Retailers who dig deep into data to analyse customer behaviour as part of their loyalty programme will stand a better chance of success than those who only focus on loyalty schemes, according to an industry analyst.
According to new research by Eccomplished, 74% of all retailers – and 88% of online only retailers – say that loyalty and retention schemes are a prioritisation this year.
However, Steve Rivers, managing director of Intelligent Reach and a founding member of Eccomplished, is warning that retailers who only focus on the loyalty, and don't analyse customer data, will find their success limited.
He said: "Intelligence drawn from every interaction, whether on the eCommerce site, via an electronic newsletter or any other online channel can be easily drawn into a single customer view – a view that tells us not only what customers do and when, but also, vitally, what they do not do.
"It's staggering really that the value of that kind of deep intelligence is so often overlooked. It is exactly the kind of insight that enables brands to earn loyalty – not by â€˜selling' more efficiently, but by organising themselves to make it easy for customers to buy what they want, when they want – to closely target promotions, customer communications and everything else."
Rivers highlighted the example of Tesco as a company that is using customer data in a constructive and intelligent way, collecting and analysing data in store, at the petrol station, online. Read our previous post about how Tesco is using Big Data here. He said retailers must take time to understand customer behaviour across all its channels and touchpoints.
He added: "I firmly believe that the brands which make the effort, rather than simply â€˜playing the loyalty card' will win in the short term, but will also build a lasting advantage – and not just in terms of customer loyalty. They will be in a position to base future investment on real insight, rather than what amounts to educated guesswork."
So what are your views? Have retailers been slow to see the importance of customer data? How viable are loyalty schemes if they're not driven by customer data?