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Where does your retail business sit on the Customer Knowledge scale?

Although many customers remain loyal to a brand, there are those who will jump ship if the service isn’t to their liking. Many businesses are able to understand their customers on a granular level, and for certain types of businesses, this can be effective. However, the online world offers as many obstacles as it does opportunities, so it’s always good to invest into the bloodline of your business, your customers.

A business that knows how a customer interacts with them has a great advantage to those who sit back and hope for the best. Having access to such information requires a business to be open-minded in how it obtains data and how it plans its marketing. Here's a very high level scale that allows a retail business to identify where it sits with regards to its understanding of customers and ability to communicate with them relevantly.

Level 1: Base knowledge - contact information

Many retail businesses operate in a number of different ways. Some have a website, some have a store and some have both. A customer who has opted to purchase goods via the website will have likely been asked for some details, but in some cases this information can be minimal.

Customers who choose to purchase goods via a website will more than likely be asked for the relevant information needed to complete their purchase. This normally includes an e-mail address and a home address. While there are contact details available, it can be difficult to send bespoke marketing to these customers, as a business simply won’t know enough about them.

A business should never assume the customer’s requirements if the information can be corroborated. For example, Mrs Smith may have been recently divorced, so really doesn’t want to be receiving marketing about romantic weekends away.

Level 2: Simple understanding about customers

An identity is what makes us unique to each other, while being similar at the same time. A business knowing the identity of a customer puts them in a much better position to offer marketing that is deemed relevant.

A business can offer marketing based on gender, location and age by implementing social registrations or a more detailed registration screen for its online store. This method will also help amalgamate information rather than it being held in separate channels.

Level 3: Sophisticated understanding of a customer’s identity

If a business is able to instil the right kind of marketing, then it can expect to build a clearer customer profile using data received from various avenues. These avenues can include social login options for an e-commerce store, registrations and customer loyalty programs.

Customer data should be stored within an advanced database that is able to normalise both related and unstructured data. If a business uses registrations via social networks, then it should ensure that all data is dealt with as per the terms and conditions of the social network. The business should also be aware of the maturity of customer knowledge in retail.

Level 4: A genuine one-to-one relationship

A business that knows everything about its customer is better placed to offer them relevant products. Such data can be acquired from a variety of sources. As well as the aforementioned social integration and advanced registration, businesses can also find out more about their customers by using a selection of on-site tools. These tools can include product reviews and comment feeds.

Understanding customers can be something of a learning curve, especially with the information on offer. But doing so means that your customer will become more loyal to you due to the relevant marketing they are receiving. And of course, businesses can expect to see sales conversions rise accordingly.