a single source of truth. Also, data integration solutions help retail companies implement data connections with customers much more quickly, easily, and securely, which, in turn, helps them deliver the promised value promised and grow new revenue streams.
What is Data Integration?
Data integration solutions consolidate data from multiple systems and sources into a single, unified view. They enable businesses to implement data connections at speed and scale.
Modern solutions with self-service and automation capabilities enable non-technical business users to implement data connections much more quickly. During that time, IT becomes free to focus on more important, strategic tasks.
When retail companies connect with customers quickly, they can address their growing needs and requirements and deliver on them without delay. That fills them with delight and satisfaction. Such happy customers are more likely to invest in other products or services from the company, helping companies create new revenue streams for the business.
Let’s say you have a business customer who recently bought a product from your retail website. They might have communicated with your company through multiple touchpoints and platforms, so information related to this customer is likely to spread across the retail ecosystem in marketing, sales, operations, and other silos.
So, what happens when this customer has a query? When a company does not have full access to customer data, it’s practically impossible to provide the expected service to customers. In fact, according to Forrester’s research, 42 percent of customer service agents fail to resolve customer-related issues owing to disconnected systems and incomplete information.
Importance of Data Integration in Retail
Apart from improving customers’ experiences, retail companies can benefit from modern data integration solutions in the following ways:
1. No more inaccurate, rogue data
Information that isn’t cleaned and prepared is not useful for any company. It leads to distorted results and misleading insights. The integration process consolidates information, and it also homogenizes data into a unified format and cleans data for analysis. This way, you can extract meaningful and accurate insights for better decision making.
2. A cost-efficient place for all your data
With the help of data integration platforms, your company will have a repository of clean, accurate, and consistent data about your customers, product, business, and so on. By doing so, the problem of data silos gets solved, and costs related to storage go down. Also, these solutions enable non-techie business users to implement data connections, leaving IT teams free to drive more strategic tasks. Because you can do less with more, your overhead costs will steeply decline.
3. Faster onboarding
Modern data integration solutions with self-service capabilities give power to non-technical business users to onboard customers 80 percent faster. Non-techie business users can point and click through easy-to-navigate screens to implement data onboarding connections.
4. A shift to omni-channel retailing
Modern retail ecosystems provide various touchpoints as well as channels for streamlined communication. And as depicted above, this might generate an inconsistent experience that can impact brand reputation and retention. To ensure that you deliver an authentic experience irrespective of where the interaction takes place, a holistic view of customers is required. And data integration platforms provide this holistic view.