Retail; Better Data Cleansing, Better Customer Data, Better Business Growth


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Customer shopping needs have grown significantly and so have grown their expectations. Access to new technologies enables customers to compare offers, choose different methods to purchase, take delivery, and make payments. They want to have a choice where, when and how they buy while expecting consistent experience across bricks-and-mortar stores, online shops, or mobile applications. They want personal treatment, personalized offers, and personal interactions. The challenge is in the customer data available from all these engagements – or the non-availability thereof.

Parameters to identify potential customers are changing constantly

Consumers may sign up for purchasing from eCommerce site, but going forward they may change or cancel email addresses, switch social media accounts, change phone or mobile numbers etc.; and all this comes under the umbrella of consumer identity. It gets difficult for retailers to accurately identify consumers. This hampers the process of cultivating authentic personalized customer connect with help of dynamic and relevant information.

Key questions here while looking at the wide gamut of data is: Who is the customer, what are the likes & dislikes, the purchase history, consumer purchase life stages, customer’s lifestyle pattern and much more? Retail enterprises find it challenging to glean insights from organized data; but imagine how daunting a task it is for them to cleanse unstructured data and make sense of it?

More data doesn’t mean meaningful personalization

Increased customer conversion and purchases with high ROI are the two most critical components for every marketing campaign. Incomplete or incorrect customer data or its non-relevance significantly weakens the success of marketing campaigns. If targeted customers start using a different email ID for Facebook and not the one registered in retailer’s CRM system – the Facebook campaign for this brand will yield lower reach and less campaign performance.

Meaningful personalization needs collection and cleansing of data on a real-time basis, and access to comprehensive, accurate, interlinked customer identity. It also needs deleting duplicate records, standardizing customer details, validating and enriching those records with online reliable records. Data cleansing and enrichment links customer identity correctly with various attributes including consumer demographics, contact details, physical postal address, mobile and online contact information and purchase histories.

How data collection, cleansing and enrichment help retailers?

Accurate customer information is critical to have meaningful customer interactions. Its absence results in loss of sales and retention opportunities. Poor data quality is hitting organizations where it hurts, in tune to $15 million according to Gartner’s Data Quality Market Survey. Not only are eCommerce players taking a financial hit, but poor data quality practices are undermining their digital initiatives, weakening their competitive standing, and sowing customer distrust.

One more reason why they eCommerce players are hit hard is due to the fact that they have not yet mastered the art of data cleansing and enrichment. Consumer identity management is the need of the hour, but mapping customer data with SKU IDs with inventory to organize, track, find, and identify customer information is something retailers are still struggling with.

Even in this rapidly evolving industry dynamics a lot of customer information is sitting idle in multiple siloed CRM systems, loyalty databases, payment history and financial systems, etc. Customer data should be cleansed and enriched regularly, and tagged with a unique customer ID to keep the profile linked to multiple databases for future references.

What next after first purchase or interaction?

Several retailers confess that what made customers make their first purchase will never be a constant reason for those customers to keep coming back to make purchases. Ecommerce players cannot sit on pile of customer information from initial purchase, because there are more chances that those customers return, but from a different hand held device, email ID or social media ID. In such cases, following their contact details to greet them with consistent and relevant messages to push them towards buying – is a necessity.


Omni-channel retailers with help of data cleansing experts are increasingly blending devices and channels together through consumer identity. Irrespective of the fact that the customer gets messages via beacons in a brick and mortar store, or interacts on phone; collecting, cleansing and enriching customer information from wherever and whenever they engage is more than important for retailers.

Chirag Shivalker
Chirag Shivalker is a content head at Hi-Tech BPO, a company thriving in the industry for more than two decades. He regularly writes about importance of data management for data analytics and the changing landscape of the business process management industry.


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