Achieving a single customer view in Ecommerce


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What is a Single view of customer?

Till some time back, a single view of customer meant bringing together all data for customer and consolidating into a single record. Driving force behind single view of customer within an organization was usually operational. Marketing was merchandise driven and strictly followed quarterly planned marketing calendars and hence was content with only half updated or even outdated view of a customer.

In the present scenario, businesses have become multi-channel. Customers now interact across a range of touch points. Marketing has become customer centric and is not content with an updated view of customer. They need to know each customer interaction and the intent of each interaction to personalize and ensure contextual relevance of each communication. For businesses today, the single view of customer means bringing together all data of customer including interactions, transactions and intent.

Data Challenge

Rise of digital commerce has resulted in not just huge data volume but also in new type of data that businesses have to deal with. Visitors can browse through the site, view products, read reviews without providing any personal information. Shoppers can interact with a brand’s social media properties, like posts, comment on them or share within their network. Visitors can browse through product catalog on the move through their mobile phones. These all are examples of data that is dynamic and relevant only for a limited time period and hence speed of capture and update is extremely important. Achieving single view of customer should not be looked as a one-time project, but as a continuous process of data persistence, update and correlation. Business use case behind the data types should help define the data capture process and technology.

Rise Of Contextual Marketing

Context is the key to relevance and personalized experience on e-commerce channels. Context can be geographical region, time of day, items or category you are viewing, brand or the price of item. Businesses that lack contextual personalization will soon risk customer attrition. The foundation for contextual marketing lies in real time integration of contextual data against every customer and having execution systems leverage this foundation to build personalized customer experience across digital channels. Contextual marketing brings along the challenge of real time update of single view of customer.

What are your options?

The path to single view is a long and arduous journey. Here are a few key points:

– Manage multiple identifiers: Cookie data, device data, social handles, email ids, loyalty numbers

– Maintain interactions per channel: Persist interactions per channel such as browsing details, purchase details, social likes and shares, etc

– Continuously correlate data: Continuously look for common identifiers across data and collapse them. For example – use social login on ecommerce to collapse social and cookie data. Collapse cookies data with customer email address during item purchase. Use device id and multiple logins to build household information.

– Identify actionable interactions: Identify interactions which are opportunities to provide contextualized marketing. Deploy real time integrations and actionable systems that can combine contextual information with customer past history to provide a highly relevant personalized communication.

Businesses are becoming customer centric. A single view of customer, will be the most important asset that a business could hold to be successful in the new digital commerce era.

Ajith Nayar
As a marketer, I've keenly watched the retail and consumer trends for a couple decades. But never has it been more exciting than now. Because everything we used to know about shopping is changing, and fast. As consumers, it's great to be at the center of this technology-led evolution, because it's unfolding in our everyday lives. I'm happy to share my views on related trends and issues. You'll see me writing on the digitally empowered consumer, shopper behavior and marketing, consumerization of retail, internet of things, analytics technologies, cloud computing and digital marketing.


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