What is a customer data platform for eCommerce


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Where this software fits in your business and technology landscape and two valuable use cases to get you started

The Customer Data Platform (CDP) has been implemented by leading e-commerce companies to power their customer experiences and make personalized offers that drive profits. Here is how to do it too.

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How would you find your customers’ favorite products without speaking or surveying the customer? What do they like or dislike about your store? A CDP can help you answer these questions. This post will explain what a CDP is and how it can benefit your eCommerce business. We’ll also share some tips on choosing the right CDP for your needs.

What is a Customer Data Platform

A customer data platform is a system that marketers can use to collect and integrate their customers’ information. The result will be an organized profile for each individual in a customer database, with shared data going back out into other applications used in the business and aligning customer information amongst teams.

Where CDPs fit in your technology landscape

Smaller stores and merchants selling over fewer channels will have significantly less value using a CDP because orchestration over channels is a CDP big feature. Most eCommerce start out using an email service provider like Klaviyo to be your Customer Data Platform.

The jump to a customer data platform occurs after the brand becomes larger and more complex in terms of the number of data sources- making it difficult to attain that single customer view. This jump happens when brands acquire other brands or when a business spins off into another brand. For example, a haircare company created a new line for men and decided to create a new independent brand. Or a single eCommerce store begins to sell on different platforms like Shopify and Amazon. Another business example is when your loyalty and subscription programs store customer data significant to the marketers.

There’s no set time to invest or swap from a basic email service provider to a CDP, but you should know that CDPs are getting cheaper to purchase and easier to implement over time. This means, even startups can incorporate a CDP in their plans.

Key Customer Data Platform features

Integrations have to be front and center here, as a Customer Data Platform is only as good as the sources it can pull data from. Keep your data as clean and populated as possible. 54% of marketers say that data quality is the biggest barrier to data-driven marketing.

Next, the software needs autonomously organize this data. Organizing data means analyzing and validating that the data coming in aligns with format and value. For example, pulling data from source A, you might have a first name field of “First Name,” and from source B, it’s “first_name.” Bringing the data in, organizing it, and assigning it to the right custom fields is part of the identity graph. De-duplication, when a customer appears in your system more than once, and the capability to handle multiple customer profiles and segments also belongs to features of the identity graph.

Marketers want to create and manage custom fields easily- this is a must. Finally, CDPs and the ability to pull and push customer data to all other sources are needed to build that cohesive customer profile and act on it appropriately.

Who manages CDP apps?

Self-service offerings are available but newer. A development team may deploy a CDP with marketing, operations, and analytics teams overseeing implementation. Using a consulting company for integration and setup is not uncommon for larger brands. You may even see your eCommerce and merchandising team using your CDP to pull data on sales, inventory forecasting, etc.

The main cost of ownership typically lies in the marketing department, and they are the ones that will be in this tool using the data to create segments, campaigns and generally do better marketing. Marketers require a much deeper and granular understanding to run personalization campaigns effectively. That said, the development team, or consulting agency, can build out the initial custom data integrations with the CDP to better populate data, create that unified view, and empower the marketing team.
Two use cases utilizing customer data platform to get started

While customer data platforms were made to handle business needs for a business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) when it comes to customer segmentation, B2C eCommerce stores have much more to gain from data-driven segmentation.

Behavioral and interaction analysis from CDPs are more meaningful for B2C when a purchase order is just waiting for the 5th manager’s approval. Especially when getting statistically significant outcomes, we need thousands of customer profiles.

1. Target Audiences and Personalized Ads

When automatically serving up digital ads to target audiences, marketers must know if those ads are working and if the customer experience is working as intended. The ability to quickly and accurately take data from a customer database needs to be on-demand. CDPs create profiles that help businesses understand
A. who these people are,
B. what to do with them when it comes time to interact (whether online or offline),
C. how often this occurs throughout different channels like social media sites, phone calls versus email,
D. where those interactions happen most frequently.

When the analysis is done, the result accurately portrays your target audience. Marketers use these unique targeted audiences to build more personalized ads that delight. A consumer survey showed that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.

Brands that put customer experience at the top of their priority list are more likely to see revenue growth than those who don’t. Feedback from customers – understanding their needs, expectations, preferences, and perceptions about your brand -is critical for delivering an excellent CX experience that delights them.

2. Segmented and Persona Level Campaigns

Not only do CDPs collect data, but they offer powerful segmentation capabilities. These features make it easy to find out who your highest value customer segments are so you can personalize their experiences on preferences – note that not all CDPs have this capability, though.

Marketers are always looking for ways to make their products more appealing and personalized, but the process of tailoring everything can be time-consuming. They need automation. They need a CDP to divide customers into different groups based on what targeting seems most effective. Target an individual’s preferences or needs with ads—and even though it might seem like there would only ever exist one perfect customer segmentation strategy, there isn’t. Allow data to play a huge role in how marketers choose which types go into each classification because sometimes just knowing who has already bought from you helps give clues.

In an AI-driven CDP, such as VIEWN, marketers can create a powerful customer persona from the most valuable segmented customers to help you identify what factors would make them more likely to retain. It becomes even easier to select target audiences for retention or target look-alike models on those segments with high-affinity levels.

The modern marketing world is all about being efficient, creative, and customer-centric. Gone are the days where you could rely on a single channel to do your business’s heavy lifting for you anymore–you need an organized approach that reflects what customers want so they’ll continue coming back time after time. That’s why technology like CDP is so important – they help marketers fix problems that impede delivering flawless buyer experiences, which leads to higher brand engagement rates, more conversions, and lower acquisition costs. We know that implementing CDP can be a big decision; we want you to feel confident in your choice and help guide future implementation by knowing how our services might benefit the organization.

Areeya Lila
Areeya Lila has a passion for customer experience and over 20 years in technology. She's an entrepreneur who loves building products; currently, VIEWN enables eCommerce stores to provide the best possible shopping experience through artificial intelligence (AI) powered data analytics and customer personas.


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