Consumer Identity Management Capitalizes on Consumers’ Take Charge Trend
Increasingly, consumers are taking charge, buying when they want, where they want and for what price. Not surprisingly, many retailers have difficulty engaging and personalizing communications and offers across multiple channels, including brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce sites, mobile apps, call centers and social media. This issue is compounded by the fact that most retailers’ internal systems and departments are siloed. Often, customer data and key identifiers aren't shared between each group, making it impossible to link key data such as billing status, customer service inquiries, or requests and purchase histories.
As retailers wrap their arms around the best approach to omnichannel interactions that engage on-demand consumers’ inbound requests for information or a purchase, a critical piece of the puzzle is often overlooked — consumer identity management. Many retailers maintain customer data in disparate systems such as CRM, loyalty databases, etc., and few contain all of the key identifiers they need to tie accounts together. These include name, physical address, landline phone number, mobile phone(s), and email and IP addresses. Worse yet, on average, nearly 30 percent of the customer data that brands maintain is inaccurate, incomplete and out-of-date at any given time, leading to ineffective attempts at personalization and upsell opportunities.
The problem is even more widespread for prospects or first-time buyers, where retailers have virtually no information except a partial identifier — e.g., a mobile phone number or email — that the consumer used to contact the retailer initially. Furthermore, with both current and prospective customers, many retailers can’t verify the accuracy of the more complete information consumers submit via e-commerce web forms to verify payment risk or even shipping deliverability.
Do You Really Know Your Buyer?
Retailers need to optimize the scale of outbound omnichannel campaigns and, in real time, recognize when an inbound transaction (phone call, email or web form) is a valuable customer so they can offer personalized, priority treatment. With the use of a consumer identity management (CIM) solution, data is continuously cleansed, updated and tagged with a persistent ID number to keep the customer linked to one profile across multiple databases.
For retailers, obtaining a complete profile of each customer with the key identifiers linked together ensures that no matter how the consumer contacts the brand, its systems provide a clear picture of everything about the consumer on the other end of an inbound interaction. This is critical information for personalization, upsell and risk mitigation.
The key to omnichannel personalization is the ability to capitalize on perhaps just one identifier — phone number or email — and use richer attributes via CIM such as customer demographics and psychographics, online and mobile behaviors, propensity-to-buy scores, and purchase histories to make better decisions about the types of communications and/or offers.
Collecting, cleansing and updating your customer data into one centralized database or repository — or at a minimum linking disparate identifiers together — gives marketers the power to personalize and optimize their outbound digital campaigns and scale across channels through the highest device and account match rates possible.
Take into consideration key factors such as where consumers like to interact, lifestyles and life stage, or whether they have children, live in the city or suburbs, residential and auto history, married or newly divorced. These data points are critical in helping retailers choose the best communication vehicle as well as target and deliver specific messaging at the right time, ultimately improving the lifetime value and loyalty of the customer. Conversely, inaccurate or outdated data conveys the message that the retailer isn’t truly interested in the consumer’s business, and the consumer knows that in this day and age they have many other options.
Dave Dague is the executive vice president of marketing for Infutor, a data-driven customer identity management firm.